Crystal Maldonado Takes On Fatphobia and the Latinx Experience in Debut YA Novel



Have you ever read a book and been instantly transported back to your teenage years? Because that’s exactly how I felt reading Crystal Maldonado’s debut novel, “Fat Chance, Charlie Vega.” 

In the latest piece for Pero Make It Newsy, I speak to Connecticut-native Crystal Maldonado about her debut novel. The YA book follows 16-year-old Charlie Vega, a fat Puerto Rican girl living in a white suburb, as she navigates high school, young love, and her complicated relationships with her mother and her body. 

“I think if you share any characteristics with her…if you’re fat, if you’re Puerto Rican, if you, I don’t know, wear glasses, if you, whatever, there are hopefully pieces and parts of yourself that you can identify with in Charlie. And I think there is something very validating about that. When you relate to a character’s experiences suddenly, it almost feels like someone’s kind of taking your hand a little bit and being like, ‘Yeah, we’re in this together,’” Crystal says.

She adds, “I’d also love for this story to maybe start some conversations about things like fatphobia and Latinx identity and how there is really no one right way to be either of those things, right? You can be fat and you can love exercising. You can be fat and you can, you know, love food. Those are both fine.” 

The new issue, out today, also takes a look at the fight for marijuana legalization in Mexico and opposition to a new women’s prison in Massachusetts. Everyone’s favorite pup, Princess Party Time, is back with some exciting family news. 

Readers can check out this week’s issue at Pero Make It Newsy. Be sure to sign up to receive new articles and newsletters sent straight to your inbox.

 Publisher’s Note: CTLN and Pero Make It Newsy are partners in best serving the Hispanic, Latino, Latinx community.