March 12, 2013

Latest Read: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Here are the basics ...
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication date: March 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Inc. / Point
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Netgalley (Thank you!)

Summary: Everybody loves Lexi but she's never been one of those girls 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 makeup). Lexi's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom and 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. (Adapted goodreads.com
My thoughts…
The good: This is my third Elizabeth Eulberg book so I had a vague idea of what I was getting into. Funny (check!), heartwarming (check!) and a great female protagonist that's easy to like (triple check!). But I felt a whole other set of emotions while reading Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality too. I also felt a little horrified, frustrated and outraged. Which depending on your point-of-view could be a good thing or a bad thing. But I think the feelings I experienced is a testament to the picture the author paints for us. It is disturbingly (thanks Estelle for putting that word in my head!) real and sad. When we're introduced to Lexi, we learn that her life revolves around her little beauty queen sister Mackenzie and their beauty pageant loving stage mom. Mackenzie and their mom constantly think about the next pageant, costumes, fake teeth (God forbid, there's a gap in her smile), make-up, big hair and spending money their family doesn't have. Lexi is pretty much just along for the ride as their errand girl and while this isn't something she's happy about, her mom doesn't give her a choice. Through Lexi's eyes, we witness the craziness these little girls go through and I'm not sure I understand what they expect to get from these experiences. Lexi disapproves just as much as I do.

For me, the heart of the story was Lexi's character and her two best friends Cam and Benny. Who I couldn't stop picturing as:

Movie: Mean Girls / Source: movpins

Lexi was a funny, relatable protagonist and she goes through a lot of growing pains that I think most girls can relate to. She worries about being awkward and lamenting the fact that she's never been on a date. She wonders if she'll always be "the friend" when it comes to guys. I totally got her. She handles her angst mostly with humor and by hanging out with her best friends. I loved their little trio! It made me think of my own best friends. They're happy for each other and genuinely encouraging. But at the same time, they're not afraid to tell each other the hard truths. There's also romance in the book, which I expected because well, Lexi wants a boyfriend! I liked the way it was handled but I didn't feel too invested in her romantic relationships. I mean, they were cute but I think the overall message had to do with self-acceptance.

(Some) reservations: Another major part of the story was Lexi's home life. She's got an absentee father  in addition to the crazy mother and bratty sister (who I tried to like but couldn't until the last 10 pages of the book). I have to say her mother completely pissed me off. She's (mostly) the one who gave me the horrified and outraged feelings I mentioned earlier. So much happens between her and Lexi and it never gets resolved. As much as her mom's actions angered me, I wanted to understand where all her animosity towards Lexi came from. It's had a profound affect on Lexi, which is hinted at throughout the book, but it never gets resolved. It's barely even addressed at the end. Their relationship doesn't evolve at all and it was very disappointing.

Do I recommend?: I enjoy Elizabeth Eulberg's books a lot so if you haven't read any, you should check them out. But I would start with The Lonely Hearts Club. It's definitely still my favorite.

Happy reading!

6 comments:

  1. The Lonely Hearts Club is also my favorite Elizabeth Eulberg book, but I'm pretty curious about this one. I'm looking forward to checking it out for myself soon, though I'm kind of nervous about the whole unresolved mother-daughter issues thing.

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    1. Yeah, the book really did start off strong but the unresolved issues were difficult to look past.

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  2. I def wanna check this one out and Estelle did mention that Lonely Hearts Club is a fav of her so I'll have to grab that one too, lol. I do love a good book that's funny and has a decent female lead. Great review!

    Vivian
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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    1. Thanks! You MUST pick up The Lonely Hearts Club. It's a great book!

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  3. I haven't read any books by this author! I will definitely start with The Lonely Hearts Club before moving on to this one, they both sound fun! Great review :)

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    1. Thanks! You definitely should, I hope you enjoy it :)

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