Title: Future Perfect (2015)
Author: Jen Larsen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.
Read the first lines…
Every year on my birthday, my grandmother, my father’s mother, the woman we owe our whole lives to, reminds me that I am risking everything. That I am making a gigantic mistake. That big dreams like mine—Harvard; changing the world, medicine, social justice for all (and for all a good night)—rely on being flawless and unassailable.
She tells me that refusing to budge on the issue just means I am as stubborn and obstinate and fool-headed as my mother was. Just tell her to stuff it, my mother whispers in my head, and I shake that thought out.
The issue, my grandmother will be quick to tell you, is that I am fat.