Review: Bodies to Die For by Lori Brand

by Renee
Bodies to Die For Book Review

Influencer culture has always sort of fascinated me, especially in the health and fitness realm. There’s no shortage of “experts” ready and willing to tell you everything that’s wrong with you, and they’ve got just the program to fix it. That interest is what led me to Bodies to Die For by Lori Brand, which came out on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, from Blackstone Publishing.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for revie. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


The basic premise of Bodies to Die For is that fitness influencers are dying mysterious deaths while “fat activists” rise up to try to take down the $70 billion diet industry.

The book is told from multiple points of view, but the two main characters are Gemma and Ashley.

Gemma is a former fat girl turned fitness guru. She coaches others and is preparing for the most prestigious bodybuilding competition: Olympia.

Ashley is a fat woman who, seemingly because of her fatness, has no friends or life outside of her work, and is a constant source of disappointment to her mother who desperately wants grandchildren.

One day Ashley meets Lydia, who brings her into a small social circle. The group’s common goal is fat activism — calling out companies who discriminate against larger bodies, rallying against dangerous diet culture, and putting those fitness influencers on blast. Soon Ashley has almost no time for her job because she’s so busy helping Lydia organize events. But through this, she’s finding her voice. She takes up boxing and finds her strength.

Meanwhile, fitness girls are dying in suspicious ways, one by one, and they’re all people Gemma knows. That’s the underlying mystery. Who is doing this, and why? Gemma wonders if she’s next and becomes convinced that she is.

My Review

This book was fast-paced and fun to read. It kept my attention and I wanted to keep reading to see how the story unfolded.

My biggest criticism of the book is that, without giving away the ending, it still felt like the book was implying that if you’re above a certain size and weight, you have no worth. This is evidenced by the “good” fat girls taking up some form of exercise and getting “strong” while the ones who are already comfortable in their own skin are portrayed in a negative light. There’s still a bias, despite the author and book’s best efforts. With basically one exception, all the fat characters are flat. Hating diet culture is their only personality trait.

I was also left a little bit baffled by a twist at the end that brings the two main characters together. It seemed to come out of nowhere, but I couldn’t figure out why.

Still, despite the book’s flaws, I did enjoy it and I’m glad I read it. I would still recommend it because the personal context that I brought to it isn’t going to be what everyone brings to it, and it was fun to read. This is Lori Brand’s debut book and I hope she has more in the future! | Amazon | Goodreads

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