My 9 Favorite Body Positive Books With Plus Size Heroines

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When I was little I was got a little thrill when a character in a book was described as being a redhead. Even though it was usually accompanied by a desription of their “pasty white skin” and “grotesque number of freckles.” It felt like a little shout-out to my little corner of the world that was often ignored.

Unfortunately, most books depict the author’s idea of perfection (even dystopian heroines are somehow perfect). This typically means that minorities of any sort (ethnic, gay, etc.) get ignored. Add in the “perky” descriptions that 90% of male author’s use and it gets hard to read any type of book without thinking I was a one-of-a-kind-weirdo.

This became even more starkly apparent a couple of years ago when I started to accept my weight. I wanted to be healthier, for sure, but I also didn’t want to hate myself (my body, really) day to day so I started looking for some plus size role-models in the world of books. I admit that my original idea was simply to escape into books and leave my reality but it soon became bigger than that.

While the precedence of plus-size blogs and columns has grown, if you want to sit down and read a good book – you might be missing out on something to read. Whether you’re looking for non-fiction books or young adults books with fat heroines you, like me, have probably struggled to find things to read.

In fact, there are so few, it’s typically big news when a “fat person biography” is released. That being said, there are some awesome books out there written by and for overweight readers (actually, anyone could and should read them!!!).

I’ve included options beyond simply books with fat heroines. I cast my net wide to include biographies, non-fiction works, etc.

Body Positive Books to Read if you Struggle with your Size

body positive books with fat heroines
Reading has always been my favorite escape. But yes…there are lots of books about wine here…

Honestly, even people who seem very sure of themselves have a lot of insecurities. It’s human nature! But feeling body-positive as an overweight individual (and especially a woman) can be a real struggle. These books are all written by big women, with awesome messages about acceptance, self-love, and being your true self.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

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Shrill
  • HACHETTE
  • West, Lindy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 02/28/2017 (Publication Date) - Hachette Books (Publisher)

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Lindy West is ferociously witty and outspoken, tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice, and body image. Shrill is comprised of a series of essays that bravely share her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women), and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
  • HARPER
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gay, Roxane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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Author of several inspiring essays and a long-standing Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. In Hunger, she explores her past – including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life – and brings listeners along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself.

The Not So Subtle Art of Being a Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You’re In by Tess Holliday

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The Not So Subtle Art of Being A Fat Girl: Loving the Skin You're In
  • Hardcover Book
  • Holliday, Tess (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 09/26/2017 (Publication Date) - Weldon Owen (Publisher)

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Plus-­size supermodel Tess Holliday’s passionate plea for modern women, whoever they are, is to be comfortable in their own skin. In her first book, she shares her powerful personal story and offers inspiration and tips to women everywhere that will help them not merely survive, but thrive and chart their own course to acceptance, power, and true beauty.

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker

Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
  • Seal Press CA
  • Baker, Jes (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 10/27/2015 (Publication Date) - Seal Press (Publisher)

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Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls is a manifesto and call to arms for women of all sizes and ages. With smart and sassy eloquence, veteran blogger Jes M. Baker calls on women to be proud of their bodies, fight against fat-shaming, and embrace a body-positive worldview to change public perceptions and help women maintain mental health.

Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My A** by Jes Baker

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Landwhale: On Turning Insults Into Nicknames, Why Body Image Is Hard, and How Diets Can Kiss My Ass
  • Baker, Jes (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 05/08/2018 (Publication Date) - Seal Press (Publisher)

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From the same awesome author as the previous book (Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls)Landwhale is a deeply personal glimpse at life as a fat woman today – but it’s also a reflection of the unforgiving ways our culture still treats fatness, all with Jes’ biting voice as the guide.

Best Fiction Books with Fat Heroines

There are so many people in the world that can be classified as overweight, but “fat people” are still shockingly underrepresented (particularly in positive roles) in media and in pop culture. Fortunately, the tides are slowly turning towards better representation! If you’re more in the mood for fiction, there are some amazing reads out there that feature overweight protagonists. These are mostly YA reads, but are rated highly by older readers as well.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Eleanor & Park
  • Eleanor & Park
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rainbow Rowell (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

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Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding

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The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Spalding, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 284 Pages - 04/03/2018 (Publication Date) - Sky Pony (Publisher)

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Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?

Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

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Fat Girl on a Plane
  • Hardcover Book
  • deVos, Kelly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 06/05/2018 (Publication Date) - Harlequin Teen (Publisher)

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Cookie Vonn is fat. And while she doesn’t want her weight to rule her life, she’s interested in fashion design. And in fashion, size is everything. Her dreams of getting out of Scottsdale, attending Parsons, an elite fashion design school, and becoming a fashion designer for women of all sizes might not work out if she can’t lose the weight.

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To Be Honest
  • Hardcover Book
  • Martin, Maggie Ann (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 08/21/2018 (Publication Date) - Swoon Reads (Publisher)

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To Be Honest is another sharp, witty novel from Maggie Ann Martin, about a spunky heroine who is dealing with very real issues—body image, parental pressure, loneliness, first love, and finding your way—with heart and humor.


There are more obvioiusly a million more books out there, but I hope you enjoy these recommendations! And no matter what – you don’t need anyone else’s permission to love yourself and to feel good about who you are. And enjoy a good book while you’re at it! 🙂

inspirational body positive books with fat heroines

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