For this review and more, visit Such A Novel Idea
Not Pretty Enough has a lot of things going for it. It is quirky, fun, HILARIOUS, and (eventually) has a good message. It reminded me of Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging. The book begins at January term, where Chessie decides she is going to get the attention of the boy she likes -- even if she has to make a perfect fool of herself in the meantime.
And thus begins a year of ups and downs, laughs and tears, and Chessie learning about who she is and who defines her self worth.
A few things:
1. Books like this one make me feel my age. As much as I like to protest (in my head) that I'm still young and hip, turning 30 is right around the corner. The way you know you are turning 30 is when you identify with the parents on Good Luck Charlie. However, younger YA readers will love (and relate to) this story.
2. Although I never got a crush as serious as Chessie's, I suffer from extreme clumsiness and an overall sense of awkwardness. I swear reading this book made me notice that much more how much of a klutz I really am. I feel your pain Chessie. And while it doesn't go away as you get older, you do find people who love you because of it!
3. Jaimie Admans -- you're writing is so natural. I felt like I was reading a diary of a 14 year old girl. You put me in her head and made me remember, just for a little while, what life was like at that age. And man, I don't miss it one bit! I can also see how much of your heart you poured into this book.
Chessie makes a lot of DUMB decisions all for the sake of like. At times I found myself shaking my head, screaming NOOOOO Internally, and even cringing at the things she said/thought/did. Then I had to remember her age. And how every kid that age does stupid things. And thinks stupid things. It made me remember the stupid things I thought/said/did at that age. WHAT was I thinking!?! Luckily, Chessie's best friends are the voice of reason for Chessie -- and unluckily she doesn't heed there advice too often. Which basically means hilariousness will ensue.
And it was hilarious. I found myself smiling and laughing for most of this book. It's like watching a Ben Stiller movie -- you are going to cringe at the awkward, but you'll laugh all the way through.
The book takes place in Wales, so be prepared for some new vernacular. Once you get the word exchange down, you'll flow right along with the story. Sometimes I have issues with reading British writing because of how different it is. However, with a bit of practice and the help of Google, you'll get the hang of it quickly.
There are a few critiques I have. Mostly, it seems as if there are SO many crazy things happening to Chessie -- and that starts to make the reader feel bogged down. The events start to become repetitive -- which damages the comedic effect the author is going for. My second issue is there are a few things that happen that were quite serious -- and they never seem to really be addressed outside of Chessie's mom. I don't think it would happen this way in reality. However, the book ends on a high point and with a great message for kids. Yeah, we all mess up and do stupid things. That won't change no matter how old you are, but hopefully they will be few and far between as we grow up.