Erin Fry's debut novel, Losing It, is a great motivational and heartwarming read. Bennett is a middle school kid who is self conscious of his oversized body, but still enjoys eating junk food and watching sports instead of playing them. When his dad suffers a stroke and Bennett is forced to move in with his aunt, Laura, Bennett's life takes some drastic turns.
I loved this novel which felt to me a little like the male version of Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee. Bennett is a character that was so human - he is a boy who has been through a lot - the death of his mom when he was just five is still with him, and he has never become close to his mom's sister, Laura, who seems overly controlling. When he is forced to move in with his aunt and her family, she initiates a healthy living movement -daily exercise and healthy meals- that will cause Bennett to begin to think about the lifestyle choices he and his father made. The decision to join the cross country team is his own, yet, he finds support from new teammates and his family that helps him to realize he can do this - despite the fact that there is a lot of hard work involved. The only person not so excited about Bennett's new lifestyle is his best friend, PG, who is also overweight.
Although the end felt a little too perfect, I have thought about Bennett a great deal since I closed this book. Fry's message is inspiring without being preachy and I can't wait to press this in the hands of many readers- both male and female. Losing It shares a wonderful message while still entertaining.