Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what?
It becomes a big deal when her perfect cousin Regina announces her engagement to Enzo, the only boy she’s ever loved (he doesn’t know, so don’t tell him!) Suddenly Aguases from all corners of the globe are coming for the event, and the last thing Martha wants is to be asked why she still prefers her lattes with a waffle on the side.
Thank god for Max. Goofy, funny, dependable Max, who finds himself playing the fake boyfriend at the family festivities. But why does it feel like only one of them is pretending?
Martha won my heart from the first page. Here is a girl who is strong, smart, efficient (favorite), warm and loving. Who is able to look a hefty serving of freshly cooked fries in the face and think “I want you,” and feel no shame. She loves her body, and despite moments wherein her confidence wavers, she owns it, and she knows she doesn’t need to be a size zero to look amazing. And then there’s Max, her hot, bookish veterinarian best friend. If those words strung together are not enough to get you, know that he is sweet and wonderful and he cares for Martha the way she needs to be cared for. He is protective of her without the machismo. He sees through her and calls her out when she’s a little less honest with herself. But not all the time, though, and not in all the ways that matter, cos otherwise we won’t have the delicious conflict and the tightly strung tension between them.
Then there’s Enzo, the teenage dream, the theater crush. I kind of had a wall up against him from the get go (maybe because we’ve been hurt by theater crushes a lot these days hehe), but I learned to like him in all his imperfect glory.
I loved the titas, the dog, the cousin, the mom and dad and the sister, even the office people. I wish I got to know Regina a bit more, why she turned around the way she did. But it’s okay. At times, the number of the supporting characters made me feel like I was a stranger thrown into a friend’s family dinner party, and introduced to the lot of them all in one night. But they were a lovely, crazy bunch. And it was easy to pick out things that I myself would hear in my own family dinners. (This, by the way, fortified my belief that there really is a Pinoy tita/lola code somewhere. Where is that code book? Maybe let’s burn it hehe)
Read it because it’s a heart-warming story brimming with girl power and body positivity without being weighed down by angst. Read it because Max is lovely and he quotes Mr. Darcy. And because Martha is the kind of girl you’d instantly root for, and she makes it easier for you to do so because she fights for her own happiness.