Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Gorgeous  by Paul Rudnick

If Doctor Faust and Eliza Doolittle (portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady") wrote a book together, that book might be the first half of Gorgeous.

Sorting through stuff left behind after the death of her beloved, morbidly obese mother, Becky Randle discovers a phone number concealed within a jewelry box.  Calling the number sets off a whirl of events, leading Becky to the hidden enclave of a mysterious-yet-ubiquitous clothing designer.  Tom Kelly proposes to create three dresses for Becky that will transform her into Rebecca, the most beautiful woman in the world.  The catch?  Becky must fall in love and marry within a year.

Somewhere along the way, the story gets a bit muddled, but the strong, sarcastic voices of Becky, her best friend Rocher, and charming Prince Gregory of England rescue the book from the round file.  This book is full of snarky commentary about money, beauty, talent, fame, social class, and social responsibility, wrapped in an over-the-top, unconventional narrative.  

Lots of cussing, lots of glamour, and some sexual situations on page, including the "outing" of a teen heart-throb.  

Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult--those who enjoyed Beauty Queens (Bray, 2011) will love this.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Testing

The Testing  by Joelle Charbonneau
In this futuristic dystopia, the environment has been trashed by careless humans, and only by careful husbandry are people able to survive now.  16-year-old Cia has been chosen for the Testing: if she passes, she will be one of the very few students allowed to attend the University to become world leaders and scientists.  Cia's father is a University graduate, but his memory has been wiped out; the only advice he can offer Cia is to trust no one.

Cia quickly realizes that her father was right to warn her.  But she will need more than caution to survive the Testing. 

This fast-moving story of betrayal and survival will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games.  First in a series.

On-page violence, some kissing. No cussing, no sex.  Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.