Author: Peter Marino
Pages: 221 p
Publisher: Holiday House
Tristan is an overweight teenage son of divorced parents. He's happy with his parents' divorce, they're much happier separate than together; while he's not exactly happy with his weight, he's not bothered by it. He has a good relationship with his parents and their new partners. He gets along very well with his mother's live-in boyfriend (Frank), who is also overweight, and shares the love of ice cream sundaes with him. Everything is fine in Tristan's life, until Frank's daughter comes to visit and then live with them. Kelly is not only thin and beautiful, she's a health freak and completely judgemental about Frank and Tristan's weight. It's not enough for her to express concern over their size, she has to make them feel bad about it. Tristan weakens under her constant abuse and bullying until he finally explodes.
Dough Boy starts off somewhat slow. With the big type and the plot I wasn't sure if this was really a teenage novel. But I stuck with it, and it was worth it. Tristan is a sympathetic character. He's not perfect--he lets his "friends" take advantage of him and he ignores his true friends in the process. Kelly may be thin and tough, but she's vulnerable too. The main characters are mostly 3-dimensional and learn something by the end of the book. There's an incident of teen sex and references to teenage male genitalia, but nothing is gratuitious and everything is handled well.
On My Nightstand: More, more, more.