EAT YOUR HEART OUT, by Kelly deVos
Publication Date: June 29th, 2021
Page Count: 352 pages
Content Warnings: Fatphobia (challenged), gore and blood
*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and TBR and Beyond Tours free of charge, and my opinions are completely my own.*
In the next few hours, one of three things will happen.
1–We’ll be rescued (unlikely)
2–We’ll freeze to death (maybe)
3–We’ll be eaten by thin and athletic zombies (odds: excellent)
Vivian Ellenshaw is fat, but she knows she doesn’t need to lose weight, so she’s none too happy to find herself forced into a weight-loss camp’s van with her ex-best friend, Allie, a meathead jock who can barely drive, and the camp owner’s snobby son. And when they arrive at Camp Featherlite at the start of the worst blizzard in the history of Flagstaff, Arizona, it’s clear that something isn’t right.
Vee barely has a chance to meet the other members of her pod, all who seem as unhappy to be at Featherlite as she does, when a camper goes missing down by the lake. Then she spots something horrifying outside in the snow. Something…that isn’t human. Plus, the camp’s supposed “miracle cure” for obesity just seems fishy, and Vee and her fellow campers know they don’t need to be cured. Of anything.
Even worse, it’s not long before Camp Featherlite’s luxurious bungalows are totally overrun with zombies. What starts out as a mission to unravel the camp’s secrets turns into a desperate fight for survival–and not all of the Featherlite campers will make it out alive.
A satirical blend of horror, body positivity, and humor, Kelly deVos’s witty, biting novel proves that everyone deserves to feel validated, and taking down the evil enterprise determined to dehumanize you is a good place to start.
I enjoyed reading EAT YOUR HEART OUT. The plot is fast-paced, compelling you to dive headfirst into the story and race against time with the characters as they try to escape the zombies. While this does make it a bit difficult to connect with the Featherlite Friends as much as it would have been if you had known their backstories before the action happened, you are still drawn into caring about them through sheer trauma bonding. This follows the horror movie stereotype of connecting people who wouldn’t have bonded otherwise and is very much in keeping with deVos’ themes.
My only real complaint is that as much as this book is lauded for fat rep, there really is little to no real discussion around it. We get a few statements ("Fries before guys"), but nothing really revolutionary. Upon reading the Goodreads synopsis and hearing about it through word-of-mouth, I would have assumed that there would have been a real discussion about fatphobia and the dangers of it, rather than a glazing over through zombification and a few choice statements. Granted, representation does not need to be pointed in every story - this is merely my own preference lined up with my assumptions when I originally picked up Eat Your Heart Out.
Of course, when I read a book, I translate almost every moment into a musical revue thing in my head - I am very much like Rebecca Bunch from Crazy Ex Girlfriend in that respect. For Eat Your Heart Out, I kept hearing songs that reminded me of Anna and the Apocalypse (the musical) or of Evil Dead the musical - basically, songs that reflect the life and death situations of these teens, all while remaining comedic and light-hearted. However, as the slims of survival go down, so does the playlist - in the end, we are left alive, but at what cost? You can check out the Eat Your Heart Out playlist here.
Are you still not sure about reading Eat Your Heart Out? Well, if you like these books:
Off the Record, by Camryn Garrett
Anna and the Apocalypse, by Katharine Turner, Barry Waldo
Unchosen, by Katharyn Blair
Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion
Then you’d definitely want to grab a copy of Eat Your Heart Out!
Excited to read Eat Your Heart Out yet? I am too! However, like the blog says, I am a broke person who has little money for brand new books. If you are just like me, never fear - with the #EatYourHeartOutTour, there is a blog giveaway! One winner will receive a finished copy of Eat Your Heart Out. The giveaway starts on June 28th and ends on July 5th. To enter, just go to this raffle and enter your information!
Another super awesome thing is that Eat Your Heart Out is out TODAY! You can get a copy from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy online. Click on these buy links and you can get your own copy at the following links.
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for allowing me to join the Eat Your Heart Out book tour! You can check out the rest of the tour stops on their Tour Schedule webpage.
Kelly deVos is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection.
Kelly is represented by Chloe Seager of the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in London. Her work on body positivity has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Vulture, Salon, Bustle and SheKnows. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane was named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine. Her second book, Day Zero, is available now from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.