Morgan Stone was born with a hole in her middle: a perfectly smooth, sealed, fist-sized chunk of nothing near her belly button. After seventeen years of hiding behind lumpy sweaters and a smart mouth, she’s fed up with keeping her secret. On the dance floor one night, she decides to bare all.
At first she feels liberated . . . until a few online photos snowball into a media frenzy. Now Morgan is desperate to return to her own strange version of normal—when only her doctors, her divorced parents, and her best friend, Caro, knew the truth. But tragically Morgan’s newfound openness and Internet celebrity seem to push those closest to her further and further away.
Then a new doctor appears with a boy who may be both Morgan’s cure and her destiny. What happens when you meet the person who is—literally—your perfect match? Is being whole really all it’s cracked up to be?
I’m…not quite sure how I feel about this book. It was kinda interesting and kinda weird, and there were some things I liked and some things I disliked.
Kendra Fortmeyer is a good writer—this book has great attention to detail, and I found the main character Morgan’s humor to be kinda hilarious. In fact, one of my favorite things about Hole in the Middle is how funny it is, in a witty, snarky sort of way that was totally up my alley.
The book’s protagonist is a seventeen-year old girl who lives with her best friend Caroline, who, along with Morgan’s distant, fitness guru mother, is one of the few people who knows about Morgan’s biggest secret: the hole in her stomach. Morgan wasn’t an incredibly likeable main character, and while I’ve seen some reviewers who didn’t like the book because of that, I appreciated that Morgan made mistakes and wasn’t always her best self. She felt more real to me because of her cynical personality and her sometimes-jerky behavior.
Howie, the love interest who is Morgan’s genetic “match,” possessed some of this flawed realness as well. He did some annoying things, but as the reader, I felt like I could understand where he was coming from, and while I’m not trying to justify any mean things that Morgan and Howie said, I didn’t feel like they were ultimately bad people. Howie especially was a little adorable, and his and Morgan’s meet cute scene was, well, cute.
Continuing on with side characters, I absolutely have to mention Caro (short for Caroline), the fat, tea-drinking BOSS who Morgan kinda takes for granted. Caro is so supportive and feminist and I loved how she left sticky notes about body positivity, etc. around the apartment she and Morgan shared. She was just such an amazing best friend.
Loving and embracing your body was a big theme in Hole in the Middle, which was great! I also liked how the book discussed media and online trolls, and how people often distort other people’s words to fit whatever message they want to get across. At the same time, I appreciated how the story also showed that there are good, nice internet people too. 🙂 Additionally, I really enjoyed the art aspect of this book! (Morgan is an artist.)
While everything I mentioned above was great, I did feel like this book wasn’t my absolute favorite. The romance felt a little rushed, especially since the love interest wasn’t introduced until much later than one might expect. The subplot with Morgan’s dad also seemed like it was introduced late.
There was also one specific line that bothered me, when Morgan is talking about some shirts she owns and describes them as making her “look like a queer Jewish grandma.” This just confused me a little? It’s obviously a weird, outdated concept to say that certain clothes make you look like you’re queer, etc. Generally I felt like Kendra Fortmeyer had a good handle on the pessimistic humor, but this line just felt weird.
There’s also the predictability of the book’s plot to take into account. I wasn’t TOO bothered by this, but if predictability bothers you a lot, especially when it comes to romance, I would probably stay away from this one.
There were a few other things I’ve been thinking about, like how I’ve seen Hole in the Middle labeled as magical realism but that didn’t really seem like the best label. Sure, having a hole in your middle isn’t likely, but it doesn’t seem too far off. I also read that this book has been characterized as a young adult Wonder, which is a comparison I’m also not sure I agree with. They’re both books about characters with physical abnormalities, but the stories and messages are so different.
Anyway, my thoughts on this book are kind of a jumbled mess. All in all, I feel like Hole in the Middle had some strong points, (the humor; Caroline) but I wasn’t SUPER into it. I don’t think it’s a bad book at all though.
Are you planning on reading Hole in the Middle? How do you feel about predictable plots? Do you have any book recs with good sarcastic humor? Chat with me in the comments!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.