Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: The Pretty One - Cheryl Klam

The Pretty One
Cheryl Klam
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Bland
On Goodreads

Hello hello! Today, because of my shocking lack of ability to get to a new book (lets blame finals shall we), I have decided to review a book I read a little while ago.

The Pretty One centers around a girl named Megan, who is chubby and lives in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Lucy, who is the darling of the school. Sounds alright so far right?

So then Megan (after hearing Lucy criticize her looks) runs into the street and gets run over by a car. LOL, what. Then, miraculously, after a year, she comes back to school after lots of facial reconstruction surgery and forced weight loss, she's prettier than her older sister!! (Isn't beauty a subjective thing, rather than objective?) Here is one of my major annoyances with the story. It treats beauty like it is one, definitively objective thing -- this just serves to ruin self esteem for people everywhere, not only young, chubby, Megan-aged women such as myself. I take this moment to remind anyone who is reading this that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and that Megan's chubbiness did not make her ugly just in the same way that her new found weight loss did not make her beautiful.

Although it is almost impossible to get over that wtf body shaming aspect of this book, there is the flaw of the main characters. Megan is positively annoying. She spends time wondering if it's alright to say "hi" back to someone who says hello to her. She ponders the blueness of blue eyes. She wonders if boys are just all turning their heads and falling for this newfound, surgery given beauty or whether they have loved her personality from the very start. It's almost impossible to like this character. I find characters with low self esteem to be interesting and often insightful, but Megan was worse than a low self esteem, as her entire personality was consumed by her doubtful demeanor and complete lack of understanding of beauty.

Klam also kept bringing up Lucy, as though her little sister now being "wow so much prettier than she is" (it's not a real quote from the book but it might as well be), trying to make us sympathize with her. If anything, wasn't she complaining about her ugly duckling sister that got her into the accident which made her so beautiful in the first place? Also, doctors don't even change the look of your face in those type of accidents so I'm not totally sure what kind of random metamorphosis Klam tried to explain.

The beginning of the novel had so many wtf moments and poor writing that I could not deal. While the ending was written much better than the first half, the story ended much too quickly and tried to hit like 18 birds with one stone in just that one concluding scene. The ending is weird and seemed to be thrown hastily together, neither of which are cool by me.

Another note. Beauty never makes someone popular as it did for Megan in this book -- neither does it bless them with acting ability or the ability to draw in like tons of different love interests all in the span of a few weeks. This book places too much emphasis on one set, restricted definition of beauty, and all in all, it made me dislike the book even more than I already did. The rating given is for the writing and plot of the story, but if my thoughts on beauty and perception were to be accounted for, this book would probably rank as a 0.5-1. Would not recommend.

- Amrutha

How do you feel about objectively defining beauty in novels?
Let us know in the comments!

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