From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-An unsuspecting teen goes from a trailer park to the cover of Vogue in this darkly comedic tale of self-discovery. While grieving her mother's death, Becky is presented with an offer she can't refuse: a famous designer will create three dresses to transform her into the world's most beautiful woman, as he did for her mother before she faded into obscurity. Thus, Becky is magically transported into a life of glamour as the confident, stunning Rebecca. Naturally, there's a catch: she has one year to get married or risk losing her new identity, and she sets her sights on a prince. Though the premise sounds like frothy wish-fulfillment, the story offers biting satire on consumerism and the fashion industry, and an absurd send-up of the British royal family. Becky is likable, though her stream-of-consciousness narration often derails momentum, and the over-the-top humor sometimes misses the mark. The prince, angry after discovering that Becky is not Rebecca, goes on a hyperbolic rant with the threat, "I swear to God I will strangle you with my bare hands and then I will hurl your lifeless body from the rooftop, where it will land directly in front of an ice cream truck and the driver will use what's left of your gall bladder to create a repulsive new flavor called Apple Strawberry Compulsive Liar Swirl." On the same page, Becky muses that his words make her love him more. While some readers might be amused, others will be annoyed or offended, if they care at all.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After her 400-pound mother dies, plain-looking Becky, 18, comes across a mysterious phone number, calls it, and is whisked away to New York to meet iconic fashion magnate Tom Kelley, who has avoided the spotlight for 20 years. This überstylish Willy Wonka loved Becky’s mother back when she was—brace yourself, kid—a model, and so he makes Becky an offer: he will design three dresses that will transform her into “Rebecca,” aka the Most Beautiful Woman in the World. The catch? She has to fall in love and marry within one year or it all goes poof. What sounds like standard Cinderella-based chick lit becomes much more in the hands of playwright-screenwriter Rudnick (In & Out, Jeffrey). This digs deeper than the books it will be shelved alongside, featuring dense, visionary fashion creations; genuinely charming banter that make improbable romances probable; and veins of affecting commentary about the risks of beauty and the power of fame. An emotional distance from Becky keeps this from being a home run, but it’s nonetheless a unique and impressive feat. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus