I sort of tripped over this book while researching books to read this summer. Though I wasn’t familiar with Mr. Rudnick’s YA work, many authors and bloggers were and found him to be hilarious. What I found was something that I don’t think I’ve ever read before: an amalgam of Cinderella’s tale, the TV show The Swan, that family who is interviewed on the news after a huge tornado blows through their mobile home park, and an OK! magazine special on Princess Diana. It is at once poignant, absurd and hopeful.
Becky Randle is a fairy-tale princess. After her severely obese mother dies in their trailer, Becky finds a phone number that her mother had hidden away in an empty ring box. The phone call she makes changes average Becky into Rebecca, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. No one can tear their eyes from her; everyone wants to be her, be near her or hate her. The weird thing is that whenever Becky is alone, that’s exactly who she sees in the mirror – regular Becky. What is this magic that the world-renowned designer Tom Kelly, her supposed Fairy Godfather, has done?
For Becky, The big mystery isn’t in the how-did-he-do-this part but that Tom Kelly knew Becky’s mom…and she had been a model and his muse. But Tom won’t give up the secrets surrounding her mom so easily. At least her brutally honest and f-bomb throwing best friend from home is by her side, especially when the clock strikes twelve and all she has come to know and love could all turn back into pumpkins. ‘Cause there’s a Prince. Of course.
On the surface, this story could easily seem to be silly and far-fetched. Once you just let it take you away, it becomes so much more than a plain girl becoming beautiful. It’s about living in glass houses. It’s about the image you project to the public and the you that is real. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about feeling special, worthy and loved. As the tag line says: “Inner beauty wants out.” And this beauty is taking names.
Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick was published April 30, 2013 by Scholastic Press. I checked this one out of the library all by myself.
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult Fiction Fantasy Romance
Ages: 13 and up