Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Published: March 1, 2013 by Point
Received: egalley for review from publisher
A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.Oh wow. This book took me down memory lane -- to a time when social status was dependent on what you wore and who you talked to, followed up by the insecurities of never fitting in, or deciding if you even want to fit in. High school can be such an ugly time (and no, I don't mean just the fashion). It's meant to be about the years figuring out who you are and who you want to be, yet somehow the social hierarchy of the cafeteria lunch room has a way of filtering in your brain and confusing your thoughts. Thankfully, I was a level-headed teen, who sure made a few mistakes (who didn't?), but overall came out the other side with only a few battle wounds. In this particular story, I must admit, I was a bit concerned for some of these character.
Don't mess with a girl with a Great Personality.
Everybody loves Lexi. She's popular, smart, funny...but she's never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).
Lexi's sick of it. She's sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She's sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She's sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she's sick of having all her family's money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.
The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren't going to know what hit them. Because Lexi's going to play the beauty game - and she's in it to win it. [goodreads]
Lexi has been described as The Girl With The Great Personality all her life. Some of that has been inflicted on to her due to an emotional and unhealthy divorce between her parents that resulted in damage to her own self esteem. It's a title she's been given by most of the boys in school; which ultimately means she's the girl they all talk to about the girl they really want to be dating. Eulberg sets the foundation for who Lexi is quite well. I had a clear picture of this girl right from the beginning.
Then there are the supporting characters who both pleased me and infuriated me. Lexi has a great group of friends. Both Benny and Cam supported her, regardless of her Great Personality. They loved her for who she is, and during those critical teen years I think having friends such as them is essential to surviving. Then there's Lexi's mother. Oh man. This woman made me so angry. It's a true testament to Eulberg's writing when she creates characters that I literally want to hunt down and punch in the face because they've upset me that much.
Her mother's world revolves around Lexi's younger sister Mac and their beauty pageant shows. She was every bit the stereotypical mom who breathes those pageants as if their lives depended on it. And in this case, their lives almost do become dependent on it. Lexi's mother wastes away all their extra money (and then some) on pageants that aren't producing anything -- surely not self esteem. It was difficult to read at times, the moments when her mother clearly chooses Mac and the pageants over Lexi and her needs. I was beyond worried for Lexi and what she'd grasp from this unhealthy situation. But Eulberg created such a solid character from the beginning, that even through my worry, I still had hope she'd be ok.
The underlining message in this story got a bit blurry about mid way through. The focus on Lexi and The Girl With The Great Personality became something of quite the opposite really. Perhaps that was the intention of the story, to switch Lexi's world around and give her a glimpse of the Glamour Girls. I was invested enough to continue on, but I still felt hesitations on how everything would eventually wrap up. The ending felt a bit abrupt and left me with many questions. I did not feel resolve between Lexi and some of the major characters. However, I did walk away from this story knowing that she'd be ok. That The Girl With The Great Personality would shine on. The message I can pull away from this story is that true beauty comes from within. Eulberg expresses it in a comical, yet realistic fashion, and for that it's a relateable book.