Author: Paul Rudnick
Published April 30th, 2013 by Scholastic Press
Goodreads Summary: Inner beauty wants out. When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness.
Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world.
A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.
My Review: This book is more than just a retelling of Cinderella, it is a look at our society and the importance (or lack there of) of physical appearance and celebrity. I would love to know which celebrities influenced Rudnick for some of the crazy characters in Gorgeous. I also loved Becky as a person—she is quite funny and a very good person, even after she dives into Rebecca. Readers who love romance, fashion, Hollywood, and royalty will find a winner with this book and will also find a book that delves into deeper issues than it seems originally.
Teacher’s Tools For Navigation: Although parts of of this book could be pulled out for read alouds to talk about satire or society, I know that where this book will find its home is in classroom and school libraries.
Discussion Questions: What celebrities do you think Rudnick was referring to when he wrote _____?; What is the theme of Gorgeous?; Would you have chosen to stay as Rebecca or gone back to Becky?
We Flagged: “But running away, with two dresses to go, wasn’t just timid and cowardly. A fast exit would be an insult to my mom. Because, when she didn’t shred that phone number, my mother had held out this possibility. She’d handed me that plane ticket, or maybe a pair of iridescent couture wings, and now I was flying, or at least cleared for takeoff.
Locking eyes with the woman on the TV screen, I knew that I had to find out where Rebecca might take me. Maybe Rebecca was more than a shell; maybe she was an amazing means of transportation, a surreal, hypersonic, goddess-shaped rocket ship, blasting out of East Trawley. And because Rebecca could do anything, maybe I could finally learn what had happened to my mother, and what had destroyed her.” (p. 58)
Read This If You Loved: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, Skinny by Donna Conner
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