From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–These short stories by notable YA authors are not the typical Hollywood makeover magic to entrance and captivate the girl, or boy, next door. There are a few Cinderella-type stories, but just enough to keep teens turning the pages. Mostly, though, the selections reflect the vulnerability of teen relationships with family, friends, and strangers. In René Saldaña, Jr.s Not Much to It, Becky spent her high school years on the fringes of the popular group. Encouraged by one of the in girls to go to beautician school and capitalize on her hairstyling gifts, she claims her vocation, but when the fickle girl reappears, the tension builds as Becky faces resurgent feelings of mockery and degradation. Marilyn Singers Bedhead Red, Peekaboo Pink is about the budding romance between a boy who thinks hes ugly and a beautiful blind girl who doesnt want pity. Marina Budhoss The Plan is a complex story of a teen living the life of a chameleon, yo-yoing between lifestyles, names, and towns at the whim of his superficial mother obsessed with looking forever-young. In Evelyn Colemans Lucky Six, a teen assumes the role of surrogate mother to her siblings, living in a shelter, going to high school by day, and working as an exotic dancer by night. She hides her earnings from her drug-addict mother and plots her getaway from this scene. Sweet and spicy, tough and raw, these well-written stories will make a lasting impression on readers.–Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY
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Gr. 7-10. The teen years are rife with change, making transformation a perfect theme for a short-story collection. An experienced anthologist, Singer assembles another diverse, solid group of stories--from Joyce Sweeney's humorous look at a boy whose self-esteem gets a boost from his posing as a French exchange student to Margaret Peterson Haddix's sobering peek at an immigrant's Ellis Island makeover at the hands of the Ladies' Aid Society. Some of the conversions are more literal, as in Bruchac's first-person account of an Abenaki folk hero, Wabi, an owl that becomes a person. Several are prompted by romantic involvement, such as Norma Howe's story in which a character changes his chaotic lifestyle and cleans his room because of a girl. And a few of the changes are life-saving: Evelyn Coleman's teen exotic dancer, for example, uses her earnings to escape a drug-addicted mother. Readers tired of reality-TV makeovers will rejoice in the characters that use transformation to find their true selves. Cindy DobrezCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved