An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.
happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is
chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody
knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done
the minute it goes up.
This is the story of eight girls, freshman
to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see
ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of
This book is a well-written story with great characterization and a good message. Even though there were eight different 3rd person POVs, I had no trouble keeping track of the eight main girls and their stories.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
The ugliest freshman is Danielle, nicknamed Dan the Man by the list. She is a swimmer, and very muscular. She is dating a boy she met at summer camp named Andrew. Andrew is a sophomore varsity football player. His relationship with Danielle gets broken because of the list. His friends tease him about dating Dan the Man, and he eventually ends the relationship.
The prettiest freshman is Abby. She cares about her looks and popularity. She is pretty much the opposite of her older sister, Fern, who only cares about school. Abby is nowhere near as smart as Fern. Abby's best friend, Lisa, is proud that both Abby and Lisa's older sister made it onto the list. During her story, Abby discovers something about Fern and the list from the year before.
The ugliest sophomore is Candace. Candace is actually very pretty, but she is ugly on the inside. Many of her friends stop being friends with her once the list is made. It makes them realize how mean she is. There are a few good scenes between Candace and the prettiest sophomore, Lauren.
The prettiest sophomore is Lauren. This is her first year at an actual school since she has been homeschooled her whole life. Getting on the list makes her suddenly become popular. Candace's friends leave Candace and become friends with her instead. Her mom is very protective of her, so she doesn't tell her mom about the list, and this leads to some problems later in her story.
The ugliest junior is Sarah. She is a rebel who smokes and dyes her hair different colors. She decides to make a statement by wearing the same clothes for a week. She also decides that she won't shower or brush her teeth for that same week. Her best friend, Milo, discourages this, but he can't stop her.
The prettiest junior is Bridget. She is Lisa's older sister. She started having an eating disorder in the summer, and she had begun to get better. Being prettiest causes her eating disorder to become worse because she feels pressure. Lisa tries to get her to eat, but she won't.
The ugliest senior is Jennifer. She has been named ugliest for all four years, and it barely affects her this year. She becomes friends with Margo's friends, and they campaign for her to be homecoming queen. An interesting discovery about her is made at the end of the book.
The prettiest senior is Margo. She was friends with Jennifer until the end of eighth grade. She has new friends, and she is upset when they start reaching out to Jennifer. In the book, she discovers something about her older sister, Maureen.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.