13 Books With Plus Size Heroines (And A Couple Romances…)

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When I was little I always got a little thrill when a character in a book was described as being a redhead. Even though it was usually accompanied by a description 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 authors 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 adult 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.

5 Body Positive Books For Plus-Size Women

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.

1. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West

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

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This book is a power-packed memoir by Lindy West, where she presents her journey of being a plus-size woman. She opens the conversation about body positivity, embracing self-love, and boldly confronting the society that fat-shames. The book offers laugh-out-loud moments, teary insights, and a raw exploration of West’s life. A must-read for those who enjoy humor-filled but thought-provoking narratives.

Reader’s Note: A book that made me reflect on society’s expectations and the need to love ourselves for who we are. It’s brilliantly humorous, with an undercurrent of serious issues. Recommended for anyone who enjoys memoirs with depth and wit, and for those struggling with self-esteem.

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

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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gay, Roxane (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 06/13/2017 (Publication Date) - Harper (Publisher)

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Roxane Gay shares her complex relationship with her body, food, and identity in this deeply personal memoir. She articulates her struggles with weight, trauma, and societal judgment, providing an intimate examination of the intersection of weight, femininity, and self-worth. It’s an insightful, vulnerable, and powerful exploration of a life lived in a body that the world rejects.

Reader’s Note: Roxane Gay’s book is heartbreaking and compelling. Her honest exploration of her body’s relationship with the world deeply resonated with me. This memoir is perfect for those seeking a profound, introspective read about body image and self-worth.

3. 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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This book is an inspiring autobiography by Tess Holliday, who shares her journey of self-love, self-acceptance, and body positivity. It promotes the notion that every body type is beautiful. Holliday uses her story to inspire others to accept themselves just as they are, and it’s infused with both humor and resilience.

Reader’s Note: This book is a breath of fresh air, showing us that beauty comes in all sizes. Holliday’s journey inspires self-love and acceptance. Ideal for those struggling with body image and anyone wanting to dive into a narrative about loving yourself unconditionally.

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

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

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A revolutionary manifesto for body acceptance, this book refuses to sugarcoat the realities of living as a fat woman. Jes Baker confronts beauty standards, health myths, and societal expectations, paving the way for an unapologetic celebration of bodies of all sizes. It’s both a valuable resource and a rally cry for self-acceptance.

Reader’s Note: This a thought-provoking book that questions societal norms and beauty standards. It encourages readers to live unapologetically and passionately. Highly recommended for all women and anyone tired of societal pressures to conform.

5. 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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Another gem by Jes Baker, this book is an honest, raw, and at times hilarious exploration of life as a plus-size woman. She talks about her experiences with diets, fat-shaming, and finding self-love. It’s a real and relatable narrative that urges readers to reject societal pressures and love their bodies as they are.

Reader’s Note: This book, with its candid insights and hilarious anecdotes, made me rethink societal perceptions about body weight. It’s a great read for anyone who enjoys humor with substance, and those seeking an empowering narrative on body positivity.

4 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.

1. 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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This YA novel offers an incredibly poignant love story between two teenagers – Eleanor, a chubby, red-haired girl, and Park, a half-Korean boy. It is a heartrending exploration of first love and the ability to see beyond appearances. The characters are relatable and beautifully crafted, and their story will resonate with many readers.

Reader’s Note: A beautifully written story about first love that transcends physical appearances. I found the characters incredibly real and relatable. This is perfect for YA readers who love heartfelt romances and anyone who appreciates a story about self-acceptance and love.

2. 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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A fun, LGBTQ+ friendly YA novel that features Abby, a plus-size teen fashionista who embarks on a summer adventure of self-discovery, love, and the perfect burger. Spalding crafts a warm and delightful narrative that focuses on the importance of self-confidence and fighting stereotypes.

Reader’s Note: An enjoyable, lighthearted read with a meaningful message about confidence and self-love. It’s perfect for YA readers, fans of LGBTQ+ literature, and anyone seeking a feel-good story filled with fashion, friendship, and burgers.

3. Fat Girl on a Plane by Kelly deVos

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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A novel with a dual narrative that explores the life of Cookie, a plus-size fashion designer, before and after significant weight loss. It addresses society’s obsession with thinness and the fashion industry’s discriminatory practices, wrapped in a compelling storyline of Cookie’s personal and professional life.

Reader’s Note: A captivating story that delves into the fashion world, societal expectations, and self-perception. Cookie’s dual narrative made me think about society’s obsession with thinness. Ideal for young adults and fans of stories about personal growth and the pursuit of dreams.

4. 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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This YA novel tells the story of Savannah, an intelligent, plus-size heroine dealing with her mother’s obsession with weight loss after her parents’ divorce. It’s a heartfelt tale of self-discovery, body positivity, and adolescent struggles with a dash of sweet romance.

Reader’s Note: This book perfectly encapsulates the struggles of adolescence and the challenges of self-acceptance. Savannah’s story is genuine and compelling. It’s great for young adults navigating their own path and anyone who enjoys a heartwarming story of self-discovery.

4 Best Plus Size Romance Novels

Now, if you’re looking for something a bit more steamy…I’ll admit that I’m probably out of my depth to give you too many recommendations.

However, there are a few curvy girl romance novels that I think you’ll enjoy…

1. The Prince’s Trap by Talia Hibbert

The Princess Trap
  • Hibbert, Talia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 314 Pages - 02/08/2018 (Publication Date) - Nixon House (Publisher)

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This contemporary romance novel is a delightful read. Our plus-size heroine, Dani, is a woman with determination and grit, who captures the heart of a reclusive prince. Hibbert masterfully weaves body positivity into a romance that is as captivating as it is empowering.

Reader’s Note: A delightful read that blends romance, self-acceptance, and a dash of royal intrigue. Dani is a heroine you can’t help but root for. Perfect for romance lovers who crave stories with diverse, well-rounded characters.

2. All The Feels by Olivia Dade

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All the Feels: A Novel (Spoiler Alert, 2)
  • Dade, Olivia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 11/16/2021 (Publication Date) - Avon (Publisher)

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A lovely romance novel featuring a plus-size actress and her love interest, the grumpy showrunner of a popular TV series. The book is both an exploration of navigating a relationship in the public eye and a celebration of body diversity.

Reader’s Note: A charming romance that addresses the scrutiny of being in the public eye and the pressure to conform. I found it heartwarming and uplifting. It’s an excellent pick for anyone who loves a good love story and appreciates narratives that celebrate body diversity.

3. One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

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One to Watch: A Novel
  • Stayman-London, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 07/07/2020 (Publication Date) - Dial Press Trade Paperback (Publisher)

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In this novel, a plus-size fashion blogger, Bea, becomes the star of a Bachelorette-style reality TV show. It’s an entertaining read with a powerful message about body positivity, representation, and the highs and lows of sudden fame.

Reader’s Note: A witty, enjoyable book about navigating fame, love, and self-esteem. Bea’s journey resonated with me, demonstrating that everyone deserves to be seen and loved. Ideal for fans of reality TV-based novels and anyone interested in media representation and body positivity.

4. Thunder Thighs by Evie Mitchell

This book is a delightful blend of humor, self-acceptance, and sizzling romance. The story follows our plus-size heroine who, after being fat-shamed online, decides to create a viral workout video, catching the attention of a fitness celebrity. It’s an empowering, feel-good novel that encourages readers to embrace their bodies.

Conclusion

There are obviously 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!

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