Good Luck with ThatBy: Kristan Higgins
At Berkley: There are so many people to thank, but none more than Claire Zion, my brilliant editor, and Craig Burke, head of publicity. Thanks to you and the entire Berkley team for gracing this book with enthusiasm, talent and heart.
At Maria Carvainis Agency: Boundless gratitude to Madame herself for her faith in me, and to Martha Guzman for her constant care and attention to detail.
At Author Rx: Thanks to Mel Jolly for taking care of all the things I never would’ve thought of on my own.
Additional, huge heartfelt thanks to:
Coaches Dave Bellemare, Mike Ford and Jack McShane, who always judge children on the content of their character rather than on the speed of their feet—thank you for helping make my son an even better person than he already was.
Christian Alberico, a role model in kindness, leadership and hard work, and to his parents, for raising a truly great person.
Diana Phung and Natalie Alamo, for their insight into the duties of a preschool teacher and some really fun stories as well.
Silvi Martin, for her Spanish translations, constant good cheer and friendship.
Alison Harrisberger Warford, who shared with me the spirit of Admiral, the quiet and noble friend we all should be so lucky to have.
Joss Dey, Jennifer Iszkiewicz, Anne Renwick, Stacia Bjarnason and Huntley Fitzpatrick, my beloved friends and fellow writers, for the laughter, the catchphrases, the wonderful weekends, the honesty and the friendship.
Terence, Flannery and Declan, thank you for being exactly who you are. I can never seem to find the words to say how much I love you, but love you I do, and with all my heart.
To write a book about a subject as emotionally charged as body acceptance, weight and health was an undertaking. I built on my personal experiences with the issues the characters tackle in Good Luck with That and sought out variety of other sources and experiences as well. If you’re interested, you can find a list of those sources at kristanhiggins.com/good-luck-with-that/read-more. Specifically, however, I would like to thank the following medical and mental health specialists: Jeff Pinco, MD; Stacia Bjarnason, PhD; Margaret O’Hagan-Lynch, LPC; Samantha Heller, MS, RD, CDN; Nadeem Hussain, MD; and Julia Kristan, RN.
Most especially, however, thank you to the dozens of honest, brave, funny, intelligent people who shared their personal stories online, anonymously and through face-to-face conversations with me.
And to you, readers, who have chosen to spend a few hours with this book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
SIXTEEN YEARS AGO
For once, no one was thinking of food.
From above, they were just three teenage girls, bobbing in the middle of the clear blue lake, a rowboat drifting lazily nearby as they splashed and laughed. A blonde and two brunettes, one with black hair, one with brown. Their voices rose and fell. Occasionally, one of them would slip underwater, then pop up a few yards away. Hair would be slicked back, and the swimmer might flip on her back and look up at the sky, so pure and deep that day, the thick white clouds floating slowly past on the lazy breeze.
Just the three of them out in the lake, an unauthorized swim time, rebels all, at least for the moment, free from the constraints and prescribed activities of Camp Copperbrook, where girls ages eleven to eighteen were sent to lose weight. For now, the three weren’t fat girls . . . they were just normal, and they were enjoying that elusive state of simply being as they goofed around in the lake. Emerson floating, ever dreamy; Georgia sidestroking efficiently; Marley twisting and wriggling like an otter.
They’d lost the oars to the rowboat, so one by one, they’d jumped in the water to fetch them. The lake was so silky and cool against their skin that no one wanted to get back out. They were weightless, and graceful. They were practically mermaids. After a while, they just floated on their backs, swishing their hands once in a while, kicking lackadaisically.
The sun was bright but behind the mountain; birds dipped and wheeled above the lake. From the pine-ringed beach came the far-off sound of the occasional whistle from one of the counselors, some laughter from other campers, a snatch of music.
Tomorrow, everyone would be going home.
“I love it here,” Emerson said, a wistful note in her soft voice. “This is my happy place. Right here, right now. I can’t believe we won’t be back next year.”