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At Face Value Paperback – October 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6–9—Cyrie Bergerac is the witty editor of the Weston High school paper. Her verbal skills propel her through her days and drive the pace of this story. As she explains from the get-go, "Everyone has something even if they won't admit it; something about their physical being that bothers them." Cyrie is obsessively bothered by her huge nose, which makes her the brunt of cruel comments from teen beauties and bullies. She bites back with brash verbal retorts and counts the days to her 18th birthday when she can get a nose job. Cyrie's secret heartthrob is Rox, but she's convinced that he can't see beyond her nose. He is enamored with Cyrie's friend Leyla, a sweet teen who has none of Cyrie's verbal acumen or tough skin. Rox and Leyla begin their courtship through a series of emails. Leyla's are increasingly creative and romantic—and composed by Cyrie. Predictably, he and Cyrie hook up. In the end "getting the guy" is a sell-out for a story that wrestles with self-esteem, body image, and intellectual strengths. What might have evolved into a meaningful teen romance misses the mark through shallow character development, predictable plot twists, and a sappy resolution. Plus, readers are sure to be left wondering if she does or doesn't get the nose job.—Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Emily Franklin is the author of over a dozen books for teens, including two critically-acclaimed series, The Principles of Love and The Other Half of Me. Emily's other young adult titles include the novels in the Chalet Girls series, and the forthcoming Half-Life of Planets. She has also written two novels for adults, Liner Notes and The Girls' Almanac. Her next book is Too Many Cooks: A Memoir of Tasting, Testing, and Discovery in the Kitchen. She also edited the anthologies It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths about Life in Your Twenties and How to Spell Chanukah: 18 Writers on 8 Nights of Lights. Check out her website at


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Flux (October 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738713074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738713076
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,076,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emily Franklin is the author of Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes. One part David Sedaris, one part Julia Child, this food memoir has over one hundred original recipes and funny, poignant stories about parenting. Emily is a former chef.

She is also the author of two adult novels, The Girls' Almanac and Liner Notes and more than a dozen books for young adults including the critically-acclaimed seven book fiction series for teens, The Principles of Love. Other young adult books include The Other Half of Me the Chalet Girls series, and At Face Value, a retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac.

She edited the anthologies It's a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths about Life in Your Twenties and How to Spell Chanukah: 18 Writers Celebrate 8 Nights of Lights. She is co-editor of Before: Short Stories about Pregnancy from Our Top Writers.

Emily writes regularly about food and parenting for national magazines and newspapers and her work has been published in numerous literary magazines.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on November 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
The classic story of Cyrano de Bergerac gets a face-lift in this new version. Ms. Franklin takes the classic and twists it up a bit, this time making the lead with the troublesome extension a female, rather than a male.

In this version, we have Cyrie Bergerac. Cyrie has spent so much of her high school life keeping busy with getting good grades (she's got her eyes set on an Ivy League school, but she can't get the dreaded essay completed) and multiple extra-curricular activities that she never really dwelt on the fact that she has few friends.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise when she realizes that she's starting to become friends with Leyla. The surprise is that Leyla is part of the popular crowd. With a nose like the one that Cyrie sports, it's obvious that Cyrie is far from the in crowd. Cyrie is the editor for the school paper, so she has a group of people she hangs around with. The best perk of being editor is that she gets to work with her crush, Eddie 'Rox' Roxanninoff.

For anyone remotely familiar with the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, it's clear what happens next.

Eddie (Cyrie refuses to call him Rox like the rest of the school does) reveals to Cyrie that he likes Leyla, but Leyla gets tongue-tied and literally sick when she tries to talk to Eddie. So Cyrie agrees to help Leyla communicate with Eddie. But in this updated twist, it's via email. After all, Cyrie IS editor, so Leyla can compose the emails, and Cyrie will correct them before forwarding them on. But before too long, Cyrie realizes that Leyla is hopeless when it comes to writing interesting missives. So Cyrie starts to change the content and add other information.

When Leyla discovers that Cyrie has secretly liked Eddie, she gives Cyrie an ultimatum.
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Format: Paperback
Based on the originial big-nosed romantic, Cyrano de Bergerac; At Face Value is a charming and witty novel exploring friendship, love, and self-confidence. Everyone has a part of them they don't like. Noses, bean-pole body, skinny legs, big ears, too short (that's me) and so on. It's caused by lack of self-confidence and brought on by teasing and insecurity just as Cyrie experiences in this semi-romantic narration. Personally, I loved reading this book because of its classic, yet suspenseful love triangle at the center of this story. The characters were just as lovable with their humor, awkwardness, and cleverness which keeps you in touch in reality and that will ring true to many teen girls.I have read-not a lot- but enough to where I know what I want from a YA romance novel: I want to be kept guessing, end of story. I have read many a teen romance in which I have guessed right on the dot what was going to happen. With At Face Value however, Franklin kept me surprised and I honestly think that this book will please even the pickiest of readers. Even though the acceptance and friendship themes are expected, I still think the romantic side of the novel does have a few twists up its sleeve. The best part of this charming novel is not the romance nor the characters, but how the school scene and Cyrie's comedic mistakes are portrayed. Cyrie will make you laugh or shake your head as she falls head over heels and pokes her nose in places it shouldn't be in.Overall, At Face Value is a lovable story of several smitten boys, the school's "it" chicks, and one big nosed girl who must discover that value doesn't lie on the outside, but the inside. I highly recommend to any teen girl.

|Age Group:YA, ages 12+|Content:Very mild language and mild sensuality||Recommend?| Yes
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Format: Paperback
Quirky Girls Read Review.

Cyrie Bergerac has her eye on the future. College scholarships and that nose job her "inner beauty" post-hippie parents won't let her have until she's eighteen. She's also had her eye on one Eddie "Rox" Roxanninoff since the ninth grade, but when her beautiful tongue-tied best friend, Leyla Christianson asks for help in just talking to him, Cyrie can't say no.

Do the names sound familiar? At face value is a clever and fun retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac. Editor of the high school paper, Cyrie has plenty of intellect and rapid fire wit, which she slings out on those classmates brave or stupid enough to make fun of her rather large facial extension. Unfortunately her courage flees when it comes to telling Rox how she feels about him.

Except when she starts emailing him, posing as Leyla, she's suddenly able to let her guard down and share all the meaningful thoughts she hasn't shared with anybody else. The problem is, he thinks he's falling for Leyla.

If you know the story of Cyrano de Bergerac, the plot points will be fairly obvious, but it's an enjoyable take on an old classic, which also spins into a teenage tale of "finding yourself" and accepting yourself as you are, but also learning that others, even the outwardly beautiful, have insecurities too.

I also love how after lessons learned, the question of the "nose job", will Cyrie still have it done? is left open-ended.
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