Author: Paul Rudnick
Publisher & Release Date: Scholastic, April 2013
The Hook: This poignant, satirical and uproariously funny modern-day fairytale skewers our collective obsession with beauty and celebrity.
The Lowdown: Eighteen-year-old Becky’s life is going nowhere until the day her morbidly obese mother dies in the trailer that they share. As she sorts through her mother’s things, the phantom ringing of her mother’s cellphone leads her to a card with a phone number printed on it. When she calls the number, her life is turned upside down. She is whisked away, first-class, to New York, to meet with Tom Kelly, the world’s most famous designer. Tom shows her that her mother was once stunningly beautiful, one of his muses, and because of this connection, he offers to make Becky three dresses that will transform her into the most beautiful woman in the world. She takes him up on his offer (who wouldn’t?!), and Tom and his team of sartorial magicians turn plain Becky into stunning, elusive Rebecca, a woman no one can resist. Rebecca is perfect, and everyone wants a piece of her. She poses for magazines, stars in a hit movie, and rubs elbows with the rich and famous. When she meets Prince Gregory, the heir to the British throne, she begins to see a purpose for her staggering beauty. But when the clock strikes midnight on the spell that keeps Rebecca beautiful, Becky is forced to face the truth about who and what she is.
Overall Impressions: I started laughing on page one, but the hilarity alternates with some pretty heart-wrenching sadness. I love love LOVE Becky’s voice; she’s snarky and vulnerable, scared but resilient, all things that make for a lovable heroine. This was a fun, sparkling read that had a little bit of everything: satire, fairy-tale romance, even haute couture.
The Highs: Okay, this might be a buzzkill for some, but I got such a kick out of the swearing in this book. The cursing is constant and creative. Becky’s best friend Rocher puts together some compound swears that would put a sailor to shame. Rocher herself is another high for me. She’s the perfect sidekick: supportive, down for anything, and more than a tiny bit crazy. I also loved the magic in this book. It’s unexpected, touching, and rather lovely
Buzzkills: See above re: swearing. If f-bombs bother you, you probably won’t make it past the first page.
The Source: Advance Reader Copy from publisher
Disclaimer: No chocolate or shiny things were provided by the publisher for this review.