Parents' Guide to

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Exploration of beauty and pageants delivers mixed message.

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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.

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