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Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality



Exploration of beauty and pageants delivers mixed message.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers will learn about the pageant world subculture and how much time, effort, and money is required for girls as young as infants to compete in the pageants. Lexi also describes the difference between "glitz" makeup and hair and the more natural look that's appropriate for school.

Positive messages

There are great messages about accepting people as they are, regardless of their size, social status, or sexual orientation, and the need for an honest and open relationship between parents and kids. However, the message about beauty in this book is somewhat confusing. On one hand the story makes it clear that people should like each other for who they are and not what they look like, but there's no denying that Lexi likes herself better when she starts using makeup and wearing stylish clothes. The book also promotes the idea that there's a perceived divide between beauty and personality, and that girls can be considered either pretty or having good personalities but rarely both.

Positive role models

Lexi is a devoted best friend, big sister, and daughter, even though she doesn't want to spend so much of her time on her little sister's pageants. Lexi's best friends Benny and Cam want her to see herself as they see her and to stop considering herself the "ugly" sister. Taylor isn't the shallow guy people assumed he was, proving that even "hot jocks" aren't always as superficial as they might seem.


Lexi's mother slaps her once and leaves a red mark.


Lexi, who has never been kissed, daydreams about what it would be like to share her first kiss and "make out" with Logan. She eventually has her first kiss, and a few more kisses are described (including those she witnesses). Lexi's father reveals he's living with his girlfriend.


No swearing, but insults like "stupid," "jerk," and "bratty." A mean girl insults people for being "huge," "fat," "plus sized," and "slutty."


The only overt reference is that a "hot" football player is named Taylor Riggins, apparently in tribute to the hunky Fright Night Lights character Tim Riggins, played by Taylor Kitsch.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

At a couple of parties, it's clear some underage students (although never the main character) are drinking. One guy gets so drunk that he throws up.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is a contemporary young adult novel that is appropriate for older tween girls, because there's no graphic language or sexuality. The main character does think about her first kiss and even making out, but the actual kissing scenes described are tame enough for tweens to handle. The protagonist and her mother have a poor relationship, and it's clear the mother favors her younger daughter, a 7-year-old beauty pageant contestant. A major character's name is an obvious reference to Taylor Kitsch's Friday Night Lights character.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Lexi is the kind of 16-year-old girl who is known for her great personality: She's funny and clever, and has two fabulous best friends. As for beautiful, that label is reserved for her spoiled 7-year-old sister, Mackenzie, who competes in beauty pageants all around Texas nearly every weekend. She has a secret crush on Logan, the boyfriend of a teen pageant princess. Lexi's never been kissed, and is not the kind of girl who attracts male attention. After her best friend Benny, who's gay, dares her to wear makeup and form-fitting clothes for a week, Lexi discovers she can be that girl. But beauty comes with a price, and REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY shows how Lexi's identity and her relationships, especially with her sister and pageant-addicted mother, changes -- and not necessarily for the better.

Is it any good?


Eulberg's novels, like Prom and Prejudice and The Lonely Hearts Club, tend to feature girls who are pretty clueless about guys in one way or another, and Revenge is more of the same. Lexi is sweet and smart, but because she doesn't attempt to wear makeup or curl her hair, she's largely unnoticed in the sea of Texas cheerleaders and pageant girls. But once she has her makeover and -- voila! -- becomes "hot" in the eyes of her male classmates, all of a sudden Lexi feels better about herself, lands a gorgeous boyfriend, but is still unsure of whether she "deserves" the attention, since it's based on her looks and not her personality.

The first half of this novel is great. Lexi's life is fascinating -- a supersized divorced mother whose only outlet is her 7-year-old daughter's pageants; a baby sister who gets all the attention; best friends who can't wait to escape to New York City with her; and she's genuinely likable. But once she's prettified, things take an angsty turn both between Lexi and her family and in terms of her own self-esteem. Instead of enjoying her attentive new boyfriend (FNL-named Taylor Riggins), Lexi continues to obsess over the unavailable Logan and second guess everyone's motives toward her. Although this is a safe read for even young YA readers, the messages about beauty, family friendship should be discussed long after the book ends.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the premise that girls can either be beautiful or have a great personality, or that high school is like one big beauty pageant. Do you think these assumptions are true?

  • Why is the world of beauty pageants so fascinating? Does the book take a particular stance on pageants? Do you think the Mackenzie subplot was influenced by the popularity of Toddlers and Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

  • How is the relationship between Lexi and her mother portrayed? What do you think Lexi should have done after her mother betrays her trust?

Book details

Author:Elizabeth Eulberg
Genre:Coming of Age
Topics:Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:March 1, 2013
Number of pages:272
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Kid, 11 years old October 1, 2013

be the best

You parent should care what your kids do because you have girls and boys out ere not doing postive
What other families should know
Great role models


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