I couldn’t help lifting my hand to finger the spot on my own scalp where, more than three months earlier, surgeons at the Stark Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery had cut open my head, slipped out Nikki’s brain, and inserted my own.
What I Liked
– It’s Meg Cabot fare. You know. A good light read with fun characters and the requisite levels of ridiculousness. No one except the villain (Stark) is really bad.
– Lulu. Lulu continues to be awesome.
– The Stark plot is even more sinister than I thought.
– I think the first book was more effective in its commentary on judging a book by its cover and the notion of understanding someone because you think you know something about her. This book, though, is really about the price of beauty as well as the value of youth and beauty in our society. Overall, I think this trilogy does some interesting things with regards to those questions.
What I Didn’t Like
– That said, there are some very conflicting messages about beauty. On the one hand, it’s skin deep. On the other hand, a decent makeover seems to erase a character’s deep personality flaws. So much so that she can win the affection of the boy she likes even when her personality still sucks. Um yeah. I don’t like that at all. It would be one thing if he were shown to have been drawn to her/intrigued by her before the makeover. Or even if they had GOTTEN ALONG. But no. Just because she’s pretty (now), she’s suddenly desirable as a girlfriend. Yeah, I didn’t like that at all. Obviously.
Thankfully, it’s only a small part of the plot. A very, very small part. Still, the impact is clearly felt (by me).
– Em is very generic in this book. By the end, I felt that she could have been substituted with just about any other Meg Cabot heroine.
And Christopher could have been any dude. They both felt kind of flat.
Luckily, everyone else is awesome. Especially Lulu. Did I mention I kind of love her? I might have to make her one of my literary girlfriends.
In conclusion: If you like Meg Cabot, you’ll like this book. It’s exactly what I expected (and needed) it to be. I think the first book of the trilogy is the strongest, but I like how everything (almost–let’s not count that one stupid pairing) is resolved here, especially the Stark drama.
YA Reading Challenge: 24/75