Straight up, I love a good makeover montage, because I am shallow. Also because I love makeup and new clothes. I also like reading about things that are outside my realm of experience, like beauty pageants. When I came across Revenge of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg, first on netgalley and then winning it in a contest, I was incredibly excited for it! I mean, CONGENIALITY! Humor! Teenagers! Crushes! I picked up Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality because I had assumed it would be a fun light read with a great message. I ended up disappointed.
Lexi has a “great” personality. Yet, when it comes to her looks, she is just average. She’s not short. She’s not tall. She’s not heavy. She’s not thin. She has brown hair and brown eyes and wears baggy clothes. She will never be a beauty queen like her younger sister, Mackenzie. Mackenzie is seven and participates in beauty pageants. Their mother is totally one of those pageant moms who takes the whole thing so seriously. Lexi, on the other hand, does not take it all that serious, except for the opportunity it gives her to hone her fashion design skills. The other bright spot in her pageant-assisting is Logan. Unfortunately, Logan goes to the pageants to support his girlfriend, Alyssa. Prompted by her gay BFF, Benny, Lexi starts wearing makeup and clothes that actually fit her. This brings her the attention of the ‘Beautiful People’ and a football player named (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL) Taylor Riggins. Unfortunately, Alyssa still has eyes only for Logan.
I know that this book is titled Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality, but I just didn’t see Lexi’s personality as being all that great. Sure, she’s supportive of her friends Benny and Cam. She just wants Benny to believe in himself and be happy. And she makes time to hang out with Cam (who I thought should have been the girl with the Great Personality as she was way more awesome). I kind of thought Lexi was not a very awesome person. Like, she apparently has such a wonderful personality because she is snarky and funny. But at the same time, she is trying to steal one girl’s boyfriend, she doesn’t give the time of day to the guy she is supposedly dating, and she does some very rude things to her mom.
Straight up, this is my opinion and my opinion alone, but I perceived Lexi’s attitude toward her mother as fat shaming. In the book, we are told that her mom gained 100 lbs after the divorce. Lexi is embarrassed by her mom. She does things like leave nutrition pamphlets on the table. She tries to tell her mom to just eat healthy. Girl, you are not your mom’s doctor, so pipe the frick down. I just thought she was so rude and mean toward her parent. And okay, yes I realize that her mom was very mean to her – prizing pageants above all, spending money she didn’t have, constantly fighting with Lexi, but seriously there are some lines that you just should not ever cross. And, here Lexi is presented as this person who is so great in personality, yet I thought she was a total dick.
Of course, I am probably taking Eulberg’s book WAY too seriously. I do that sometimes, ya know? Anyways, I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. There are a few awkward parts where Lexi delivers these grand speeches about the lessons she’s learned and it’s a bit too after school special for me. Like, lol, this one scene at a party or school or something, I forget, where’s she’s like you may be beautiful on the outside, but you will never be beautiful on the inside to this one popular girl. And it was like 2 paragraphs of her going on about inner beauty. My inner jerk just laughed, because it just came across as inauthentic and awkward.
On the other hand, I did think that the plotting was fairly solid. I also did find myself really caring about Lexi and feeling bad about certain things that happened to her. Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality is definitely not a slow read by any means. Instead, I read it pretty much in a sitting. Yes, it made me angry and irritated and annoyed, but I also come into these things with a certain progressive feminist mindset, and so I notice and pick up on things like fat shaming. Not everyone will. Also, I want to put out there that I am still willing to give Eulberg’s books another shot as I liked the pacing.
Disclosure: Won in a contest at Oblong Books
Other reviews of Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg:
Chick Loves Lit – “was really off the mark for me.”
Alexa Loves Books – “I found myself speeding through the pages until I reached the end.”
Rather Be Reading – “I applaud Eulberg for giving a lot more depth to her storylines and characters this time around.”