Also, how fair is it that someone with a weight problem has to have a mother who has her own catering business. Andy's mother may specialize in mini foods - mini eclairs, mini bagels, mini bite-sized Caesar salads, but it is fabulous mini food and eating by the handful does help his situation at all.
Andy and his best friend Eytan managed to survive their freshman year. They hung in there despite the teasing and taunting from upperclassman and found their place with the geeks. Clubs like Model UN and getting good grades should be enough to please their parents and get them into first rate colleges. The only thing is, this year Andy wants more.
Things seem like they might be about to change when Andy meets April. He's helping his mother cater a wedding when April enters his world. The secret dreams of what could be possible if they could hook up keeps Andy thinking hopefully as his sophomore year begins. That hopefulness takes a leap forward when it turns out April has actually moved nearby and is attending Andy's high school.
When Andy discovers April is trying out for cheerleading, he makes an amazing decision. He takes a detour on his way to a Model UN meeting and ends up heading out the back door of the school and right into the middle of football practice. It turns out the team needs a new center and Andy's massive size fills one of the main requirements for the job.
Of course, there are complications. How can he get his mother to sign the consent form necessary to play football when he knows she'll be concerned that he suffers from asthma? What happens when his best friend finds out he is abandoning the geeks of Model UN in favor of the jocks of football? Can he even learn to play football when he doesn't really have an athletic bone in his oversized body?
Allen Zadoff takes readers into the familiar world of high school. FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN'T HAVE focuses on the cliques of high school and the resulting pressure to fit in, be popular, and just survive in general. If that's not enough pressure, Zadoff creates even more for his main character as he has Andy struggle with unrequited love, a controlling mother, and a mostly absent father. It all sounds rather depressing, but Zadoff uses fantastic humor and likeable characters to attract and hold the reader's attention right to the last page. FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN'T HAVE is a must-read.