Title – The Diet Starts On Monday
Author – Tamar Chnorhokian
2014 / Writing and Society Research Centre of UWS / 9780992488611 / 198 Pages / Young Adult
Zara Hagopian is size 22. She has a secret crush on the hottest boy in school, Pablo Fernandez, who has a skinny girlfriend named Holly. Zara hangs out with her best friends Carmelina and Max. They go window shopping in Parramatta and drink hot chocolate in Stockland Mall. Zara learns some of life’s hard lessons when she puts these friendships on the line and goes on a diet to win the boy of her dreams.
I brought this book after listening to the author talking at a book event in the city. She convinced me that it was a must read and it is. This book is about a girl, who is down in the dumps about her weight and image and who is looking to win the heart of probably the most unattainable boy in her school. There is a tragic family story thrown in too and some great superstitious Armenian traditions that are talked about too. Zara and her group of friends are in their last year of high school getting ready to do their HSC and celebrate their formal. But for Zara there is something missing, Pablo on her hip. Obsessed would have to be the appropriate word for Zara’s crush on Pablo. It is also what makes her go on a diet. And boy does she go on a diet. From 124kg to less than 90kg, Zara loses weight, but also loses friends in the process.
This book is about a lot more than a diet for me. There is so much that happens in this book that I think the diet is the last thing that should be mentioned in this review. Zara’s relationship with her father is a roller-coaster ride in itself. Her friendship with Carmelina and Max are both turbulent and fierce. And her obsession with Pablo is perhaps the most annoying thing about the book. I get where the character and author are coming from, just like probably every other girl who has ever had a crush and is reading the book. But I think it is a bit much to think that after losing so much weight that he finally looks at Zara. Pablo is the villain by the end of the book, but that can be seen at the beginning of the book.
I don’t know what I think about this book. I like the story, I like the journey all the characters go on, I like the events that take place within the story and I even like the simple yet effective writing that the story is written in. I also like the food descriptive scenes and the metaphors and also how I can visualise and place the made places in the book because they are local. What I don’t like is how, one, Zara loses a lot of weight really fast which is kind of unrealistic, and two, that everything got better really fast after the crap hit the fan when it probably wouldn’t in real life.
If you like diversity, different traditional aspects, a warped loved story and a cute friendship than this is the book for you.
I give this book 2.9 out of 5 booky stars!
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