Parents' Guide to

Outside Beauty

By Stephanie Dunnewind, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Golddigger mom takes daughters along for the ride.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Kids say (2 ):

Shelby is an engaging narrator, wiser and more insightful than her mother. Her voice is matter-of-fact: "Sometimes I secretly wished my mother had loved my father. Other times I wished Lakey's father were my father. And still other times I didn't think about the fathers at all." The sisterly bond between the girls is reinforced by an invented code language and many handwritten letters while they're apart. Always vaguely embarrassed by her oddly dressed dad, Shelby's growing connection with her father is touching as they both tentatively try to understand each other.

Older readers will clearly see their mother's desperation, but younger readers may miss some of the subtleties as they view Shelby's mother through her eyes. Even the accident doesn't really change their mother; her lack of epiphany is sad but realistic. The conclusion ties up rather abruptly, but grown-up readers, at least, will wonder if returning the girls to their old life is really such a happy ending.

Book Details

  • Author: Cynthia Kadohata
  • Genre: Family Life
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Atheneum
  • Publication date: June 3, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 265
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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