BOOK REVIEWS

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-17 
Review Score: 3 out of 5 star From 56 user ratings
ISBN:054547700X
LANGUAGE:English

"Things I liked about this book:
1. The Mom. She was an interesting character with several dimensions and I would have liked to read her story.
2. The younger daughter. Mackenzie was also a delight, switching rapidly from one of the small drama queens you might see on Toddlers & Tiaras to a normal seven-year-old who just wants to play and be loved. I appreciate the author not villainizing her.

Things I did not like about this book:
1. Full of shit. It is one thing for a character to have problematic and unhealthy views. That happens, that's realistic (especially for teenagers), that's a great opportunity for conflict and growth. It's another thing entirely to not use any of those problematic views as an opportunity to grow your character, and the author did not, which felt to me like a tacit endorsement of the narrator's bullshit weight-shaming and derision for women who valued beauty. She feeds on that us vs them thing with the "popular crowd" and the "average people", offering none of the nuance one finds in real life. She also perpetuates the idea that a person can't be self-confident and a feminist and still be hungry to be loved, which is just stupid. Everyone wants to be loved.
2. Flat characters. Allegedly, the main character has a great personality. She is supposed to be funny and... nice, I guess? I heard this repeatedly, but her defining characteristics seemed to be a martyr complex and an enthusiasm for retail work that I have never seen in any human being in my life. Her best friends are little better, and all of the "popular kids" at her school are worse. They are one-dimensional and usually villainous. This is both a harmful narrative for teenagers and extremely bad (boring) story-telling.
3. Heavy-handed drama. Some of the ideas behind the plot point had really good potential; they could have been very moving had they been treated with a little more respect and nuance. However, much of what happened to Lexi, and much of what she did, seemed forced. Done for the sake of adding drama. It was like the novelization of one of those bad teen movies from the early 2000s.

Overall: 2/10. Points for the family, which had potential, but I would not recommend this book to anyone. It is a mish-mash of tropes strung together without much in the way of a heart.
" said.

"Lexi’s always been the funny one, the girl with the great personality. Everybody loves to hang out with her because they can always count on her to make them laugh. And while that’s all fine and well, lately Lexi has been getting tired of being shoved into that category. She wants guys to see her as girlfriend material, not just as a friend who’s a girl. But how can she get everyone to start thinking about her differently? With a little help from her friends and some inspiration from the beauty pageant scene her seven-year-old sister Mackenzie frequents, Lexi hatches a plan: with a little makeup and some hair product, Lexi’s going to be the new beauty queen at school. But things don’t quite turn out as planned, and Lexi will have to figure out, under her new exterior, who she really wants to be.

With a fabulous title like Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality and the promise of the lighter and darker sides of beauty pageants, I knew that I would enjoy this book before I picked it up. My instincts were correct, and I blew through this story. I was expecting quite a few laughs, but I wasn’t as prepared for how heartwrenching Lexi’s story could be at times; Eulberg adds a lot of depth to what could have been a more frivolous, lighthearted look at the beauty scene by including the complexities of Lexi’s family as well as her desire to break out of her “great personality” shell. I’m not always a fan of stories that aren’t completely or mostly self contained, since I find a lack of concrete conclusion unsatisfying, but even though everything doesn’t wrap up for Lexi at the end of this book, I still left her story with a sense accomplishment—that Lexi had grown as a person and that she was on her way to living her life on her terms. So, even if she doesn’t get everything she’d hoped for at the beginning of her story, in terms of guys and her family, she’s become more comfortable with herself, as a girl who’s proud to have a great personality. And that made for a very satisfying story.

Fans of Eulberg’s earlier novels, especially The Lonely Hearts Club, will not want to miss Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, nor will readers who also enjoyed North of Beautiful by Justina Chen and My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter.

reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com
" said.

"*A copy was provided by Scholastic for review purposes*

Wow, this was a pretty interesting read. When I first started reading this I thought it was going to be a very dark, sad, heartbreaking book, but it turned out to be kind of a fluffy coming-of-age story, and I kind of would have liked it better if it had stayed sad. I don’t really feel like the whole “girl who everyone thinks is ugly” and “becoming popular and learning about yourself” really fits together. The writing was really awesome, and I loved the humor that was added in. The story line was okay. The little things that Eulberg threw in to try and add to the story (like how Lexi wants to design clothes, the big “moment” back then) were totally see-through and annoying. I can see that Eulberg tried to make this an inspiring, “believe in yourself” book, but I gotta say, it didn’t really work very well…at least for me. The ending was kind of blah, I didn’t really like the way Eulberg decided to go with the story. But I think there might be a possibility of a sequel because the ending was very open.

I wasn’t really a huge fan of Lexi in this book, and I actually like the supporting characters better than the main character. Lexi felt like she was ugly, so she tried to change to make everyone else notice her and like her, and I know that Eulberg was making a point with this book that you shouldn’t do that, but it annoyed me to no end that Lexi kept on changing to please people. She came across as petty, weak, had no self-esteem, and let people walk all over her. And, funnily enough, she really didn’t have much personality, she just sat around cracking jokes that put herself down. The supporting characters had more personality than she did! Benny was gay and proud of it. Cam was confident and didn’t care what people said about her. Lexi needs to learn a thing or two from them.

I really, really wish I could have liked this book more, but for me it came across as a coming-of-age story fail, and a bad combination of ideas. While the supporting characters were awesome, Lexi was really pathetic, and I like my books to have strong main characters, especially in a book like this. Also, I don’t really get the title for this book, because Lexi isn’t malicious or anything, and she doesn’t try to get revenge. Ummmmmmmm?????????


Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Emily's Crammed Bookshelf
" said.

"We've all heard of Toddlers and Tiaras, but we've never seen it from the sibling's perspective. Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality tells the story of Lexi, a teenage girl whose entire life revolves around trying to please her mother and younger sister. When the family is struggling with money due to Mackenzie's pageants, Lexi decides to step up. Someone has to be responsible for their well-being, right? Unfortunately, Lexi is still just a kid and she deserves to live a little too. In this story, we watch the Girl with the Great Personality blossom into a responsible and beautiful young woman and learn that what you see isn't always what you get.

I've heard it a lot growing up--you're such an awesome person, any guy would be lucky to have you--yet I didn't get into my first serious relationship until after I graduated high school. Guys hardly bothered to look my way. Why? Because I was the one with the so-called "great personality". It's not a bad thing, in fact, having an awesome personality is one of the best qualities anyone can hope for, but when you're younger, you don't always look at it that way.

Lexi is tired of hearing about her great personality when being compared to her friends, peers and even her seven-year-old pageant princess sister, so she decides to make more of an effort with her appearance...and it works. Everyone begins to notice her, at school and pageants, and even her sister is a little jealous. Her mom finally seems to accept her and she even gets asked on her first date, but is it really because of her, or is it because of the makeup caked on her face?

The characters were all done really well, and I couldn't help but love or loathe each one of them. Lexi's best friends were her rocks. They stayed with her throughout her transformation and remained there when she needed them most. The only character that really- I mean REALLY- bothered me was the mother, who resembled Honey Boo Boo's mom in my mind. I had to put the book down a few times just to regain my composure after certain scenes involving her. As for the love interests, I really took a liking to Taylor and could easily see that he was genuine from the start.

This story shows that the best revenge is self-acceptance. So what if you're the girl with the great personality? You can get beauty queens by the dozen, but Lexi realizes that personalities like hers are rare. Elizabeth Eulberg creates another heart-warming story about self-discovery that any contemporary lover will want to add to their TBR list.
" said.

"*I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher for possible review*

Lexi dreams of being a fashion designer, gets dragged to the kiddie beauty pageants that her little sister competes in, and is secretly in love with a Logan, a guy who (inexplicably) also accompanies his beauty queen girlfriend to all her pageants. When Lexi overhears Logan telling a friend that she has a "great personality," she decides to glam herself up. When Lexi sees that pageants are bankrupting her family, she decides to take a stand.

It seems to me that this kind of plot could go a couple of different ways. It could a) be a fun escapist read that gently mocks the pageant world (false eyelashes and spray tans and butt glue -- ha ha) and ends in Lexi learning to appreciate her inner beauty and finding true love. Or it could b) offer more of a critique of the objectification of girls and women by the fashion and beauty industry, something like The List by Siobhan Vivian. Or it could be both a) and b), like Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Because Libba Bray can totally pull that kind of stuff off.

I really wish that the book had not wavered ambivalently between a) and b). The weirdness of the whole "Toddlers and Tiaras" world is alluded to but all the blame for Lexi's problems is placed on squarely on Lexi's mother, who, though FAR from perfect, is also recently divorced, overweight, depressed and a compulsive overeater. (Her father, who lives in another city with his new girlfriend, gets let completely off the hook.) Lexi seems mildly outraged at her sister's participation in pageants, but eventually decides that the only way she can make her mother understand the wrongness of it all is to publicly humiliate her. Meanwhile, Lexi dreams of being a fashion designer. Is the fashion runway all that different from the pageant stage? Pot, meet kettle.

That aside, there were definitely aspects of the book that made it a fun and enjoyable read. The whole kiddie pageant world is a strange and fascinating subculture -- at least as it's portrayed on reality TV. Lexi's gay BFF is obsessed with the 80s, and nervous about taking his new boyfriend public. And it's unusual to see any YA book these days that resolves (view spoiler)" said.

"
This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes

Cover Impressions: The cover is cute, though a bit simplistic for my taste. I might prefer if it had something in the background, like a mirror that the lipstick was scrawled on...

The Gist: Lexi has spent years catering to her 7 year old sister turned pageant princess. She sews, she primps, she meets the ever-increasing demands of her overbearing mother. She is known as the girl with the "great personality" and she is ready for a change. When her best friend challenges her to put some serious effort into her personality, she reluctantly relents, if only to prove that she is a hopeless case. Armed with perfectly coifed hair and fabulously fake lashes, she receives more attention than she ever dreamed, including one very cute guy - even if it isn't really the guy she wanted. As her world changes, she begins to doubt which Lexi is the real one: the beautiful girl, or the one with the great personality?

Review: Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality was a fun read with a few flaws. I loved the premise and the glimpse into the world of the sister of a pageant princess. Lexi had an interesting voice and I loved that she didn't buy into the whole pageant world. She was a but too whiney for my taste and she constantly lamented her lack of beauty (which was easily solved by a modicum of makeup - really, you're hideous and a touch of concealer fixes everything? I don't think so.) I thought the sometimes rocky but always backed by love, relationship between the sisters was pretty realistic. Even though it was sometimes painful to read about, so was the relationship between the divorced mother and her daughters. The mother was truly damaged and looking for validation in all the wrong places. At one point, she made a move so heinous that I was left feeling shocked and betrayed along with Lexi and it amped up my feelings of disgust and re-engaged me with the plot of the novel. Unlike the familial relationships, I didn't feel any real connection with either of the love interests but, to be fair, I don't think Lexi really did either. They mostly served as a backdrop against which she could make new discoveries about herself. Her friends, however, had a lot of unrealized potential. They were interesting, but fell flat and undeveloped while we followed Lexi through the "popular" world.

The thing that irked me about this novel was the way in which Lexi preached to pageant parents at the end. Being in a profession where I, occasionally, come across entitled, know-it-all children, I found her lecturing to be very off-putting. Her experiences with her sister and mother give her an insight into the beauty and ugliness of the pageant world, but they do not make her an expert on each family's situation not do they give her the right to judge parents who have twice (or more) her life experience.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is, ultimately, a cute novel with a good message about self-love that would be enjoyed by most teenage girls.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

Age: 12 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Teen gets slapped by parent
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking
" said.

"Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is a book about pretty. From what it does to a person to who it does and does not describe, this vague adjective becomes the basis for the entire novel as the protagonist lives with people who are obsessed with it and tries to achieve it herself. This emphasis on looks is the cause of my praise for and criticism of Elizabeth Eulberg’s book.

The importance that Lexi’s family places on beauty makes her an empathetic teenager readers pity but cannot help cheering for. After hearing about her mother, who spends every cent of her tiny paycheck entering her seven-year-old into pageants, I read the rest of her scenes on edge, ready to pounce and mentally excoriate her for being one of the worst fictional parents ever. Eulberg creates such an overpowering anger in readers that they cannot help becoming invested in the family dynamic and wanting Lexi’s hardworking, helpful demeanor to win against her family’s appearance-centric tunnel vision. Lexi’s position is so maddeningly unfair that it becomes a reason for reading in itself, making it difficult to turn away from the novel’s conflict.

However, once Lexi decides to focus on her appearance, things start to fall apart. My biggest problem is the unbelievable way in which she decides to change her lifestyle, overhauling her entire outlook in one day after a lifetime of owning her wallflower persona. Before, she described herself as plain and resigned herself to a life of servitude to the Chosen Ones and the Beautiful People (yes, she capitalizes those terms), but all of a sudden and for no apparent reason she becomes a hungry popularity searcher, desperate for acceptance and willing to spend her limited funds on makeup and new clothing. In the exposition, she seems content with her average status in society, so I was unable to grasp why the whim to beautify herself became so important so quickly. This story needs a catalyst, some big event to shake Lexi’s confidence, but it does not have one.

Even more nonsensical is the way Lexi views her outward transformation as a complete makeover of herself, both inside and out, but never seems sure about what kind of person she wants to become. As a result, she comes across as a poorly developed character and an annoying person, and although she is supposed to have a great personality, readers rarely to see it. She behaves in a confusing and shallow manner, alternating between egotistically demanding everyone love her for her charisma and putting herself down. Throughout her journey from self-deemed mediocrity to beauty queen to self actualization, her character development is scattered and she does not grow at all. Lexi needs to make up her mind as to who she wants to be, and even at the end, she does not seem to have decided.

These annoyances do not entirely demolish this book; I did enjoy feeling enraged toward Lexi’s family and smiling at the occasional gem of humor. I am forced to admit, though, that while I am still an unwavering Eulberg fan, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality falls short of her other novels. Although the message is ultimately intended to be empowering, I picked up a shallow vibe and never understood the not-so-complex main character’s decisions. This is another case of a book with so much potential settling for fine instead of fabulous, and my disappointment lingered longer than anything else.

This review originally appeared at www.litup-review.com.
" said.

"Rating: 2.5

Lexi is used to being the unnoticed one. Her sister, Mackenzie, is part of the pageant set, so Lexi’s world and weekends pretty much revolve around Mac. The plus side is that her crush, Logan, usually goes to the shows; the downside is he’s there to cheer on his girlfriend. Then, a bet with one of her best friends pushes Lexi from wallflower to noticed, and at first, she’s happy about it. But the family dynamic has shifted, she’s worried about her mother spending money she doesn’t have and she’s not sure that she’s liking what she’s turned into.

The set-up of this book, from the beauty pageant world to the overweight, unhappy mother and the blossoming girl are all ripe with possibility. Unfortunately, the potential was not fulfilled.

The fact that Lexi’s sister gets all of the attention, the mom uses food and pageants as a substitute for happiness; I get that. I can also easily understand Lexi getting marginalized because she’s not the focus, not the “pretty” one. I even understand her mixed feelings about making “improvements” to herself with makeup, a new hairstyle and clothing and whether that makes her no better than the pageant people. These are all great, realistic issues.

So what kept me from connecting to this book? First of all, I don’t think that Lexi held herself to the same standards that she held others. She has this huge crush on Logan, and the adjective “hottest” is used. She thinks he’s amazing and sweet, too, but she is obviously attracted to him. And when she has her makeover? She’s later angry that the guys who now noticed her had never liked her before. The narrative made it sound like she really didn’t care about how she looked, so - duh - of course if the makeover makes you look different, people are going to notice.

Her pageant-going sister, Mackenzie, is seven years old. As Lexi starts to take more care in her appearance, Mac gets very upset. This is when I first noticed that Mac spoke like she was 25, not seven. She had observations that a kid that age, especially one that’s self-centered, just wouldn’t have. They seemed very mature for a child.

Also, about Logan. He’s just being himself, then, as soon as she stops liking him, she smells cigarettes and beer on his breath, something we never saw before. It seemed like overkill, a way to get the reader to agree with why Lexi ends her super long-standing crush.

I am all about girl power, but I am wary of books where characters say things like “I have never done this before because I am usually so shy...” or “I usually keep my mouth shut, but now I have all of this confidence...” Yes, I think YA is about changes and growing up; but sometimes these revelations are more of a plot device than realistic. I felt like Lexi honestly did improve when she cared more about her appearance; there is nothing wrong with that. Then she negated it all - she couldn’t see that by having others notice her, maybe wasn’t a totally bad thing. It’s easy to get someone’s attention, harder to keep it. She still would have had to use her personality for people to stay interested, right?

Truly, real live girls should not base their self-esteem on what others think or how a person looks, but there is a happy medium there, one where a girl can put on mascara and wear clothes that look good on her without feeling like she’s sold her soul to Sephora or Forever 21.

The Bottom Line: I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately, it seems more cautionary tale than good story, and it suffers because of it.

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg was published March 1, 2013 by Point. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: Mild profanity
" said.

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