Friday, September 19, 2008

Pretty Face

Title: Pretty Face
Author: Mary Hogan
Pages: 213
HarperTeen, 2008
Genre: Chick lit/Contemporary fiction
Recommended for: Girls, 14 and over
Grade: A

Hayley is a self-conscious "fat girl" who lives in Santa Monica, California-that's right: Land of the Bikinis, aka an overweight girl's worst nightmare. Life isn't exactly easy for Hayley, what with her pushy, thin mother; the overwhelming need to eat practically every second of the day; a crush who likes Hayley's popular best friend more than he actually likes Hayley; and a lousy reputation of being "the funny girl with the pretty face" and nothing more.
   So when her parents offer to send her to her mom's college friend's home in Assisi, Italy, for the summer and to absorb a different culture, Hayley jumps at the opportunity to leave all her problems behind in LA, and, in Italy, become a new, thinner, person that she's proud to be. Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult, what with all the pasta, pizza, and gelato that seems to haunt her the second her airplane lands in Rome...
   Then Hayley discovers what Italian culture is all about and meets an Italian boy who likes her for who she is, "Harley-sized butt" and all...The summer might just be looking up...
   I loved Mary Hogan's sparkling novel about the importance of being yourself. From beautifuldescriptions of Assisi's gorgeous landscape (I could almost picture the Italian countryside in my head) to the well-developed and realistic characters, Mary's YA novel is a grand-slam for girls 14 and over (because of mature content). Readers will clearly be able to sense Hayley's can-do attitude and the changes that she goes through while in bella Italia, and will find themselves rooting for her the whole way through. Hayley has a witty, funny sense of humor, which readers will find realistic and will enjoy hopefully as much as I did. Filled with first love, summer fun, new experiences, and a hearty dose of Italian la dolce vita, Pretty Face receives a hearty two thumbs up from Bookworm Readers.

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