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Book Review

Less Is More by Wendy Lawton has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the third book in the "Real TV" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Abby Lewis gains 30 pounds after her father's premature death by heart attack. When she moves with her mother from Suwanee, Georgia to San Francisco to live with her grandmother, she is reluctant to make new friends because of her appearance. Damien, the youth group leader at their new church, nicknames her Flabster. Abby's prayers for weight-loss help are answered when Parker, a school football player who is physically fit, and Isabella, the daughter of a nutritionist, befriend her. Coach Matthews, her female P.E. instructor and a youth group sponsor, encourage her, also. Coach Matthews gets Abby on as a contestant for the reality TV show Less is More since a teen losing weight with help from her friends appeals to the show's producers. Abby attains her weight goal; plus, Isabella goes from being a nonbeliever to becoming a Christian by seeing Abby's faith in God sustain her through grief and weight-loss challenges. Damien stops using nicknames when his youth pastor tells him it's wrong. He also sees just how hurtful nicknames are by watching himself on the show and apologizes to the youth group members. Isabella begins going to the youth group after she finds out that Damien's nicknames are a thing of the past.

Christian Beliefs

Abby is a Christian. She prays and quotes Bible verses to Isabella, a nonbeliever. Abby and Parker pray together. Abby doesn't understand why her dad died but leans on her faith in God and his plan for her life to comfort her. She grows in faith as she shares her beliefs with Isabella, who begins reading the Bible and looking for answers. Isabella brings up questions about how to live out the Christian faith when she questions Damien's use of nicknames at youth group.

Other Belief Systems

Isabella is not a Christian. She is searching and sometimes uses the slang of the day, like "drawing on your higher power." Coach Matthews tells Isabella that the phrase is part of a New-Age belief.

Authority Roles

Coach Matthews is the strongest role model in Abby's life. She discusses Christian beliefs with Abby and Isabella, prays with the girls and advises Abby not to artificially bring up she's a Christian on the show, unless it comes up naturally. At youth group, Pastor Doug reads a passage about the importance God places on names, indirectly letting Abby know her nickname of Flabster is not good for her. Abby's mom and grandmother are Christians and her mother helps her by sharing her own grief and acknowledging the challenges the cross-country move has caused for them both. Abby's grandmother changes her meals to making healthy foods to help Abby's weight loss.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

13 and up


Wendy Lawton






Record Label



Moody Publishers


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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