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Review: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

March 28, 2013

Title: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Format: eGalley

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.—via Goodreads

This is a book that has very large, loud feelings about the beauty industry, and, more specifically, about the pageant circuit, which, let’s be honest, is ridiculous. I don’t have an issue with any of that—I like opinionated books and I don’t feel particularly  friendly toward the pageant industry even though I’m a girl who was in pageants in high school. (Only two. For scholarship money. Truth.) But I think that maybe this book was a little too harsh in places. It’s criticizing the very superficial world we live in and the expectation that girls look a specific way—hair done, make-up on, dressed to impress—but also acknowledges that the main character, Lexi, who undergoes a drastic make-over, feels better about herself when she puts effort into her appearance. Which is a feeling that I think is valid. It’s okay to feel good about yourself when you put effort into it.

I think what my problem with this book is, is that it never exactly explains to what lengths Lexi is going to—if it’s just a matter of a adding mascara and a curling iron to your beauty repertoire, I don’t think that’s something to criticize. It’s when a person is trying to hide behind make-up and beauty products that you run into other issues. And maybe that is the point that the author, Elizabeth Eulberg is trying to make, but I think it sort of got muddled somewhere in this book that is, in a lot of ways, a tirade against pageants and superficiality.

But don’t get me wrong I like everything that Eulberg, is saying here. I just also think that there is a happy medium that could have been more openly acknowledged.

Something else that I feel schizophrenic about is Lexi. There was something about her that I didn’t like. Which is fine. I’m all for having characters who aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and don’t fit into a particular character stereotype or mold. But what I think is interesting is that because I didn’t really love Lexi it colored my feelings toward the book, which, when I think about it, I enjoyed. I like the message, I like that mistakes are made, and that relationships—with both peers and parents—are messy, and I like that this is more realistic than a predictable plot where everything wraps up complete with a perfectly tied bow at the end.

So what I’m saying is that there are a lot of great things happening here, but that I had a hard time with it because of Lexi. Which is just an interesting thing to ponder as a reader. I like being challenged, so this is good for me.

Anyway! You also need to know that there is a boy in this book named Taylor Riggins.  I called him Tim Riggins in my brain the entire time. Obviously. And there’s a really great mean girl take-down scene that will have you wanting to high-five everyone around you.

Overall, I think this is a smart, observant book about the role that beauty plays not only in high school, but the society we live in, that also hits on reconciling your insecurites and learning to love yourself, with and without make-up.   

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality

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