A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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.
Violence & Scariness
Lexi's mother slaps her once and leaves a red mark.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
No swearing, but insults like "stupid," "jerk," and "bratty." A mean girl insults people for being "huge," "fat," "plus sized," and "slutty."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.