Monday, May 21, 2012
Beauty by Lisa Daily
What's it like to be the most beautiful girl in the world?
Molly desperately wants to be beautiful. And that's what she tells Dharma, the mysterious portrait artist who sketches her face at the town fair just minutes after she's humiliated in front of Hudson, the guy of her dreams. When Molly wakes up the following morning, she's the most beautiful girl in Miracle, Ohio. Babies coo in her arms, her house fills with flowers from dozens of drooling boys, and she's chosen to be a model for the hottest store in town. Best of all, Hudson finally falls for her.
But Molly soon discovers that beauty--and her wish--comes with a price. She's faced with an impossible choice: Will reclaiming her true identity mean letting go of Hudson for good?
There are a few things that will make me read a book without question. Among others: if it's written by David Levithan, if it features cupcakes, or if it has a abnormal carnival/circus. Beauty has a magical fair, so clearly I was intrigued. As with most things, it could have used more carnival, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Happily, and unlike many other novels I've read, Beauty begins its action straight away. It only takes a few chapters for Molly to transform, and even better than that is that she doesn't spend too much time dwelling on the source of her transformation. She and her friends definitely wonder what's up, and the topic comes up every so often as a source of conflict between the group, but she doesn't waste pages and pages trying to determine where her beauty came from. Because of this, she's able to jump straight in to her new life as "the most beautiful girl in town." It's an often repetitive adventure because there's only so much she can do with this new role before it gets too far-fetched, but it's a compelling journey too. It's interesting to see the different ways people treat her, because most everyone has a different reaction-- her friends Kemper and Hayley hate and love the attention, her brother stops making fun of her, and, expectantly, the popular people begin to take an interest in her. None of the reactions are surprising, but because they stay issues and cause such a dramatic change in Molly's personality, they maintained my interest.
However, despite the change they brought in Molly, I didn't see quite as much character development with the others. Most every other character fills a role they just don't really go beyond -- Hayley, the friend who wants to be popular even before Molly becomes beautiful; Kemper, the activist friend who wants nothing to do with popularity; Hudson, the popular boy who wouldn't give Molly the time of day before; etc, etc. Even though most everyone's roles are expected, at least everyone does genuinely bring tension and conflict to Molly's life. And, although it sometimes takes an infuriatingly long while, she does learn and change from their influence.
There's plenty of cliches, but Beauty's heroine and consistently emotional and exciting plot make it worth a read.
Book details: Razorbill/Paperback/$9.99
Source: sent by publisher for review