All bodies are incredible, and nobody should tell you how to look or feel. Despite the world pushing very specific standards of beauty and worthiness, there are so many incredible authors writing about bigger bodies, chronic illnesses, and the trans experience. If you’re looking for some empowering reads, here are nine books that remind us that every body is worthy of love.
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
As eight-year-old Malaya comes of age in 1990s Harlem, she struggles with the pressures and confinements of her life. While dealing with high expectations at her predominantly white prep school, Malaya is also being dragged to Weight Watchers meetings, high intensity workout classes, and countless doctors by her mother and grandmother. Her body has no place in society’s concept of femininity, and tensions at home continue to rise until a family tragedy forces Malaya to face the source of her hunger on her own terms.
Soul Archaeology: A (Totally Doable) Approach to Creating a Self-Loving and Liberated Life by Sarah Sapora
In this blend of actionable guidance and personal story, Sarah Sapora leads readers towards loving self-acceptance. In a heartening and holistic way, this plus-sized personal growth instructor offers means of healing and nurturing your worth to have a happier present. Through practical tools, this book guides anyone at any stage from a place of doubt and discomfort into an arena of radical self-love.
Always Only You by Chloe Liese
Frankie is a grumpy social media manager for a hockey team, and she has rheumatoid arthritis and autism. Ren is a ball of sunshine and the newest member of the team. While a romance between them is forbidden, that doesn’t stop Ren’s feelings from growing. But Frankie has felt like nothing but a problem to others since she got her autism diagnosis. She’s keeping that diagnosis a secret, and she can’t imagine opening her heart up to anyone. Ren won’t give up on her that easy though, and Frankie just might learn that love can develop because of differences, not in spite of them.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Willowdean Dickson is a self-proclaimed fat girl with a former beauty queen mom who calls her “dumplin”. Will’s always been comfortable in her body until she gets a job at a local fast-food joint. There she meets Bo, a hot former jock who seems to be just as interested in Will as she is in him. While this should spike her confidence, her mind fills with doubt. To get her confidence back she enters the local beauty pageant to show the world that she deserves the prize as much as any other girl.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix is Black, queer, and transgender, and he fears that he’ll never find love being in that many marginalized groups. When an anonymous student starts sending him transphobic messages and posting his deadname along with pictures of him before his transition, Felix sets off for revenge. But he never expected to end up in a quasi-love triangle. As Felix tries to make sense of his complicated feelings, he goes through a self-discovery journey that forces him to redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado
Charlie Vega is smart, funny, artistic, ambitious, and fat. Lots of people, especially her mom, have a problem with that last one. Charlie wants to love her body, but with her mom leaving weight loss shakes on her dresser and society telling her she should be slimmer and whiter, it’s hard. The one person Charlie can always rely on is her best friend Amelia, who is slim, athletic, and popular. And when a boy in her class finally notices Charlie, things are great—until she finds out he asked Amelia out first. Is Charlie just his second choice? Because she knows she deserves to be noticed and loved for her unapologetic self.
If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy
As a fashion-obsessed plus-size woman, Cindy has a hard time finding designer clothes that fit her body, but she never struggles to find stunning pairs of shoes. With her design degree but no job in sight, Cindy moves back in with her stepmother, the executive producer of the world’s biggest dating show. When a contestant drops out, Cindy jumps in hoping that showing off her shoe collection on network TV will help jump-start her career. As she realizes that she is truly falling for the lead man, Cindy will have to take a leap of faith and shut out all the noise and see if it is meant to be.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek, and after sort-of coming close to death, she comes up with a list of seven tasks to help her “Get a Life”. But Chloe needs a teacher and she knows the perfect guy—her sexy, mysterious neighbor, Red. She enlists his help in her rebellion, and while they clash at first, they both learn more about each other than they expected. Can they make it work despite their differences?
Queer Body Power: Finding Your Body Positivity by Essie Dennis
Essie Dennis is young, queer, and plus-size, and has often felt like they were not enough. They shared their struggles on social media and found that many others felt very similar. Essie challenges the traditional beauty standards and shares their journey on self-acceptance and body satisfaction, guiding readers towards loving their queer bodies. This book opens up an important conversation about body image and mental health that queer people have often been excluded from.
Curves for Days by Laura Moher (8/22)
Rose is a curvy woman, and the new contractor working on her house is insanely attracted to her and her cheery, witty personality. While Angus is grumpy and doesn’t think he deserves love for his own hidden reasons, Rose can’t help but fall for him too. Soon, their friendship turns to love and partnership, and Rose’s house becomes a home. But Rose also has a secret and it is revealed at the worst possible time.