I would probably never picked this book up on my own, but my husband works with the author’s husband who recommended it to me. I was glad he did because I really enjoyed it, and like I said, would probably have never found it otherwise.
The story is about Beauty, an extremely shy and self conscious junior high aged girl who is raised by her very young mother and her grandmother. Beauty’s mom and grandma have tried to teach her that “pretty is as pretty does,” so when a new girl with a strange disease shows up at school, Beauty’s character is tested. The story is about a girl learning to balance fitting in with doing the right things and being a good person.
I really liked this story because it described the spectrum of a teenager’s, or any person’s, feelings of simultaneously trying to fit in but also trying to establish her own identity. As I read about Beauty betraying her new friend to try to fit in with the other kids, I thought of how sometimes even adults betray who they really are to fit in with others. I know I sometimes go along with the crowd to avoid being thought crazy or weird – we all do it in small ways.
I took from this book the same message I took from Stargirl, by Jerri Spinelli, that it’s okay to be different and that pretty really is what pretty does. What a person does is what matters most.
I think all young teenage girls would get something positive and memorable out of this book, so share it with your daughter!