Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality
Published By: Point
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Page Count: 272
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I love Elizabeth Eulberg's novels and they are my go-to reads when I'm looking for a light hearted story. In the past, I have gobbled her stories up quickly and Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality (Revenge as it shall be referred to for the remainder of the review) was no exception. I was shocked that this one was not as light hearted as I was expecting; Lexi's life is complicated and layered. She has a lot more going on than some of the leading ladies from previous Eulberg novels. While I was shocked that this story had a different feel to it, I still loved the story and characters. Eulberg's trademark humor also helps lighten the mood from time to time.

Lexi is an average teen girl. She worries about running the high school gauntlet and struggles to find her niche within her family. Lexi's parents have some serious issues. After the divorce when Lexi was younger, her Dad moves hours away and throws himself into his career. He doesn't see Lexi or her younger sister, Mackenzie, very often. In many ways, he is a perfect example of an absentee parent. There are moments when he steps up, but they are few and far between. To make matters worse, Lexi's mom is a mess. She spends every dime that comes into her possession on Mackenzie's beauty pageants. I had a difficult time finding any redeemable qualities about Lexi's mom.

The world of beauty pageants takes center stage in this story. Lexi is constantly being dragged to watch her younger sister perform, recruited to create costumes for Mackenzie, and generally having to give up her social life to follow her family around the pageantry circuit. Some of the moments could have been lifted directly from Toddlers and Tiaras. This is certainly an odd world for me and one I never want to experience first hand. I appreciated that Eulberg focused on both the positive and negative aspects of pageants to paint a complete picture.

I really felt for Lexi as I was reading her story. She has some serious confidence issues after her own mother had made comments about how her sister is the beautiful one. On a dare from her best friend, Lexi starts wearing makeup, styling her hair, and making sure her wardrobe meets the cute standards of high school hallways. She finds that her makeover allows her entry into the world of the popular crowd, but can she truly trust people who never noticed her before she glammed up? Revenge is a story  about paying attention to what's really important in life.

I enjoyed watching Lexi grow and go through the stages of self acceptance. By the end of this one, she is a different girl than the one the reader meets in chapter one. Lexi learns that her sense of self worth is only reliant on how she feels about herself.

All in all, this was a fast read laced with thought provoking commentary on the nature of physical appearance. It was also nice to see Eulberg focus on some tough issues. I liked seeing her write a character that had some difficult moments to conquer; Lexi isn't perfect and she makes numerous mistakes, but in the end, she's still a girl I could easily befriend.

One Last Gripe: I was frustrated with the whole situation with Taylor. I felt like he got a raw deal.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Lexi learns some pretty tough lessons, but it helped to remind me of what's really important in life.

First Sentence: Applying butt glue to my sister's backside is, without question, not the first way I'd choose to spend a weekend.

Favorite Character: Lexi

Least Favorite Character: Lexi's Mom

A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom. 

 Don't mess with a girl with a great personality! 

 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.

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