Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review: REVENGE OF THE GIRL WITH THE GREAT PERSONALITY by Elizabeth Eulberg

Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it.
I usually reserve mid-week reviews for novellas and the like, but I decided to slip in Revenge because, well, I just don't have a lot to say.

The book opens with Lexi, Ms. Great Personality herself, applying butt glue to her seven-year-old sister to keep her bikini from riding up. Yep, you read that correctly. Lexi's sister Mackenzie is a beauty pageant contestant, which means bikini (and accompanying butt glue), fake hair, fake eyelashes, makeup, the whole shebang. On the other side of the equation is Lexi, a low-key, "natural" type of girl. She's not the pretty one; she's the girl with "the great personality."

But when her friend Benny dares her to jazz herself up a bit, Lexi takes the bait. After all, why not? In her current sweatpants state, no one pays attention to her. The popular kids ignore her and her mother uses her as Mackenzie's live-in servant.

The typical reactions follow. The popular kids take notice. The boys start to flirt. Lexi becomes more confident. Her friends become jealous. Upheaval hits, and Lexi learns A Valuable Lesson.

Yes, there was more to the book than that very simplistic outline, but not much. The first half of the book is oddly vacant, and while the second half had a little more angst, I found it hard to care. To put it plainly, this book bored me.

If anything, it reminded me of a snoozy made-for-TV Disney movie. (I was getting some interesting Quints vibes in the latter half.) There's the average girl trapped in her average world, the parents who just don't understand!, the bratty younger sibling, the supportive yet uninteresting best friends (one could be popular but chooses not to be, and one is gay), the dreamy guy in a relationship with the wrong girl, the witchy Popular Girl, the Important Moral Lessons, etc. Lexi even gets to tell off the mean girl AND make a very showy speech preaching against Deep Wrongs.

By the way, those last two instances work better in movies for some reason. In books, I shake my head and marvel.

No, David, it isn't.
This was supposed to be a realistic contemporary novel, but Lexi's two big moments were so unrealistic!

I didn't believe what was going on and I really didn't care. I didn't care about any of the characters. I didn't care what happened to any of them. Everything felt too condensed and glossed over. The only moment that I felt a smidgen of curiosity is the scene where Lexi confronts her mother at work.

Sigh. This wasn't a bad book. I've read bad books. But it wasn't a book that made me care. I'm hoping one of you will read this book and adore it, but I just can't.

Points Added For: An awesome title, the seeds of a good idea, an ending that isn't completely predictable, the scene where Lexi confronts her mother at work.

Points Subtracted For: Being predictable, flat characters, not being what I expected.

Good For Fans Of: Contemporaries, Toddlers & Tiaras, makeovers.

Notes For Parents: Light language, kissing, homosexuality, tense family moments.

Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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