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by Corey Ann Haydu
Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life.
With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.
In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?
I received a digital copy of Making Pretty through Edelweiss for an honest review.
I rarely read contemporary.
But I joined up with the Sunday Street Team, started by Nori at ReadWriteLove28, in order to branch out of my typical genre and find new-to-me authors.
Making Pretty is quite a ride.
The story starts off with two sisters and their dad. Their dad has had MANY failed marriages including the one to Montana and Arizona’s mom. The girls are full of insecurity that comes from a mother who abandoned them to a father whom they feel they could never live up to his expectations. Montana’s dad is plastic surgeon who, in their eyes, always find faults in women.
Montana is the main character and she is heading into her summer break. Arizona, her sister, and Roxanne, their best friend, come home from college. The summer is supposed to be fun and finally reuniting the three of them.
Montana makes friends with a wild and spontaneous friend, Karissa. This is a relationship she craves but as the story progresses finds out she’s not who she thought she was.
The summer ends up with many crazy and intense situations which, in my opinion, is spurred on by LOTS of drinking. I mean, A LOT! I don’t read contemporary very much but, boy, these characters know how to throw down the alcohol. If you’re not really into drinking or what it feels like in the mind of drunk person, you may not enjoy this book. I found it interesting but also craaaaazy.
Montana also meets a boy who really becomes very important to Montana considering that as the summer moves along she feels more and more alone. Bernardo helps fill the holes.
I enjoyed all the characters in Making Pretty. They were uniquely their own and all on an emotional and life quest.
Montana is sweet. Even if something bothers her she tries to do what’s right and what’s right for the other person.
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and an interesting window into how crazy life-changing decisions happen and how they’re justified in someone’s mind. I didn’t particularly care for all the under-age drinking. There also was a lot of enabling happening that made me want to slap the characters. Despite those things I did enjoy all the lessons the characters learned throughout the book and how much they changed. If you want to enter one crazy summer in New York City, this is the book for you! 4 Stars.
About the Author:
Corey Ann Haydu is the author of OCD LOVE STORY, LIFE BY COMMITTEE, MAKING PRETTY and her upcoming middle grade debut, RULES FOR STEALING STARS. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Corey has been working in children’s publishing since 2009.
In 2013, Corey was chosen as one of Publisher Weekly’s Flying Starts. Her books have been Junior Library Guild Selections, Indie Next Selections, and BCCB Blue Ribbon Selections. Corey also teaches YA Novel Writing with Mediabistro and is adapting her debut novel, OCD LOVE STORY into a high school play, which will have its first run in Fall 2015. Corey lives in Brooklyn with her dog, her boyfriend, and a wide selection of cheese.