Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies, by Erin Dionne, is a thought-provoking novel about being a middle school girl. This book, best targeted to younger middle school students, is about an eighth grader named Celeste Harris. It begins with Celeste and her cousin Kirsten trying on matching junior bridesmaid dresses for Kirsten’s sister’s wedding. Celeste is overweight and insecure, and is miserable and jealous that the dress fits Kirsten’s “perfect” body wonderfully but hers needs alterations. This jealousy and anger about her body type is a recurring theme throughout the book.
Celeste is teased mercilessly at school about her weight, particularly by classmate Lively Carson, and just tries to pass by inconspicuously with her best friend Sandra. Much to her horror, Celeste’s aunt enters her in a teen plus-size modeling competition. Celeste consents hesitantly, not wanting to be teased but desiring to make her parents proud. As she goes further into the process, Celeste wonders if it’s really the modeling that she hates or the fact that it’s “plus size” modeling. She embarks on many mishaps, some entertaining and some serious, from clothing falling askew to attempting to lose weight to be to thin to compete to discovering that the impeccable Lively Carson may not be so perfect after all.
Throughout the whole journey, although she has many not-so-fun experiences, Celeste ultimately gains friends, enriched family relationships, and confidence.