Author: Siobhan Vivian
Summary: (goodreads) An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.
It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.
This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.
Review: Writing and reading about eight different characters can be a great way to express a bigger idea, or it could fail to connect the reader with the overall story. In this case, it was half and half. As a whole, the novel was great. The different faces of high school jogged my own recent memories of the setting and the voices of each of the girls was authentic. The story flow was almost impeccable and the plot did not feel like a prop for the writing. I enjoyed reading about each girl’s experience after appearing on the list, because each of them led a unique train of thought.
But some girls’ stories were more interesting than others. I couldn’t understand Candace as much as I wanted to, because she was underdeveloped and a bit dull. I didn’t see the growth as a person as well as I thought I should have. On the other hand, Stephanie’s story was so exciting and riveting that I wish an entire novel had been written about her and Milo. I absolutely loved it.
As for the others, Lauren was perplexing. There was a lot of grey area with this nice girl that I didn’t feel satisfied with the end of her story. Abby was a fantastic character. Her sisterly relationship with Fern pulled at my heartstrings more than once and I admit to tearing up. Danielle? Reminds me of some of the athletic girls I knew in high school. Yes, you can be beautiful and strong at the same time! I think there is a self-esteem issue here that was wonderfully addressed. Jennifer was quite the character. She was probably the most grey area character in the entire novel and the most believable. Margo and Brittany both had more going on under the surface than expected.
The standards of beauty are pitted against smarts, physical strength, talents, disorders, feelings, dialogue, actions and every other thing that makes each of us a human.
Rating: 1 2 3 4 5