This fantasy is one of a kind — totally irreverent and wonderfully refreshing. Rudnick explores modern themes of beauty, power, friendship, bullying, obesity and more in this bizarre fairy tale. Although some tiny plot holes are distracting, the overall narrative is so great you won’t care. Whether you see this as an allegory on beauty, a modernized Cinderella retelling or just a tale of the enduring power of love, Rudnick has achieved something tremendous.
Becky Randle is an average 18-year-old high school graduate, living with her mom in a trailer in Missouri. But when her mom dies, she’s left alone with questions about her mother’s past. When the world’s top designer, Tom Kelly, summons her to New York, she’s certain it’s for the world’s newest reality TV show, Most Gullible Poor People. Instead Tom makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses that make her the most beautiful woman in the world, dresses which will transform her from Becky to Rebecca — on the outside. When she accepts, Becky is swept into a world of lights, cameras, celebrities and more. She loves it, even if it’s disconcerting to see herself in the mirror, beautiful, confident, unstoppable. Until she falls in love. She’s begun to rely on the power that Rebecca’s beauty provides … after all, when they could have had the most beautiful woman in the world, why would anyone love plain old Becky? (SCHOLASTIC, May, 320 pp., $18.99, ISBN: 9780545464260, 14 & Up)