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Looks [Kindle Edition]

Madeleine George
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

An unforgettable debut novel about the way we look at others, and the way we see ourselves.

Meghan Ball is both the most visible and the most invisible person in school. Her massive size is impossible to ignore, yet people freely spill their secrets in front of her, perhaps because they think she isn?t listening. But she is. Now her attention has turned to a new girl: Aimee Zorn, with her stick-figure body and defiant attitude. Meghan is determined to befriend Aimee, and when she ultimately succeeds, the two join forces to take down their shared enemy.

This provocative story explores the ways in which girls use food and their bodies to say what they cannot: I?m lonely.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—This gripping tale of revenge goes beyond the stereotypical "outsiders get even" story. Meghan and Aimee are on opposite ends of the outcast spectrum. Meghan is extremely overweight, and it is more than hinted at that she has a binge-eating disorder. Aimee, on the other hand, is classic anorexic. Both girls have been hurt by one of the popular girls at school. They join forces to bring Cara down in a stunning bit of public humiliation. Themes of invisibility, familial dysfunction, and fitting in are all explored to some extent. Although the plot moves along at a fairly quick pace and keeps readers engaged, the ultimate conclusion is unsettling, to say the least. Aimee and Meghan become friends, but remain invisible to the other students at school. Cara rewrites what happened in her own head to remove any guilt from herself, and there is no resolution at all to a confrontation between the English teacher and the basketball coach, which looked to be a promising plot thread concerning sports versus academics. Neither girl receives any help with her eating disorder, even though Meghan's mother appears to be loving and Aimee's reaches out to her. Despite the loose ends, the story will make readers think about the various issues touched upon, and it is difficult to put down.—Robin Henry, Griffin Middle School, Frisco, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Meghan Ball is fat. “Hands like a ham” fat. Aimee Zorn is blade thin. Anorexic. Despite her size, Meghan can will herself to invisibility—unless a certain pack of boys latches on to her like they do sometimes, mocking and whispering dirty things in her ear. Aimee can barely control her fury, which she channels into her poetry and quells by starving herself. Both girls have, in their time, been befriended by self-satisfied Cara, who dumped Meghan as she grew bigger and more recently stole Aimee’s poetry and passed it off as her own. Now, an unlikely, uneasy alliance is formed, and it’s time for Meghan and Aimee to get even. George, a first-time novelist, covers familiar territory here—weight issues, peer torment, the mercurial nature of relationships. Yet it is not so much what she writes about but how she does it that makes this a standout. At times using an omniscient narration and cutting away superficiality, allowing her characters to be shown in stark relief, George knows how to write anguish. It is this ability that also informs her depiction of adult characters, whose tarnished lives elicit sympathy from readers, even as the characters mostly feel contempt. There is a strong, almost dangerous quality here; even though you know what’s going to happen next, there’s a jolt of fearful anticipation before it plays out. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

Product Details

  • File Size: 322 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0670061670
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (June 12, 2008)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001G0H7XQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,772 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look Again June 12, 2008
Walk down the hallway of Valley Regional High on a weekday and you will undoubtedly be surrounded by both teenagers and noise. Students will pass you on the left and on the right. Pieces of conversation will drift by you, exclamations of joy and disappointment punctuating conversations about tests, teachers, parents, and relationships.

Now look closely at two girls who remain quiet: overweight Meghan and thin Aimee. Possibly, they are standing still. Almost impossibly, they might be standing together.

Meghan is a sophomore who, despite her size, feels as though she is invisible - and likes it that way. Unless they are making fun of her, none of her peers really talks to her, but she hears everything - all of the gossip about other students and faculty that is whispered and shouted by those who don't notice her presence.

Amy is a freshman who wants to be heard but does not want to speak up. She joins the Photon editorial collective in hopes of having her poetry published in the issues, but she's somewhat scared about sharing her poems with others. Her reading and writing were habits encouraged by her mother's latest boyfriend, a poetry professor who just moved out of the house. She feels his absence acutely, even more than the absence of food. She eats very little, if at all, and refuses to discuss her eating habits with her mother. She pretends that she has allergies that limit her food choices.

The two girls come together after Aimee is betrayed by Cara, the popular, has-it-all girl who once hurt Meghan. (Please note that in both cases, the pain is emotional, not physical.) Also involved is J-Bar, the jock of the walk, who taunts Meghan every chance he gets. When given the opportunity to put both Cara and J-Bar in their places, what will the girls do?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Brilliance July 23, 2008
This book left me open, exposed, raw. As the jacket notes it's "as painfully honest as your own diary." It takes you back to your most humiliating moment in high school or junior high or even elementary school. We all have them. The event that made you feel so completely alone and pathetic that you wished to be invisible. But this book does more than make you remember your most vulnerable moment. It makes you recall when you made someone else feel that way, and the guilt and shame come rushing back like a tidal wave.

Despite her thundering frame, Meghan Ball is hardly ever seen. She walks ghost-like down the halls of Valley Regional High. People say and do things in front of her as if she doesn't exist, and she almost doesn't until she spies Aimee Zorn. Anorexic Aimee is Meghan's kindred spirit. Like great actors, both use their bodies to say what they cannot with their voices. When pretty, well-liked Cara Roy steals Aimee's poem, Meghan and Aimee work together to get the poem back, and in the process both gain some visibility.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks October 11, 2009
Wow. I don't even know where to begin, but this novel was fantastic. Meghan is an outcast, and I really felt her pain. I thought this novel was so true to the horrors of high school, because let's face it, people can be harsh. Whenever J-Bar bullied her, I could see it happening. This novel dives deeply into a lot of issues like anorexia, obesity, betrayal, bullying, isolation, invisibility, I could go on. It felt so real to me. This novel really changed the way I look at some people, and I'm so glad I read this.

Highlights: When Cara showed her true colors. Okay, that should so not be a good thing, but I was just glad to see it. Sometimes, it's people like sweet Cara who hurt you the most. Also, when Meghan and Aimee joined forces to bring down the one person that hurt them both, and they do not disappoint (I wish I had guts like these girls, but I have a conscience, which is horrible for revenge). I also really loved the character Mr. Handsley, I wish I had a teacher like him. Ms. Champoux was hilarious as well, especially with the morning announcements.

Also, how awesome is this cover? It's brilliant, as is the hardcover.

Lowlights: The action came a little later than I thought it would, and Meghan's constant following Aimee seemed a bit odd at times. I could understand where she was coming from, and in the end, they were kindred spirits. I also really, really wanted to punch J-Bar in the face. But I think he got what was coming to him. The ending was a little disturbing, because it just made me wonder about a lot of things...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Looks August 13, 2009
Looks is a really amazing unique book, written in a vividly honest perspective. It is one of the best embodiments of high school awkwardness that I have read in a long time, and that is very refreshing. I was glad to see a teacher, Mr. Handsley, playing a role, giving this book even more parallels to Speak than the already evident ones (narration by a "invisible girl", fly on the wall high schooler). The really striking thing about this is that all of the characters, no matter how minimal a role they play, are extremely well-developed, and you will get emotionally attached to at least one of them, no matter who you are. It's an interesting commentary on life, particularly a teenage one, where everyone tries so hard to break out of that invisible mold we're all at one point or other stuck in. We are all connected, and yet we barely notice it. The moment when the girls are at long last given names to match personalities is a powerful one, reminding us that thin or overweight, we are all one.

Rating: 5/5
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
for young people it would be ok
Published 2 months ago by w.wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Josefina
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of detail
Sometimes to much descriptive detail makes it hard to follow for kids with a reading disability. Good plot for young readers.
Published on March 6, 2012 by KL
4.0 out of 5 stars An Honest, Heartbreaking Look at Teen Eating Disorders
Meghan and Aimee look as different as possible - Meghan is a girl so big she has a hard time getting in and out of certain desks at school, and Aimee is so small that you might... Read more
Published on December 23, 2011 by E. Kristin Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but very good.
Madeleine George, Looks (Viking, 2008)

If you're going to read Madeleine George's debut novel, Looks, and you should, there are some things you should know first. Read more
Published on December 23, 2010 by Robert Beveridge
2.0 out of 5 stars Ehh, it was just Okay...
I don't know about this had a lot of promise but it fell short. I found myself getting bored at parts and I don't really think the characters were fully developed by the... Read more
Published on November 13, 2010 by Diana
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written
The hook of this novel is the way that it is written more than anything. The story itself takes quite a while to really have any sense of purpose, and I would have found this to be... Read more
Published on January 25, 2010 by Kelly Harold
5.0 out of 5 stars A Top Teen Book
I don't review too many books on Amazon, and i actually read this book over 18 months ago when it first came out, but the story has stuck with me ever since. Read more
Published on November 19, 2009 by Me, Myself, and I
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Meghan is obese. She is the largest person at Valley Regional High and her hulking size, oddly enough, allows her to blend into the background. Read more
Published on August 12, 2009 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars Madeleine George is agifted "new" author
This book hooks you from the get-go. Ms. George has a gift for creating characters that command empathy and at the same time, entertain the reader. Read more
Published on January 17, 2009 by Jenny M. Taylor
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More About the Author

Madeleine George's two novels are published by Viking Children's Books. Her first book, LOOKS, was one of Booklist's 2008 Top Ten First Novels for Youth, and was a 2009 ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Her second book, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOU AND ME, was a Kirkus Best Teen Book of 2012, a Junior Library Guild selection and an ALA Rainbow List selection, and was chosen as Atlantic Wire's Best Complicated Romance of 2012.

Madeleine's plays, including THE (CURIOUS CASE OF THE) WATSON INTELLIGENCE, SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND, PRECIOUS LITTLE, and THE ZERO HOUR, have been produced at theaters around the country, and are published by Samuel French.

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