Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Hi all!

I'm again behind on my reading and reviewing!




Author: Paul Rudnick
Title: Gorgeous
Release date: 30th of April 2013
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Romance, Fairy Tale
Published by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 337 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

A book that will make you see yourself clearly for the first time.

When Becky Randle's mother dies, she's whisked from her trailer park home to New York. There she meets Tom Kelly, the world's top designer, who presents Becky with an impossible offer: He'll design three dresses to transform the very average Becky into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Soon Becky is remade as Rebecca - pure five-alarm hotness to the outside world and an awkward mess of cankles and split ends when she's alone. With Rebecca's remarkable beauty as her passport, soon Becky's life resembles a fairy tale. She stars in a movie, VOGUE calls, and she starts to date Prince Gregory, heir to the English throne. That's when everything crumbles. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But the idea of a prince looking past Rebecca's blinding beauty to see the real girl inside? There's not enough magic in the world.

Defiant, naughty, and impossibly fun, GORGEOUS answers a question that bewilders us all: Just who the hell IS that in the mirror?

Review:

Since Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale, then naturally, I had to pick this up, especially since it’s a modern take on it with lots of humor on the side, everything over-the-top and a dash of The Ugly Duckling.

Well, the book definitely delivered, I really had fun following Becky (and her wacky best friend Rocher) in her quest to actually BE Rebecca, trying to find a balance between the old her and the new her, getting used to seeing someone else in the mirror and, of course the most important, winning the heart of her prince – for completely logical and not so selfish reasons from her side, mind you. The whole experience is shown through a prism of humor, sarcasm, witty dialogue, exaggerations and spot-on descriptions (which were definitely the highlight of the book). You have to be open-minded when taking up this story, it isn’t a classical romance or YA, not even close, it’s more of a parody or farce of this beloved fairy tale. Also, I felt it was a somewhat social critical or a humorous take on the world of glamour and celebrities nowadays, how superficial and vain it really can be.

The beginning was quite slow and a bit of a chore, but it quickly gathered momentum and especially after the “big wedding,” the pace and tension grew tenfold and I couldn’t wait to see how things would unravel.

I wasn’t entirely happy that the romance wasn’t more prominent since it drowns in all the lifestyle of the rich and famous and adjectives, but in the end I didn’t mind as much. I’m usually not really a big fan of a lot of brick wall text/descriptions and, at times, I felt that the story needed more dialogue and, through it, direct contact with the characters, but if I absolutely must read heaps of details then I certainly prefer the style and tone used in this book. Why? It was sharp, imaginative and genuinely funny. In a sense it reminded me of Fiona Walker’s books (her earlier works, which I love) and her pages and pages of hilarious descriptive paragraphs, which simply made the story juicier. The storyline itself was basic, but having all the colorful characters, excessive behavior, lifestyles, situations and all the unrealistic-ness dumped into one pile of craziness, is what makes up this story and what makes it special. 

Characters:

Becky/Rebecca was somewhat bland, she had great dialogue, but since everything is from her point of view and I couldn’t find HER almost anywhere in the story, I didn’t feel that I knew, understood or even could relate to her. She had her shining moments, but overall, I don’t feel that she connected well with the reader.

Prince Gregory was awesome, slightly dorky yet utterly charming with a distinct sense of humor. He wasn’t your typical brooding cool guy, not even close, but there was something warm, genuine and goofball-y about him.

Rocher – There just always has to be a loudmouth, overly active, stick your nose in bestie's business, ardent advice giver and I-will-yell-and-beat-everyone-up-for-my-bestie best friend in most YA and since the story exaggerates a lot, then you can imagine what is born from this extreme mixture – Rocher. She’s loud, all-over-the-place, comical to the point of ridiculous (I still can’t stop laughing regarding her job and the bust in relation to that) yet I couldn’t really be annoyed with her, not one bit, because she was the complete opposite to Becky’s dullness.

Tom Kelly – A bit creepy yet compelling.

Overall:

I can imagine this to be a hit or a miss with most people, but there is so much to appreciate about such a story, first and foremost, at least I haven’t read anything quite like it. If you want something old with a new spin on it, the go for it and expect the unexpected. You might love it or, sadly, you might dislike it a lot. I’m happy to fall in the first category.


4 stars!

LIIS

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