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  • NYS Writers Institute

Crystal Maldonado, author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega


Crystal Maldonado, author of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, by Crystal Maldonado

"It's a coming-of-age story. She's fat, she's Puerto Rican, and she's never been kissed. She really enjoys reading and writing and envisioning herself as these main characters, but never actually in real life feels like she gets to have the opportunity to be a main character."

-- Crystal Maldonado


Craft Talk — 4:30 p.m., Standish Room, Science Library

Reading/Q&A — 7:30 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room, Campus Center West Addition

Both events, free and open to the public, at University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany 12222

Moderator: Alejandra Bronfman, chair, associate professor, and director of Undergraduate Studies at UAlbany's Department of Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies

In an interview with People en Espanol magazine published in March, Crystal Maldonado explains the origins of her first novel. "Basically it's her quest for all different kinds of love," says Maldonado. "She's exploring love with friends, and how you balance friendship. She wants to fall in love so badly while also figuring out how to love herself. Love is the central theme of the book."

The novel was inspired by Maldonado's true-life love story with her husband, who she met as a senior in high school, she told reporter Alma Sacasa. "Obviously a lot of it was fictionalized," she explains, but "Charlie and I have a lot of similarities. Physically we share a lot of the same traits. Her story about coming into her own, and she meets this cute boy who really likes her and they are in high school — that was inspired by me and my husband."

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, published earlier this year, is a Young Adult novel that explores the plus-size experience in weight-conscious America, and what it’s like to be the only Latina at a white Connecticut suburban high school. Publishers Weekly praised it as a “a warm and insightful coming-of-age tale.”

NBC News said, “Maldonado wants you to rethink the way you view fatness.” A finalist for the New England Book Award, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega was named a Cosmopolitan “Best New Book of Winter.”

Maldonado is the co-founder of the online website Positively Smitten. She has been published in Latina magazine, the Hartford Courant, and Dogster. The University of Connecticut graduate lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and baby daughter.

Copies of Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, will be available for purchase at both events. You may also shop for the book in advance at the local, independent Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

More Crystal Maldonado



All individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask or other face covering while inside any UAlbany owned, operated or leased building.

Unvaccinated individuals are also required to wear face coverings in all outdoor settings. This revised mask requirement will remain in place until the University removes the requirement upon the recommendations of the CDC or other public health officials. Individuals should not attend our in-person events if they — or anyone in their household — are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.


Courtesy parking for Writers Institute events on the Uptown Campus will be available in the State Quad Student Parking Lot one hour prior to and one hour after events.

Visitor parking lots are also available for $5 per vehicle, though parking spaces are very limited.

For a map of the UAlbany campuses including parking lots, visit


Coming up... 4th Annual Albany Book Festival, September 25

The fourth annual event, on Saturday, Sept. 25, at the University at Albany, will be held in-person for the first time since 2019. Events will begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. More information at


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