Monday, February 18, 2013

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality

Why did I want to read Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg? The title was a huge motivating factor. Then I found out beauty pageants were involved too and couldn't resit. It's a good book, though not entirely what I expected it to be and I was a little disappointed as a result.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).
Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.
The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.

Lexi is enslaved to her mother's obsession with making Mackenzie the next great pageant queen. Lexi sews for the pageants and works at a store in the mall so that she can have money to pay for her own food and the summer program she desperately wants to attend. All of the family's money goes to the pageants and  there is  never enough of it. Lexi's is tired of it all, but feels there is nothing  she can do. Her startling transformation from average to gorgeous begins as a dare from her best friend Benny. If she puts on make-up, he will talk to the boy he likes. It escalates from there until Lexi is causing mouths to drop and both she and Benny have boyfriends. Only the boyfriend Lexi has isn't the one she truly wanted. I really liked how Eulberg used Lexi's transformation to connect high school and the pageant world. Lexi is a character you will sympathize with and want to protect even as you want to occasionally smack her upside the head. Mostly you will want to cheer her on though. She has a couple of truly cheer worthy moments in the book for sure. For a girl who has it pretty rough she is remarkably level headed and proactive. I admire this about her. She has two best friends, Benny and Cam, who are wonderful and supportive. I liked how there was no big friend drama in this book. The friendship between the three of them is strong and I enjoyed seeing how they worked through their issues. The boy drama I could have done without as much of. I feel like a smart girl like Lexi could have kept that situation from becoming what it did. The target audience will probably not mind though and relate.

I expected this book to be more humorous and lighter in tone than it was. It can't be though because Lexi's family has some serious issues. Her mother is a monster. And I'm not exaggerating. She has the potential to not be one but she has some serious issues and therapy is clearly very much needed. Her father's absence from the scene doesn't make him much better. The end of the novel is more than a little unresolved, but there is no way you could tie this story in to a neat package without undermining everything that happened and so I like this about it. I like that Lexi's future is open to the imagination. Things are resolved enough, just not all the way. 

The book is more serious than its title and cover may lead a person to believe. It is a good read and one that will be thoroughly enjoyed by many-so long as they know what sort of story they're getting.

I read an e-galley of this received from the publisher via NetGalley. It will be available for purchase on March 1, 2013.

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