Monday, January 12, 2009

The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam

Once upon a time in Highschoollandia there lived a princess and a pauper. Lucy, the everlasting beauty, reigned and thrived and was loved, whereas her sister Megan, the everlasting reject, collected scraps Lucy charitably provided her. The sisters never spoke of the reality of things, but they did get along beautifully in the confines of their own home. Megan thought she could count on Lucy—until she heard Lucy badmouthing her in the school bathroom. She ran, and ran and ran, and in her hurry and carelessness, she got hit by a car. The damage was so severe she needed plastic surgery to reconstruct her face. And the last thing anyone expected as a result of that surgery was for Megan to come out looking miles prettier than Lucy…

I bought this one on premise because, really, how great does that sound? It’s turning an old plot on its head and exploring themes you hear about every day—self-esteem and body-image—in an original way. What’s not to love?

God, so much. I think at some point I had a ten-point list of things I would’ve done to fix this but alas, that’s long-since been lost. (I had better things to do.) Off the top of my head, I can think of two:

The protagonist, Megan, is bordering on too stupid to live. I suppose this is a prime example of showing, not telling, the effects of long-term insecurity: She is completely awkward. Every step she takes, she second guesses herself, as if her entire life had been spent treading on eggshells. I’ll go on a limb here and say this is probably intended because Megan seems like she is supposed to be that tongue-tied sort of girl. But the entire novel drowns under its own saturation of blushing cheeks, sweaty hands, and character/reader hand-holding. At one point someone calls her pretty, a fact she knows is true, and she spends a paragraph debating with herself whether she should thank him or if that’d be too presumptuous.

Look, I don’t mind self-conscious narrators, so much because confidence is the last thing that could be attributed to me, but cut the crap and get to the goddamn point already. It’s not that hard. The entire thing is not unlike Bella’s constant reminders of how dazzling Edward is.

*shudder*

And then there’s the theme of beauty. The world, instead of possessing a moral black and white divide, has only pretty vs ugly. I think it went just a tad too far with it. Like, everything was just a bit too motivated with the quality of someone’s looks that the actual substance beyond someone’s superficial features was overlooked. The novel is about pretty vs ugly, granted, but aren’t those tales supposed to be about the character looking beyond that? Maybe it’s just me.

So, yeah, the negatives far outweigh the positives. I just wish it weren’t nonrefundable. Damn living overseas. D. :(

Delacorte | 356 pages | April 8th, 2008 | Author Site | GoodReads | Amazon

19 comments:

girljordyn said...

Thankyou for this review!!! I've been debating whether to get this book for MONTHS and now I know not too. I'll spend my money on something better.

Amee said...

I'm soo glad I waited and let you read this one before I bought it myself. :P

Bookworm said...

The summary makes it sound really good, but I'm sorry it wasn't. ):

Diana Dang said...

Lol, sounds like a book I wouldn't even bother picking up in the first place. Characters like that annoys me so much. Usually I would put the book down if I start to see them getting on my nerves but now it's my goal to complete every book I pick up.

inkspatters said...

The summary sounded great, but obviously it disappointed. Ugh, Bella's constant references to how dazzling Edward is. Sigh, this one can't have been that bad, can it?

Reader Rabbit said...

Thanks for the warning. ;) I'll keep this on my NOT TBR list

Great review :)

Anonymous said...

This review makes the book sound amazing....
it not.

Anonymous said...

I kind of liked it.This is coming from a 13 year old girl.I actually want to read more books from this author.I have to admit,i really did NOT like the ending.
-Sam

Anonymous said...

this book was awesome but i hated the way lucy and megan acted at time, they like got on my flipping nerves so badly sometimes i just wanted to throw the book out the window.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a great book! I really liked it. I thought it had a great plot!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to disagree infact I loved this book, although I'm not really sure why but I really understood the characters. Even though I didn't really like Megan. Overall I thought it was a great story, I couldn't put the book down.

Anonymous said...

I just bought this book, before I started reading I just wanted to see what other people thought about it. I saw that alot of people hated it, loved it, & some didn't even bother getting it after your review. I really hope I didn't waste my money on this book...I'll find out soon enough.

Anonymous said...

i liked the book, but the ending was disappointing

Anonymous said...

I commented before, & I am done reading the book. I really did enjoy the book but the ending was disappointing. Overall though it was very good & I didn't waste my money on this book.

Anonymous said...

Im reading the book now, I sorta like but I agree that Megan can get a little annoying.

Anonymous said...

This review is by far the best review I've seen on this book. I read the book and it is good especially when you can connect to the book.

Anonymous said...

Omg, I was dumbfounded of how good this book was. And the review you made was very feel writen.

Anonymous said...

I loved this book soo much! I love how i can relate to it in so many ways. I would definitly recommend this book and read it again. The love story is soo sweet and I think that the message it is trying to get across is great.

Anonymous said...

the pretty one is an awesome book. I dont know how Megan can get on ya'll nerves. It's sad but kinda preffered the ending with them kissing or something that can be worth getting surgery on your face. but i lovedd it . I finished it in two days.

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