Monday, June 24, 2013

[Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick]

Author: Paul Rudnick
Pages: 336
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fairytale Retelling
Date Published: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format Read: Finished copy from the library


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 Thoughts:

I have to tell you something... I'm in love with this book!  I haven't read a book like this one in a long time.  It kinda made me feel the same way as when I read Libba Bray's "Going Bovine"!  It's one of those wild and kooky rides that is dunked into enough reality that you go along with it.  Just like eating a whole bag of cookies with some really good milk, you can't stop yourself.  I laughed so hard I wanted to cry and I cried so hard because I was touched.  I think that some of the best books make a fool out of you when you read in public and if that's the case Gorgeous wins! 

In all truth I'm not sure how this book managed to get published as a YA book?  I'd have to give it more of an adult or NA rating.  It's so full of dirty words, innuendo and other adult themes that I would be careful about letting younger teens read it, but needless to say, the confusing YA rating didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the book!

In fact it was all of the things that I just mentioned that gave Gorgeous an edge on all of the other fairytale retellings that I've ever read.  This book flat out hinted (okay more than hinted) at being a flashy, raw, hilariously dirty version of Cinderella and it pulled it off perfectly!  One of my favorite things about it was that Rudnick wasn't afraid to point out that the book was a retelling and there is nothing I love more than a book that is self aware of what it is.  

Rudnick managed to bring us a cast of characters that are so wonderful, I dare you not to fall in love with them.  Instead of giving us perfect, pretty people, he gives us some of the most flawed, effed up people on the planet.  I'm pretty sure everyone will be able to relate to them on some level.  It's an assemble piece and each character has their part to play.  From the funny one, to the stuck up one, to the dog who the Queen listens to.  Seriously there is a dog that the Queen of England listens to.

Becky/Rebecca is a wonderful lead.  She's flawed, but she's brave.  Okay maybe she's not brave all of the time, but drama has to come from somewhere.  Growing up with her overweight mom in a trailer park hasn't really prepared her for what happens when she find Tom Kelly's number.  It's her innocents, mixed with her don't screw with me attitude that makes her totally awesome.  The story is told through her eyes as she struggles to decide what is important?  Being pretty or being herself.

The people she meets along the way build the story in a way that I loved.  Prince Greg was darling and had one hell of a mouth on him.  It was fun to see a prince who wasn't proper.  And the other characters of the royal family where perfect!  You could totally tell that they were based on a a certain other royal family (maybe a real one?)  Rocher was the most kick ass, foul mouthed best friend a girl could ask for.  Her scenes always had me laughing!  And Tom and his staff were well imagined and gave the book some odd form of grounding.

This is a book that won't be for everyone.  There are things that will turn people off and there are things that people don't want in their fairytale, but I'm not one of those people.  Because like I said before I love this book.  It's edgy, it's raw and it's got this insane amount of subtle magic that actually works.  Nothing about this book makes sense, but when you reach the end you'll feel like you read something special.     

        5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this now!


GillyB said...

I LOVE YOU REVIEW ALMOST AS MUCH AS I LOVE THIS BOOK! You're so right that this book is NOT for everybody, and that it sure isn't YA, but for those of us who'll get it... IT'S BRILLIANT. I don't think I've ever laughed at a book harder! I'm glad you read this. At least so we can talk about Prince Greg!

Renae M. said...

A dirty Cinderella retelling? Haha, now that is most definitely not something you see everyday. It's great that the craziness worked for you—this review makes it sound like this book will either be really great or kind or a massive flop. I actually hadn't realized this was like Cinderella at all, so it's good to know this!

Jessica R said...

This sounds like it could be a lot of fun! I'm so glad I thought to grab it at BEA because now I'm really excited about starting it! I'm not too picky with my retellings so it seems like this will be a fun deviation from the norm. Here's hoping I'm on the side that enjoys it!

Natalie Natflixandbooks said...

This sounds really fun. I actually have this on my Kindle right now and may now to bump it up on the TBR list. Great review!