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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

REVIEW: Gorgeous, by Paul Rudnick

Inner beauty wants out.   When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.   

Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.   

Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world. 

Who wouldn't want to live a fairy tale? Especially after living in a run-down trailer and with the mother who is, unfortunately, the object of the town's pity? Becky's life doesn't appear to be changing for the better (or the worse, thankfully) when her mother dies. She's still functioning paycheck to paycheck, though that might be changing.

Enter Tom Kelly....the world's most famous famous person, who has been in seclusion for 20 years while his name as THE foremost designer lives on. Tom can change Becky's life, if she'll let him and agrees to do whatever he says. So....why not? From here, she's on the fast track to fame and a dream life. But is it what she wants? 

Becky's a wonderful character--mature, but still uncertain. Shy, but learning (as Rebecca) to be confident and take hold of what she wants. Most importantly, she learns that being "the most beautiful girl in the world" isn't enough, and Becky is MORE than enough and much better.

Rudnick tells a modern-day fairy tale with skill, combining the "magic" with just a touch of the unbelievable perfectly. His characters are so well-crafted I walked way feeling as though I "knew" them personally. The Prince is the down-to-earth guy who happens to be Royal that you want him to be. Rocher (Becky's best friend) is what you expect of the small country town bumpkin, with the heart of gold, and a fierce loyalty to her friend--and sass like you wouldn't believe.

All in all, it's a modern-day, yet timeless, fairy tale that many will love.

**Note, there is some rather heavy language--4, 5, and even 12 letter words (largley from Rocher)--and some rather pointed sexual language (that's being polite--it's quite clear what's being said). I wouldn't pair this up with junior high or even my 9th or 10th graders. Older teens, would be the better bet.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Scholastic Inc. through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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