Continuing the tradition from last year’s list, this post lists my favorite books with fat representation that I read in 2018. (Not all of them were published in 2018, of course.) It definitely shows my bias towards contemporary romance, but there is a smattering of paranormal romance, young adult fiction and speculative fiction as well.
I’m unabashedly listing multiple titles by the same author, when they were my fave for fat rep. I link to reviews where I have written them; and also where I have only posted trigger warnings, so you can easily find those.
I’m listing rep at the end of my descriptions. If you spot something incorrect, please do feel free to let me know. Also, I am not intending to out anyone; I get author info from the web and the book bio. If an author would like me to remove any info listed, please do let me know. I want to note that I use the word fat as a neutral descriptor when listing rep, and use the word queer when a character or author identify that way or when I am unclear about their identity but know they fall under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella.
Books I Read in 2018
Young Adult Fiction
- Belly Up by Eva Darrows (contemporary YA m/f romance novel) I am lucky enough to have been an early reader for this wonderful YA romance centering a pregnant teen girl. It’s full of heart, and full of humor, and the characters are wonderfully complex and deeply drawn. I loved it. I especially appreciated the fat rep, and the hero Leaf in particular. He’s a total dreamboat. (Rep: Hispanic biracial fat pregnant questioning teen girl MC. Fat Romani teen boy MC who I read as demisexual. Gray ace secondary character. Butch trans lesbian secondary character. Femme lesbian secondary character with diabetes. Hispanic and Romani biracial bisexual fat author with diabetes, PTSD, and anxiety.) (Note: out 4/30/19)
- Cover Me by Olivia Dade (in Rogue Acts). (contemporary m/f romance novella) The fat representation was just wonderful. (I struggled a bit with the fat MC believing the myth about fatness being a risk factor for cancer, but it definitely felt realistic and I liked that she didn’t make it a big thing.) The m/f romance arc between the older MCs was rather quiet, and I found myself feeling like I wanted to know the MCs a bit more than I got to. I really adored the way he supports her and cuddles her. That was my favorite thing about it, along with the speech she makes at the town hall about healthcare. Issues around healthcare were front and center in this story, focused on a small scale: one of the MCs. I appreciated the way the activism was integrated into the narrative. (Rep: Fat heroine. Chubby hero. Fat author.)
- Fight Fire with Fire by Sionna Fox (contemporary f/f romance novella ) blew me away. It was beautiful, nuanced, deeply characterized, full of glorious details about art and creativity and curating art exhibits. It was delightfully insistently queer in a way that just took my breath away and felt so intensely resonant. It made me cry, I felt so much for these characters, felt so held by the story. I loved the fat rep to pieces, it was truly wonderful and felt so real and resonant for me as a queer fat activist. I was rooting for them as a couple so hard, and was cheering when they got to their happy ending. It’s worth it to buy the collection for this story alone. (Rep: Queer fat femme woman MC. Butch lesbian MC. Non-binary secondary character.)
- Resisting Desire by Talia Hibbert (in Rogue Nights) (contemporary m/f romance novella) is a brothers best friend romance with a bodyguard/protectee trope, and completely loved it, which is not unusual for me with Hibberts romances. I loved the heroine so much, right along with the hero, who sees her strength and power and just wants to protect her and give her what she needs and love her as best he can. I also deeply appreciate, as always, the fat representation in this book. It is incredibly difficult to find m/f romance with fat heroes, and James is so dreamy and sexy and loving and respects Nina so much; I adored him. I was rooting for them as a couple, and enjoyed watching them come together. The activist aspect of the book was wonderful, balanced hope and realism really well and I loved the politics in it. It’s worth buying the book for this romance, alone. (Rep: Fat Black hero. Chubby Black heroine. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (contemporary m/f romance novel) I adored this contemporary m/f romance! It was exactly the book I needed, in pretty much every way. Mostly light, with a bit of angst, & a slow tender fall of a romance arc. This has the fake girlfriend so I’m not alone at my exes wedding trope, and centers a long distance relationship that emerges from the fake dating. The meet-cute is wonderful and it really satisfies on the fake dating front. (Rep: Fat Black heroine. Black secondary characters. Latinx secondary character. Black woman author.)
- Mistletoe Mistress by Nicola Davidson (historical m/f romance novella) This Christmas romance involves a fake relationship, a deception, and a lovely happenstance of kink compatibility between strangers, and it is just delightful. I fell hard for the fat heroine and was so glad when she got her HEA. (Rep: Fat woman MC.)
- The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert. I adored the heroine of this book so much, she completely stole my heart. This is tropey goodness at its best, the way Hibbert consistently delivers, and it was exactly what I needed on an awful day. (Rep: Fat Black woman MC. Bisexual man MC with PTSD. Hijabi woman secondary character. Chronically ill secondary character. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- Whip, Stir and Serve by Caitlyn Frost and Henry Drake. (contemporary m/enby romance novelette) Amazing short contemporary kink meet-cute romance centering an autistic bisexual demigirl submissive MC w/anxiety and a careful, sweet, very hot dominant man MC who makes cinnamon rolls. Hot realistic BDSM scene full of consent. (Rep: Autistic bisexual demi-girl MC with anxiety. Chubby man love interest. Autistic bisexual non-binary demi-girl author with anxiety. Autistic man author.)
- Her Christmas Cookie by Katrina Jackson (contemp m/m/f romance novella) This book was exactly what I needed from a queer polyamorous holiday story, as it centers the way all three partners support each other through the complexities of going home for the holidays, and shows a range of family experiences. (Rep: Fat Black woman MC. Black bisexual man trauma survivor MC. Latinx pansexual man MC. Black queer woman author.)
- Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed (contemporary f/f romance novella) A lovely, lighthearted swoony low-heat fluffy romance that was comforting to read. This is a romance between two fat queer women of color, and it has fat representation that made me happy. I appreciated the demisexual rep and the anxiety rep as well, and loved the way they were both so gone for each other, and kind to each other. (Rep: Middle Eastern Muslim anxious fat pansexual woman MC. Black extroverted fat demisexual woman MC. Non-binary secondary character. Middle Eastern Muslim queer author.)***’
Friends to Lovers Romance
- Jericho Candelario’s Gay Debut by R. Cooper (contemp m/m romance novella) I loved this book! Such a sweet story, the MC pines so intensely for his gay bear baker best friend & has no idea how to even approach dating because he spent his youth taking care of his family. (Rep: Gay Latix MC. Gay fat MC. Latinx lesbian secondary character.)
- Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance) I really loved this friends to lovers romance. It felt like it went really deep, and was extremely satisfying and complex. It has beaten out my other favorites by this author and is her standout, thus far, in my opinion. One of the best books I’ve read in 2018. (Rep: Fat Black British bisexual or pansexual heroine. Desi biracial Muslim hero. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- From Scratch by Katrina Jackson (contemporary m/m/f romance novel) I found this polyamorous erotic romance utterly delightful! It has so many things I love, all together in one fluffy package: a lovely meet-cute, a really sweet friends to lovers arc, humor, heat, heart, baked goods, queerness, excellent friendships, polyamory, stellar fat representation. I laughed out loud more times than I could count, and fell really hard for all three of the main characters; the moments when they were sweet to each other were just so swoony. (Rep: Black woman MC. Black bisexual man trauma survivor MC. Latinx pansexual/bisexual man MC. Black woman author)
- Game of Hearts by Cathy Yardley (contemporary m/f romance) I adored this romance between a cosplaying mechanic and the man she’s had a crush on forever who is in a motorcycle club. Loved the fat rep in this, and how gloriously geeky it was. (Rep: Fat heroine. Native American hero. Biracial Asian American woman author.)
- Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss (contemporary f/f novella) This is an NA college-set holiday romance and it was lovely. I really enjoyed the way the characters moved from meet cute to best friends to dating. It was a lovely arc, and this is definitely a satisfying Christmas romance, with family gathering, a mistletoe moment, and lots of foodie moments. (Rep: Fat Puerto Rican lesbian woman MC with anxiety. Panromantic asexual woman MC with ADHD. Panromantic asexual woman author with ADHD and anxiety.)
- A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance) This is a gorgeous, complex, tightly plotted, deeply characterized, super swoony, neighbors-to-lovers romance. It has a tremendous heart, and is both full of angst and full of humor in a way that feels very balanced. I loved the fat rep in this, like I have all of Hibbert’s books. But what blew me away was the autism rep, which resonated so deep for me. And the depiction of trauma (the heroine is a survivor of intimate partner violence and stalking) felt spot-on accurate. (Rep: Fat Black British trauma survivor autistic heroine. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- Wrapped Up in You by Ceillie Simkiss (contemp f/f romance novella)*** I enjoyed getting to revisit one of my favorite couples and to see how they navigate a family Christmas together, along with some lovely Christmas surprises. (Rep: Panromantic asexual woman MC with ADHD. Fat Puerto Rican lesbian woman MC with anxiety. Panromantic asexual woman author with ADHD and anxiety.)
- Keeping the Cookies by Briana Lawrence (contemporary m/m novelette) A Christmas novelette that was wacky, hilarious and really wonderful. Plus, it has an awesome BFF and a fat love interest who I completely adored. (Rep: Black gay MC. Chubby Black gay love interest. Black gay secondary character. Black woman author.)
- A Touch of Sugar by Christina C Jones (contemporary m/f romance novella) I really enjoyed this snowed in Christmas romance, complete with long term pining, hilarious tree-cutting antics, and lots of heat. I adored the heroine so much. This is part of a series of linked novellas and I plan to read them all! (Rep: Chubby Black woman MC. Black man MC. Black woman author.)
Meet Cute Romance
- Free Fall by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner (historical m/f romance novel) This is set during the space race and it has a fat heroine who I fell really hard for, who has a shotgun wedding to an astronaut after a one night stand leads to a surprise pregnancy. This is a marry first then fall in love story & it’s got this lovely slow fall and hard-earned happy ending. (Rep: Fat heroine.)
- Undone by the Ex Con by Talia Hibbert. (contemporary m/f romance) I love Talia Hibbert’s writing, the way she does incidental fat rep, the way she engages with the complexities of class and trauma, the swooniness in her romances, and of course, the gorgeous heat and chemistry. This is my new fave of hers. It’s wonderful.The heroine’s arc is all about coming to terms w/accepting her diabetes, and as a diabetic reader, I really appreciated this kind of rep. (Rep: Fat Black woman MC with diabetes. Bisexual man MC with PTSD. Gay man secondary character. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- Bear Chasing by Renae Kaye (contemporary m/m romance novelette): II enjoyed this romance between neighbors; there were several moments that cracked me up, and it felt like a respectful engagement with bear culture, if slightly infodumpy on occasion. The geeky MC is into bears but knows nothing about bear culture, and gets a crash course from the chubby bear love interest, while beginning to fall for the neighbor he’s been crushing on. It has cute kids too, as the MC is co-parenting his sister’s kids with her. (Rep: Gay MC. Chubby gay love interest.)
- The Mountain Lion’s Valentine by Lola Kidd (urban fantasy m/f romance novelette) Adorable, fun, sweet Valentine’s Day themed shifter romance, complete with mail order bride trope and insta-mating. (Rep: Fat Black woman MC. Woman of color author.)
- Pet Rescue Panther by Zoe Chant (paranormal m/f romance novella) I enjoyed this bodyguard/protectee fated mates panther shifter romance. The heroine works at an animal shelter and as they run from the dragon shifter assassin that is after her, she insists that they not leave the kittens behind. It has this wonderful rom com feel to it, and made a hard day a bit brighter. (Rep: Fat heroine.)
- Snare by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae (paranormal m/m/m romance novella) I loved this gorgeously written polyamorous romance about a middle aged chubby ordinary looking vampire and the two beautiful younger men who fall for each other and adore him. This has so much in it; a lovely meet-cute, a snowed-in start and then a longer forced proximity due to vampire politics and an accidental bite, and polyamory representation that made me swoon. (Rep: Gay MCs. Gay chubby middle-aged MC. Queer non-binary author. Queer woman author.)
- Untouchable by Talia Hibbert (contemporary m/f romance) I fell so hard for the heroine of this single dad/nanny romance. Fell for her and felt for her, and loved watching their romance unfold. Untouchable is one of my most favorite books of Hibbert’s. (Rep: Fat Black bisexual heroine with depression. Hero with depression. Secondary autistic Black woman character with PTSD. Secondary character with chronic illness. Autistic Black Anglo-Romani disabled queer author.)
- Protection, Inc series by Zoe Chant. (paranormal m/f romance novellas) I really enjoyed this series of bodyguard/protectee shifter romances, most of which have fat heroines. I especially appreciated that the characters in these fated mate shifter stories really cared about honoring the consent of their partners, even when their inner beast wanted something else. (Rep: Fat heroines. MCs with PTSD. POC MCs.)
- Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault (fantasy novel) This novel takes the classic romance trope of enemies to lovers and reframes it for a non-romantic relationship, and it does that superbly. I loved it so much, so many aspects of the representation resonated for me, and it left me feeling so hopeful! (Rep: Demisexual biromantic woman MC with asthma. Fat genderfluid bigender allosexual aromantic MC. Many non-binary and trans secondary characters. Many queer secondary characters, including at least two arospec characters. Arospec asexual demigirl author.)***
- The Wish Giver in No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll (fantasy short stories) This story centers a fat trans girl MC fighting a dragon to get her wish granted. The book is beautiful collection of rewoven tales, stories that reshape fairy tales and swords-and-sorcery fantasy stories to firmly center trans and/or non-binary main characters. It focuses on gendered prophecies that know the MC’s gender even if others around them do not, and shows trans and/or non-binary characters breaking, subverting, and fulfilling those prophecies. (Rep: Fat trans girl MC. Bi, ace spec, autistic, queer, fat, disabled, transgender, demigirl author.)***
Fat Rep I Published in 2018:
- Tenderness by Xan West (printed in Queerly Loving Vol 2) is a queer contemporary short story that centers a Jewish autistic bisexual kinky fat femme MC Judith with chronic migraines, and her Jewish fat queer genderqueer BFF Shiloh. Judith just got dumped by her girlfriend. She has a meltdown and is supported by Shiloh and then her queer chosen family. This is a cozy comfort read, one that depicts a queer kinky chosen family having a potluck and gathering to support a family member who is struggling. I often refer to it as a queer chosen family love story.
- An excerpt from Shocking Violet, my queer kinky polyamorous romance novel WIP, free on my website. This erotica excerpt shows Jax and Violet’s first D/s scene. It also shows some things I rarely see in BDSM romance: beginning with BDSM play where sex is off the table, a dominant checking in with himself before play to be sure he is up for it, a survivor making it clear she doesn’t want her partner to try to fix her trauma, survivors talking openly about the risk of being triggered by play, an autistic submissive going non-verbal during play.
- Trying Submission by Xan West (printed in Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Vol 3) This erotica story centers a fat autistic femme trans lesbian woman trying out submission for the first time with another fat femme lesbian, a member of her leather family who she trusts. It’s D/s focused, and sex is off the table from the start. It also shows her going non-verbal during both negotiations and play, and them finding ways to continue to communicate and ensure consent.
- Nine of Swords, Reversed by Xan West (genderfluid/genderfluid romance novelette) This contemporary fantasy romance novelette centers two Jewish fat disabled genderfluid mages sorting out the issues in their D/s relationship. It is very much about the intersections of disability, gender, trauma and D/s, and while it definitely has some angst, it’s also rather cozy and heartwarming, in the ways the central characters treat each other and work to mend their relationship.
On my TBR for 2019
Young Adult & Middle Grade
- Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
- Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older
- The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
- Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
- To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
- Final Draft by Riley Redgate
- Dumplin’ & Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
- Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
- Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky
- There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (out 5/14/19)
- If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kahn (out 6/4/19)
- Some Places More than Others by Renée Watson (out 9/3/19)
- The F Word ed by Angie Manfredi (out fall 2019)
- I’ll be the One by Lyla Lee (out 2020)
- If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
- Private Eye by Katrina Jackson
- Star-Struck by Twyla Turner
- Mayday by Olivia Dade
- Dangerous Curves Ahead by Sugar Jamison
- On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss
- This Much Space by KK Hendin
- Scoring Off the Field by Naima Simone
- Vow of Celibacy by Erin Judge
- How She Likes It by Carla de Guzman
- Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton
- The Project by Leila Lacey
- Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner
- Willful Depravity by Ingrid Hahn
- Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali
- Sweetly Swirled by ML Spann
- Xeni and Mason’s book in Rebekah Weatherspoon’s
- Chord by Chelsea M. Cameron
- The Biggest Lover ed by R Jackson
- Coming Together With Curves ed by Victoria Blisse
- The Bears of Winter ed by Jerry Wheeler
- Flesh Spills and Secret Thrills by Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse
- Stake Sauce by RoAnna Sylver
- Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe
- Gunsmoke and Glamour by Hillary Monahan
- Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver
- Dust Bath Revival by Marianne Kirby
- The Artist and the Devil by Shira Glassman
- Bear Company by Pat Myers
More Fat Rep
A few other rec lists for folks looking for fat representation:
- Plus Size/BBW list by WOC in Romance
- Fat Positive LGBTQ books by Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian
- Big Girls Need Love Too by Rebekah Weatherspoon
- Fat Fiction list at Grab the Lapels
- Fat Positive Queer YA by Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian
- Fat Representation in YA by Julie Daly
- Longer list of YA with Fat Characters by Julie Daly
For a more in-depth discussion of fat rep in m/f romance, this essay of mine may be of interest. And you may want to check out last years list of fave fat rep.
8 thoughts on “Fave Fat Rep I Read in 2018”
Thanks for adding my link to your post. When I read fat fiction, I have such a hard time determining if I would recommend it or not. I try to make boundaries, like “no talking about bodies in a negative way,” but then I find that a character may be negative to herself or others and eventually stop, like in Dumplin’. Or maybe the character thinks unflattering thoughts in a way that seems realistic/factual rather than mean, such as in Mile End by Lise Tremblay.
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I actually haven’t read either of those. I feel like it’s hard to make these determinations because there are so few books that would follow those kinds of rules.
I don’t include weight loss arcs or diet/weight loss behavior, and I prefer stories where fat characters don’t feel bad about being fat, and don’t like arcs about fat people accepting their bodies or accepting that they are worthy of love. I prefer books that talk matter of factly and in a celebratory way about fat people’s bodies.
For me its not so much a set of rules as it is a feeling while reading and afterwards. So much fat rep feels really self loathing or outright hostile and mean towards the fat characters; that’s the kind of fiction I stop reading within a few pages, mostly.
That’s a good way of thinking about it. What you’ve said validates my feelings about forgiving some character behavior that sat with me wrong but was amended–things like that. Have you read Fat Angie by E.E. Charleton-Trujillo?
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I haven’t read Fat Angie, actually. Do you recommend it?
Hello, I was wondering if you will do a 2019 version of this post? I always come here for a recommendation with fat rep, so I always look forward for you posts.
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Yes, I am working on the draft, it will go up this month, hopefully in the next week or so.