BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan
by Derek E. Sullivan
Henry “Biggie” Abbott is the son of one of Finch, Iowa ‘s most famous athletes. His father was a baseball legend and his step-dad is a close second. At an obese 300+ pounds though, Biggie himself prefers classroom success to sports. As a perfectionist, he doesn’t understand why someone would be happy getting two hits in five trips to the plate. “Forty percent, that’s an F in any class,” he would say. As Biggie’s junior year begins, the girl of his dreams, Annabelle Rivers, starts to flirt with him. Hundreds of people have told him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and play ball, but Annabelle might be the one to actually convince him to try. What happens when a boy who has spent his life since fourth grade trying to remain invisible is suddenly thrust into the harsh glare of the high school spotlight?
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
At over 320 pounds, Henry Abbott is not only the biggest kid in his high school, he’s also the one made fun of the most. After all, his nickname since childhood has been Biggie–even teachers and his stepdad call him that. But after a fluke at the beginning of the school year that results in him throwing a perfect game of wiffle ball in PE one day, Biggie decides that this will be his year; he will lose weight, be the star pitcher on the baseball team, and finally get the girl he’s been in love with for as long as he can remember, Annabelle.
Biggie makes good progress, but just as it seems he’s within reach of all his dreams, he realizes that you can’t make plans involving other people, because you definitely cannot predict what they will do. Biggie is thrown several curveballs, and it’s up to him to pull himself through if he wants to finish out the year his way.
I have to say that Biggie is one of the single most frustrating characters I have stepped into the shoes of. He complains about how his life is and how people treat him, but he is the only thing in his way most of the time. He makes some decisions I just can’t understand. Just WHY would you tell your dream girl you’ve been stalking her email for the past several years? Even Biggie knows he’s making a mistake as the words leave his mouth. It also takes him much longer than it should to see that the reason he doesn’t have any friends isn’t because he’s overweight; it’s because he’s quite arrogant and gives off the impression that he believes he’s better than everyone else in town.
While I appreciate that Biggie did put in all the hard work that led to his weight loss, I want to state to young readers that in my opinion, the amount of weight loss shown is not realistic. It’s stated that in one month Biggie loses 28 pounds–this should not and will not happen to anyone who’s just cutting calories and exercising, no matter how hard they work. I just don’t want teens who read this book to think that they too can lose that amount of weight in so short a time.
I liked the way the author showed the relationship between Biggie and his younger brother, but I wish I could have seen more between Biggie and his parents. There is a sort of emotional scene between Biggie and his stepdad towards the end of the book, but other than that there’s really not much interaction between he and his parents at all.
If you can get past Biggie’s often Debbie Downer type attitude, there’s a good story here with a very important message. I believe a lot of kids will be able to relate to the main character, and that’s always a very important goal in a YA novel.
About the Author
Derek E. Sullivan is an award-winning reporter and columnist at the Rochester Post-Bulletin in Minnesota. As a reporter, he has written more than 1,000 stories about the lives of teenagers, which he attributes to helping him find his YA voice. He has an MFA from Hamline University and lives in Minnesota with his wife and three sons.
PURCHASE THE BOOK
2x 50$ B&N Gift Cards
3x Signed copies of BIGGIE hardcover