Thursday, 27 June 2013

Joy Givens

Ugly Stick

The cover of this book was plain (and I'm guessing purple because of the character's favourite colour), with a lack-lustre name of the author at the bottom and although I liked the title (well-known sayings are always fun to use as titles) it didn't stand out. I could understand that the author was probably trying to recapture a schoolgirl's school book, but this excellent book deserves a cover that speaks: buy me! and it didn't.

It's a YA novel, but highlights bullying at school in a unique way using a mix of paranormal, reality and humour (without the humour it could have easily descended into misery-lit). 

The sample was fluid and I finished it in moments, and had to buy immediately. For a 'simple' YA book it was very, very good. 

April is ugly, but the premise 'beauty is skin deep' was riding high through the book. April wasn't happy with her 'ugliness' and because of her looks she had no confidence, was clumsy, and definitely didn't feel any inner beauty at all. She is miserable and hates her 'beautiful' classmates who makes her life hell with their snide comments and Tweets (there are Twitter updates through the book of April finding out people are gossiping about her using cruel hashtags ie : #ugly).

But there's a family secret: an 'ugly stick' that is passed down through the generation of women, and when April discovers her mother does not only own any photographs of herself from her youth but also discovers the evidence of this magical 'stick', then the true meaning of being ugly becomes apparent for April.

When April has a chance of moving her 'ugliness' onto one of the bullies through the family curse (the ugly stick) she does at her earliest opportunity, but her mother is appalled (there are some nice mother and daughter angst moments). At first, I was siding with April and angry at the mother because I couldn't see why the revenge was so wrong, but I was cleverly shown, through April's eyes, how her actions had made things worse and not better for her. Being beautiful isn't so good when you're bad on the inside.

I FULLY recommend this book, and not just to the youngsters. It carries a message for all, and not only that, it's highly entertaining and the ending is nicely wrapped up.

Fifteen-year-old April Somerfield is a shy, self-loathing misfit who would blend in with the wallpaper, if only the wallpaper were a little less attractive. In a family line of gorgeous, successful women, April’s a fluke. At Prescott High School, she’s a walking punch line.

A school project sends April on the hunt for her mother’s mysteriously missing yearbooks, and upon finding them she uncovers a big secret. It turns out that being “hit with an ugly stick” is a surprisingly literal occurrence in April’s family tree—a curse has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries. But when April sees a chance to finally ditch the family curse, she must decide if becoming beautiful on the outside is worth giving up the person she is meant to be.

1 comment:

Remember my reviews are my opinion, and I am a VERY fussy reader.