By: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: July 2011
Absolutely phenomenally funny! Cyn Balog weaves a story of humor and love that brings a laugh back to literature.
Gwendolyn Reilly’s nickname is “Dough,” and she finds it a little hard to deal with the fact that she looks like a pile of dough while her sister Evie is as thin as a piece of cellophane and seems to have all the boys rushing to her side. Gwen is what you would call an outsider. Even the people who have known her forever at school act as if she doesn’t exist - except, of course, when they want to tease her unmercifully.
Gwen and Evie live with their mother on an island off the coast of New Jersey. Mom and Dad split up a while back when Gwen’s Mom inherited her family’s bakery, and now every morning at 4:00 am Gwen has to get up to help the bakery run. The only upside to this is all the free donuts, crullers, elephant ears, and other gooey treats she can eat!
The only person she truly thinks about all the time is Wish. Wish has been her best friend since they were kids, but he had to move with his mother to L.A. when she got a divorce. Wish has been living with his Mom and “looney-tunes” grandmother, but has just emailed Gwen to let his true love know that he is about to come back home. Gwen immediately goes into a state of panic. Wish has turned from a gangly, geeky teen into a living heartthrob, and Gwen is terrified that, upon seeing her now 234 pound body, Wish will run in the opposite direction.
What happens, however, is completely unexpected. Wish takes one look at her and doesn’t seem to even notice. He is still her best friend - and now boyfriend - and is completely in love with the Gwendolyn from his youth. He doesn’t seem to even care that, although he’s the most popular kid in school now and the girls are drooling over him left and right, his girlfriend is someone that all the others like to laugh at. As Gwen joins Wish’s side in school, all of a sudden she becomes popular by association. The evil girls start speaking to her, she’s invited to the parties, but…there’s something not quite right. Although Wish is still the boy she’s always known, there’s something extremely odd about him now. He has an affinity for the sun, he wears all black clothing even on a super hot day, and he adjusts his car mirrors so that the sun hits him directly in the face while he’s driving.
While Gwen is trying to come to some conclusion about what’s going on, her Mom goes and hires a new employee by the name of Christian. This is a kid with dreadlocks and a slightly frightening demeanor who makes Gwen want to stay as far away from him as possible. She never even guesses that Christian will be the one to explain to her what the oddity is with her longtime friend, and how to change Wish back before it’s too late.
This plot is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers intrigued, but the dialogue and Gwen’s character will make you laugh until you cry. There are times when you will believe that Gwendolyn is your twin, when she says things like she “has a body that, when unclothed, scares even her shower curtain.”
Quill Says: A character whose appetite is as big as her heart, Gwen will keep you enthralled as you read this truly fun, entertaining, and unforgettable story!