27 June 2018
Baguchinsky, Jill. Mammoth. Turner Publishing, 2018.
Natalie, a plus-sized fashion blogger who is also interested in paleontology, has achieved the near-impossible: she has an internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin, Texas. When she arrives, she discovers that she's rooming with the daughter of her hero, a famous paleontologist who runs a popular podcast. But when she makes an amazing discovery and her hero steals the credit, Natalie has to decide what is most important to her.
Natalie uses her fashion and her makeup as her armor, protecting herself from the fat-shaming and negative comments of her peers. She has reinvented herself to the extent that one of her tormentors now asks her out on a regular basis. But none of her armor works at the dig site, so she has to discover if she's got the strength on her own, without her fancy clothing or makeup, to stand up for what's right. Natalie is most definitely self-conscious about her weight, to the point where she makes deliberate choices regarding what she eats in front of others. Her romantic interest in her fellow interns, the shenanigans she gets up to in order to claim credit for her own finds, her insistence on wearing fashionable clothing even if it is impractical at a dig site - all of these ring true for a person who is only sixteen years old. Natalie is real and relatable, and I appreciate that she achieved this internship via scholarship rather than simply being born rich. I am also glad that Natalie enjoys fashion and science and that it's not presented as weird or wrong for her to have such divergent interests. This book follows a fairly predictable rom-com plot which will appeal to many readers. Recommended.
Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: a few fat-shaming negative comments on Natalie's blog
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
Read-Alikes: The Summer of Jordi Perez, Puddin'
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Edelweiss for the purpose of review.