Sunday, March 25, 2012

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have

Author: Allen Zadoff

Publisher: Egmont

4½ out of 5 stars

The stares bore into you from all directions like laser beams.  It feels as if everyone is looking right at you, judging you.  How could they not, you’re kind of hard to miss in the first place.  You try to walk faster, but it’s difficult with all of your fat weighing you down.  It feels as if you take up the entire hallway, and with every step the ground trembles under your weight.  You wish you could just sit on everyone and crush them.  Then you wouldn’t have to deal with the names and cruel jokes that never seem to end.  But you know that’s not going to work.  So instead, you just take a bite of your cookie, and keep on walking…

At 307 pounds, Andrew Zansky is the second heaviest kid at Newton High School.  It doesn’t help that his mom is a caterer as well.  With food always at his disposal, Andrew finds it difficult to commit to losing weight.  His size 48 pants never seem to fit, and he’s sick of avoiding gym class at all costs.  But one girl changes all of that.  Andrew is now a sophomore in high school, and with a new year comes big changes.

Her name is April.  That’s all he knows the first time he meets her.  It’s at one of his mother’s catering events, and she seems to appear out of nowhere as Andrew noshes on his mother’s mini creations.  In those few minutes of chatting with her, Andrew can’t stop thinking about her.  To Andrew’s surprise, April is the new girl at Andrew’s school this year.  If Andrew wants to get the girl, he’s going to have to move fast.  Faster than ever before.

After getting saved by the legendary O. Douglas, the quarterback and most-popular guy at school, Andrew knows exactly what he needs to do.  He can lose the weight and become popular all at once by joining the football team.  But will Andrew be able to change completely in order to commit to his new lifestyle?  Is Andrew meant to be popular, or will he always be “that fat kid?”  Allen Zadoff reveals all in his humorous story of one boy’s journey to reinvent himself inside and out in, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have!

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have had me laughing out loud and giggling to myself at Andrew’s unique look on life.  I got a chance to see his struggles and his triumphs as he did all he could to accomplish what he thought it was that he really wanted.  Taking your typical high school kid, author Allen Zadoff makes him come alive with personality and real emotions.  I recommend Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have for any teens out there (boys and girls alike) looking for a read that will help them find themselves.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have goes on the list of one of the funniest books I’ve read.  The witty lines here and there throughout the novel are so unexpected at times.  Andrew had a sarcastic, yet truthful outlook on his weight.  He didn’t lie about his body or try to kid himself.  He knew that he was overweight, and he wasn’t shy about calling himself fat.  That’s not to say that he was happy about it.  Andrew’s comical take on the situation made the book an enjoyable read, that had me laughing along, rather than a book that was bogged down by Andrew’s issues and him feeling sorry for himself.

At times the high school setting in Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have felt clichéd.  There was the typical popular guy, the geeks, the girl, and the guy trying to do everything he could to get noticed.  Despite feeling like any other book that dealt with your everyday high school teens, this was a book that also dug deeper and got into the emotions behind the trivial, petty fights that go on between teens.  Being in high school myself, I could relate extremely well to the things that go on in a teen’s life.  Things such as just feeling like you have to have a group to fit in with, or someone to walk to class with might not seem like much at the time, but the little things that go on in high school certainly do make a difference.

Andrew’s story became so much more than just a boy trying to get the girl.  As he climbed up the social ladder and experimented in new social circles, he realized just what it was that he was missing.  But he didn’t necessarily like everything he saw.  With the higher status came drama, and he slowly realized that not everyone was who they appeared to be.  In the end, this became Andrew’s journey of realizing exactly what it was that he wanted, and not what everyone else thought he did.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have takes a regular teen and delves into the inner workings and struggles of day-to-day high school life.  Fitting in, and finding a place to belong resonate throughout this book as Andrew gets a taste of the different possibilities school has to offer.  Join Andrew as he does all he can to shed the pounds, and gain the confidence to get what he wants in life in, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have!

-This is T.B. with Another Book Back on the Shelf…
Until Next Time, Keep Reading!

My signed copy of Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have from Bridge To Book's The Why Chromosome: Why Boys Do Love Books event!  Thank you so much Allen Zadoff!

Check out Allen Zadoff's website at


  1. From this summary I got that Andrew wasn't going to immediately be typecast into one category once he made up his mind to lose weight. I really like that aspect of this book. It seems really positive and can inspire others with this story. Thanks for the great review.

  2. Whoa how cool that you got your copy signed! This book sounds like a really fun read. I don't think that I'd be able to resist myself either if I had a mom who was a caterer....

  3. I loooooooved, FGAOTICH! I really liked Andrew as a character--reminds me of a kid I knew in high school who despite some wacky life circumstances continues to be an all-around great guy as an adult. Both Andrew and this kid I knew made me laugh a lot, too (with them, not at them ;)


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