“Anarchic slapstick laced with timely truths make this wry, occasionally raunchy debut a standout.”
“A funny, poignant, emotionally intelligent and beautifully written novel that takes the reader on a journey that is by turns heartbreaking and inspiring. I highly recommend it.”
— NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Alisa Valdes
“In her smart and funny debut novel, Ruden examines weight and self-doubt, friendship, anger and transformation in a story reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. If you’ve ever questioned your looks or had a toxic relationship with your bathroom scale, read this.”
-Suzanne Morgan Williams author of the award-winning Bull Rider
“Put down whatever you’re reading and pick up CAMP UTOPIA AND THE FORGIVENESS DIET. It’s not just that Ruden is hilarious, or that she’s sharp and perceptive about girlhood and bodies and boys and parents and love and longing and hunger of all sorts. It’s that in Bethany Stern, Ruden has created the most unconventional and unforgettable of heroes.
Cynical, vulnerable, often misguided, and always delightful, I dare you not to fall for Bethany as she fights, steals and flails her way through fat camp and beyond. This book is delicious.”
-Miriam Gershow, author of The Local News
“A laugh-out-loud romp through Bethany’s journey to–and escape from–what she derisively calls “fat camp.” But to call the book humor is to diminish it, because Ruden’s debut novel is more than merely funny. It skewers our cultural obsession with the superficial, lampooning everything from fad diets to reality television and self-help gurus. And Bethany’s inner journey from bitterness to forgiveness is one that will resonate with all readers.
Some of the characters begin as mere foils for Bethany’s sarcastic wit. But one of the things I admire most about this novel is that nearly every character, even the bit players, change throughout, becoming rich and three dimensional. At the end, I was left with the hopeful feeling that there were no villains, just a cast of decent if damaged individuals doing their best to cope with a difficult world.
Read Camp Utopia & the Forgiveness Diet for the laughs, reread it for Ruden’s profound insight into the transformative power of forgiveness.”
–Mike Mullin, author of Ashfall
“CAMP UTOPIA is a poignant, laugh out loud story about the redemptive power of friendship and forgiveness.”
-Donna Cooner, author of Skinny
“I love, love, love funny, quirky, books like CAMP UTOPIA & THE FORGIVENESS DIET, with its powerful message of love, forgiveness, and being true to who you are!”
-Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys and Boyfriends with Girlfriends
“A funny yet inspirational book. Anyone who reads this book would not only laugh but they would feel good about themselves afterwards and say: “Wow maybe I don’t need to be skinny to be happy or perfect. This book teaches girls – of any age – that non-skinny people can be happy. I would recommend this book to any person – people who like to read or don’t and people who love other genres. You might think “Oh a normal love story cliché where the bigger girl gets the hot guy” or whatever. But CAMP UTOPIA is anything but a cliché.”
–thirteen year old reviewer at MissLiterati.com