May 9, 2011

Review - Flawless by Lara Chapman

Flawless by Lara Chapman
May 10th, 2011 from Bloomsbury

From the Publisher:
Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.

Sarah has a big nose, like uber big, and she will tell you she is who she is and is happy that way (nose and all). But the stares and snickers get to her from time to time. Sarah's mother urges her to undergo the knife and get that sucker fixed, but Sarah is set in her ways. When a hunky boy with a hunky name, Rock, moves to town, she starts to think that if the honker was gone, she might have a chance with him. The only problem is, her BFF Kristen falls head over heels for Rock, and with the help of Sarah's insight and master writing skills, it looks like Rock might fall for Kristen too. 

If I wasn't told this was a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac, I never would have known. Yes, I've seen Roxanne (great movie!), but I just didn't know the original story came from 1900. I know I'm a librarian...don't judge. Plain and simple, this book is about being comfortable and accepting who are and what God gave you. What an important message to send to teens and young people! We preach it all day long, but then we glorify woman and men who have the perfect hair, teeth, and gosh knows what else, what message are we really sending?. When we dye our hair, bleach our teeth, and undergo plastic surgery to fix that tiny tummy, are we really telling our kids that God made them special just the way they are? 

I love the heart of this story, and how the two girls deal with the gawking and finger pointing due to Sarah's oversized nose- "Everyone take cover. She's gonna blow!" *insert laughter* On a basic level, the scene demonstrates that it's okay to laugh at yourself, and in this situation, it took away the power of the teasing crowd. The scene was almost like a reset-button - yes, she has a big nose...can we move on now? I'm sure the two have many scenarios similar to that one up their sleeve. I love the relationship Sarah and Kristen had in the beginning of the story. Kristen basically abuses Sarah's friendship when she asks Sarah to pose as her online and snag Rock for a boyfriend. Who wouldn't help your best friend get the guy they love? Unfortunately for Sarah, it comes at a high price. She is miserable and soon enough, the entire facade falls apart. Another issue teens must deal with - what will I be willing to give up in order to make my friend happy? Will they still be my friend if I don't? Important stuff....

What the book needed, for me, was a little more umph. I thought the side story with Sarah's mother and one of her coworkers was going somewhere, but it fizzled I thought that storyline could have solidified the acceptance theme, but it didn't happen. I was a little confused on why we were teased with that possible scenario. Also, I thought Rock sent a lot of mixed messages and he left me confused at times, but he is a boy and we all know how unpredictable they can be. I think Jay, the boy hot on Sarah's heels, was really a fun kid to read about. I would have loved more of him. Near the end, Jay basically drops an insightful bombshell on Sarah that provided the story arc. I loved this part and would have liked to see a little of this early on. Then wouldn't have been a bomb. Either way, her resolution was quick. I would have liked to see Sarah struggle a bit with the information Jay gave her. The resolution in the end was good. Not too perfect, but filled with hope. 

Quick read with an important message for every young person. Girls will fall for this cover. How snarky to put the title right where the nose should be! 

3.5 Stars

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You can find Lara at her blog and on the Chills & Thrills Teen Book Tour