Monday, March 2, 2015

Blog Tour and Review: Biggie

Title: Biggie
Author: Derek E. Sullivan
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Source: eARC from Publisher via NetGalley and Xpresso Book Tours
Rating: ☆☆☆
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 Review

Biggie by Derek E. Sullivan is a very respectable debut novel about an overweight teenage boy name Henry. Unfortunately for Henry, his size has made his peers call him Biggie, so that's what everyone calls him. In my opinion Sullivan does a good job at capturing the emotional aspect of what it's like to be overweight/obese as a teenager. (I was overweight as a teenager, and it's no picnic.) The book isn't as emotional as I thought it would be but instead, it has a lighthearted humor that captures readers. It's definitely worth a read, especially if you are looking for a book told from the male perspective.

The main character, Biggie (Henry) is definitely an odd character. While reading, I had to shake my head a lot just because of how strange Biggie is. Don't get me wrong... he's interesting and unique, but if he were at my school, I probably wouldn't be friends with him because he's a little freaky. As with all weird kids, there is a story to Biggie that explains some of his odd habits, and eventually, he becomes understandable. I did grow to like him a lot more as the book progressed, and by the end of the book, I probably would have been Biggie's friend. It's all about getting to know a person, right? Well it's all about getting to know Biggie in the case of this book. 

The other characters in the book are basically your typical high school kids. Biggie finds himself becoming friends with the jocks, so you get to see what he thinks of them and their popular friends. Even though Biggie is quiet and doesn't talk much to his peers, you'll see him break through his shell and eventually form friendships with these characters. They are Killer, Jet, Kyle, Annabelle, and a few college girls. While reading, you'll meet and learn a little about Biggie's mom, but you will get to know his stepfather and half-brother a little better.

There is one moment, at the end of the book, that made me want to go in and slap a character. I don't want to spoil anyone, but it's just so heartbreaking and sad for Biggie. That one moment really made me think about the emotional aspect of broken families. Sullivan earned all of my respect for including such a sad, but real and truthful moment.

Biggie is an enjoyable read. There were a few times that I questioned some of the medical aspects of the book, especially when Biggie says that he "beat diabetes," but if you look past that and focus on the baseball driven and coming of age plot, it's pretty darn good. The novel is a fresh story in contemporary YA, and I am looking forward to more books from Sullivan in the future.

About Derek E. Sullivan

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. He lives in Minnesota with his wife and three sons.  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png

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  1. Great review, Erin! This is my favorite genre and it sounds like a really well written book overall! I love the mix of humor to lighten up the plot, too! Glad you liked it! :)

    1. Thanks, Giselle! I really liked it, and I think that it will appeal to the teenage guy crowd.

      And thanks so much for letting me be a part of the tour! :)

  2. Great post!! I just discovered your blog and I really like it! Looking at you "About Me' section it appears we like a lot of the same books and authors:) Following your blog now!

    1. Thanks, Lori!

      I love finding people with similar reading tastes! Do you have a blog? I want to make sure I follow you if you do!

  3. I think this is such a respectable thing to write a book about! We have plenty of books about illness caused by people who think they are overweight, but not too many about truly overweight teens. I passed up my opportunity to be on this blog tour and now I feel like I am missing out!

    1. I agree. I haven't read many books about obese characters - just this one and Damsel Distressed - but there need to be more!

      I'm sorry you passed up the opportunity. :(


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