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Montana is also a very hypocritical character. She complains about one thing, but does exactly that. For example, she complains about her dad marrying someone he met just a few days ago, but then she finds a boy and falls instantly in love with him. An extremely drastic declaration of love even happens later in the story for Montana, and I completely rolled my eyes. I saw her as a very confused teenager who is desperately looking for the answers on How to Live Life. By the end of the story, I was still having a hard time connecting with Montana.

Haydu knows her way around a character, particularly in portraying them as real and flawed. Being in Montana's head, living her story I got sucked in right away, and had to see it through as quickly as possible. While I do wish a few things had been addressed more, the way this book is written makes it feel like we're just capturing a tiny portion of a long, long life that Montana is living, so I can sort of understand how it ends that way.

May 21, Michelle Wrona rated it liked it Shelves: This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more! Corey Ann Haydu is one of those authors whose books I really want to enjoy. They seem like the perfect kind of books that'll impress me: In this case, as well as her previous, Life by Committee, there was so much potential for me to enjoy them. Everything seemed perfect, at first. But as I look back onto these novels, they were dull and not as deep as I This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more!

But as I look back onto these novels, they were dull and not as deep as I wish them to be. I have 2 more of her novels to read and they're both on my TBR list, though I'm now hesitant, as the second time surely wasn't the charm. Making Pretty was a pretty book, but I feel more meh and bored with it than others have. I surely won't even dream of giving this a perfect star rating, but whatever. It deals with all of the cutesy stuff—sisterhood, first love, rebellion of being a teenager, all of those things that are supposed to matter or happen in life. You'll find that the characters have had a horrible life with endless amounts of 'stepmothers' and weird stuff going on with their family, and they're—Arizona and Montana—are those characters whose side you'd like to stay on.

I figured his school was probably doing a unit on it too.

Then it was the Stephen King novel I was chilling out with. Then Catcher in the Rye. Then The Hunger Games. Then Valley of the Dolls. After Valley of the Dolls we started nodding at each other. Anyways, let's just get to the summary because you don't even have a clue what this book is about if this is the first time you've seen it or heard of it.

Making Pretty features Montana and Arizona, two sisters who were named after the states that their mother left them for. They now live with their plastic surgeon father who gets married and divorces women lots of times. Now Montana has enough of her boring, strange life and she falls in love with a guy named Bernardo, who respects her pink hair and wickedness.

I guess that the title does make sense for what the book was actually about. I liked Montana's attitude towards her father's job and everything and how she doesn't want to get sucked into the obsession of redoing yourself. She had self-confidence, even when she was depressed and felt like the relationship with her college-based older sister was dissipating. Haydu doesn't create the best bunch of characters in the end. So if you actually read the official synopsis found on the jacket cover of the novel, you'll probably predict that a lot of the book is focused on secrets, lies and the sisters' fading relationship.

I found that the romance was the biggest part as well as Montana finding out who she is. Yes, it's one of those cheesy stories. I wasn't too fond of it in the end, either. The author's writing seems to drag a lot. It's overly exaggerated at some points and I just want to bang my head against a desk to keep me awake.

While reading, I found myself fading in and out of the fictional world of New York City, and while I adored the setting, something was missing from the depth of the story. Bernardo is a boy who doesn't depend on smiles. Bernardo is boy who swears and loves in Spanish. It all depends on what you really enjoy in a romantic relationship. You'll most definitely find Montana and Bernardo's to be cute and everything, but it's not as realistic as I hoped. I guess it all features a girl turning pretty in her own way—an 'eh' way. Apr 25, Estelle rated it really liked it Shelves: Very few books make me feel speechless.

This was a heartbreaking, almost suspenseful story and it really stands on its own in this book category. I literally can't think of one comparable book. I'll have a full review but some words I wrote down while reading: Another great piece of work from this author with so many crossover opportunities. Basically we have Montana — about to embark on another summer in New York City. Her best friend Roxanne and her sister Arizona are back from college. But nothing is totally clicking except for the last thing.

Karissa is not what she seemed — or even close. But Bernardo — he is someone she can have for herself. He is someone who is on her side. Alongside him, Montana goes on this journey to reinvent herself but also get down to the naked truth of what she means to people. Her dad has married again and again; all the while, Montana has basically been discarded by these women.

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As much as this book is about beauty — how it is perceived and thrust upon us — Haydu unshockingly because she always asks the tough questions explores the complexity of sister relationships, the all-consuming impulsiveness that comes along with first love, and the desire to take control but feeling powerless to actually obtain it. Like in Life By Committee, the author has spun another suspenseful contemporary — where will all of this messy behavior lead these characters? There was no way I could have predicted what would happen. What exactly do you do when the authority figure in your life makes poor choice after poor choice?

What do you do when your older sister — one of your best friends — deviates from what she believed in? May 11, Kelly Gunderman rated it liked it Shelves: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I'm not really sure what I expected when I started on this book. I guess I was looking forward to a young adult novel that made me cry at the right places, smile and root for Montana, and truly care about the characters in this book. That really wasn't what I got. The book is about Montana and Arizona, two sisters who had their mother leave them when they were very young.

While their mother still calls them and se I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. While their mother still calls them and sends them the yearly birthday card, they live with their plastic surgeon father who remarries like he changes his underwear and has a different girlfriend every other week. Well, when their father announces that he is going to be marrying Karissa, Montana's 23 year old friend, Montana and Arizona feel completely lost and are angry, bitter, and upset by the decision.

Sure, I got the young adult novel. But the problem with this one was that it felt TOO young. I had to keep reminding myself that Montana half the time I found myself having trouble even remembering this girl's name, that's how little I felt attached to this book and the characters was not a twelve year old girl. Okay, maybe when you're I thought their entire relationship was weird. They were telling each other that they loved each other after being together for like two weeks even Montana's sister, Arizona, kept pointing out that they've "been together for five minutes". Another huge issue I had with this book was the detachment with their father.

I mean, Arizona came home drunk in the beginning of the novel, and her dad didn't even punish her for it. He acted like it was completely normal. This baffled me, and I should have realized that this book wasn't for me in the very beginning. Maybe the part of me who has two daughters kept kicking in during this book and wondering why the hell no one was paying attention to this girl in the way that she needed. It seemed like no one really seemed to care what was going on in her life, because everyone was wrapped up in their own.

It did not make for a very memorable novel, unfortunately. Oct 02, Jennifer rated it it was amazing. Imperfect, true-to-life, challenging characters in the very best way possible. New York, the setting, was so vibrant and detailed it was practically a character in itself. The discussions that you could have about this book are numerous, and I can definitely it see it being read in book clubs and high school classrooms.

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There is so much to unpack here. In reading this book, I felt like I was getting a glimpse into the life of an actual, real life family. The dialogue and writing were on point as is always the case with Haydu's books , and I felt that all of the different threads of the story wove together so well. I highly recommend this book. Apr 25, Ellice rated it it was amazing Shelves: Corey Ann Haydu's writing is on a level all its own-- seriously, the next time someone criticizes YA lit, I will hand them this book, as it will rival the writing in ANY adult novel.

It's gorgeous and heartbreaking and even painful to read at times. Also original- I can't think of another book that is even remotely similar.

Book Review: Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu — @TLT16 Teen Librarian Toolbox

Apr 25, Lauren rated it it was amazing. I've read and loved both of Haydu's previous YAs, and this one didn't disappoint. This book was no different--it hit home, and I love it for doing so. Aug 02, April rated it really liked it Shelves: Read the rest of my review here. Her, cosmetic surgeon father fell in love and out of it easily. However she's always had her older sister Arizona for support. But when Arizona leaves for college, Montana makes a friend in Karissa, a 23 year old eccentric women. When summer arrives, Montana's relationship with her sister is damaged and the revelation that Karissa is Montana's father's latest girlfriend puts more of a strain on her family life.

Also there was a cute romance invol 17 year old Montana is used to stepmoms leaving. Also there was a cute romance involving Bernardo. I wasn't really a big fan of him he was so damn earnest , but he wasn't bad or anything. Plus he had pink hair so that's a plus. This book mainly focuses of Montana's family, her stepmoms and her personal growth. Haydu gets to the heart of hard truths, dares to focus on heroines with a boatload of flaws, and flinches away from absolutely nothing.

Making Pretty is approachable, engaging, hard-to-put down, and a tragically beautiful portrayal of girls trying to come of age and overcome their pasts. Montana is desperate, impulsive, a liar, thoughtless, needy, and a lot more things. Her flaw to perfection ratio leans heavily to the side of flaw, but she is not a bad person.

My heart went out to her. More than anything, her goal is to be loved. Her desperation manifests in a deep desire to be liked, to be thought cool. I want there to be one part of our lives that stays the same, that we can depend on. I thought that was you.

Their dad is a plastic surgeon, who has had an endless string of girlfriends and wives. He meets them, perfects them, and then moves on. He draws on any picture that comes near him, suggesting plastic surgery for the people in magazines and whoever sent them a Christmas card. The constant parade of mother figures only increased their issues with the idea of love and romance. Montana and Arizona love their father, despite being very aware of his flaws, and they do have some good times together.

Left alone, the two no longer know who they are. I actually saw the plot developments regarding Karissa coming: What I want to know is where things went after the events of the novel and what happened to her in the past. She remains a question mark very intentionally, but I would have liked to know a bit more. Haydu takes on instalove in this incredibly brilliant way in Making Pretty. Montana and this boy Bernardo have been flirting from a distance in the park for a while.

After she dyes her hair pink, in search of something, he approaches her and then lets the girls dye his hair pink. The two connect immediately. The evolution of their relationship makes perfect sense for their emotional states. Also, I love where Haydu has the relationship at the end of the book. Every Haydu novel is painful, real, raw, and intense, and Making Pretty may just be my favorite so far. I could see Making Pretty making it as your standard rom-com fare. You might have to age-up the characters, but not by much. Corey Ann Haydu creates a good setup here.

At first the book promises to be about two sisters drifting apart as one goes off to college and the other finishes high school.

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This is a theme, with many parallels, explored by Rainbow Rowell in Fangirl. This book begins with promise, but its two-dimensional characters and shallow plotting undermine it. Montana and Arizona begin as complex creations. They carry a great deal of baggage about body image given to them by a plastic-surgeon father and the stepmothers whom he transformed with his craft—so much so that on their thirteenth birthdays, he and Stepmom 2 gave the sisters gift certificates for a free cosmetic procedure of their choice. This fairly interesting theme is one of the reasons the book manages to hold together, and managed to hold my interest, despite the lacklustre characterization.

Haydu initially positions Karissa as a kind of free spirit and radical influence on our teenage narrator. I was down with that. Then comes the twist where Karissa is lined up to be Stepmom 4 … and I thought that was brilliant as well. It neatly illustrates the dysfunctional father—daughter relationship. We never get to glimpse the real Karissa. While that could have been fascinating, her behaviour around Montana is more annoying than anything else—we never get a genuine moment of introspection or humanity from her. Even when Montana expresses variations on discomfort, anger, and outrage, Karissa acts like a robot without any understanding of the nuances of human discontent.

Her answer to everything is wine and hugs and kisses on the cheek. If it were just Karissa, I could chalk it up to good characterization. But most of the characters are like this. Bernardo exists to pump up Montana and act as an outlet for her fantasies. He is always pushing her to newer, edgier heights of rebellion. Also he proposes marriage after knowing someone for … a month? Arizona and Montana, meanwhile, bicker like real sisters would … but they never have an actual, honest-to-goodness, fight. The same goes for Montana and Bernardo.

My favourite characters were the stepmothers—because they escaped the weird bubble of fakeness and are able to reach in and burst that bubble for Montana. Each time she seeks out one of the stepmoms, she is hoping for some intense revelation or reunion moment that will help her life make sense … only for the stepmom to essentially say, "You are a terrible person, hon, deal with it.

I actually like the ending for all its ambiguity. It fits with the rest of the book. While Making Pretty makes all the right noises, echoing the general sentiments it has overheard from others, it never quite says something new or original. Dec 02, Deyse rated it really liked it Shelves: Review originally posted here. At first I was totally gonna past this book, the tittle and the cover yes, I judge books by their cover whatever who never sounded like not my kind of contemporary, but them the early reviews started to pop up and it was so much positive buzz saying things about this that totally sounded like it could be a me book that I had to check it out.

And this is probably one of my favorite things about reviewers or even people that just put a small opinion about the book - Review originally posted here. And this is probably one of my favorite things about reviewers or even people that just put a small opinion about the book - putting books on the radar that otherwise would have passed by without notice or making me give another shot about books that I had already discarded as not for me or not interested.

Right from the first chapter I knew I would finish this book and look out for other books of this author, because seriously the writing is so good - it's kind of a stream of thoughts but not really, I don't know how to explain but it was really raw and it was incredible easy to get into Montana's head and feel all her emotions without a filter. Montana's character was a curious thing for me, she reminded me a lot of me with 17, specially her impulsiveness when trying to escape her problems, so I think that if I had read this one earlier on my life it would have been a favorite, now that I'm older I could see the motives for her actions and understand her emotions but also I could look from a distance angle and analyze it better.

I really liked the way the relationships were written on this book, this was probably my favorite part of the story - Haydu has a way of picturing just how messy and complicated a close relationship can be no matter if it's with family, friends or lovers , how it doesn't matter how much you love someone and try to make it work sometimes it's impossible not to hurt each other, I especially loved the relationship between Montana, Arizona and their father, it showed in such a honest way how people can mess up with each other but also that this doesn't mean that there is any less love between them.

The romance was pictured really great, I think, it was realistic to a first love their intensity and need to be always together and how hard it was to picture a day when that love wasn't going to make sense. One of the things that bothered me was Karissa's character, she clearly has serious mental issues and it was addressed kind of, I don't know people took Montana serious? What did bothered me was the ending, it was a huge open ending, like seriously it was so big that it could lead to another book without any problem and I didn't enjoyed it, I usually don't have problems with open endings but I did had with this one - the main reason is the fact that nothing really seemed resolved, Montana's life is pretty fucked up on this summer and her relationship with her dad, best friend, sister, Karissa, Natasha and Bernardo are all a mess, so I was expecting that at the end we would come to a resolution of this summer you know but yeah no.

And I could have dealt with that, because life is messy and blablabla but Montana is basically running away from all her problems at the ending and is acting like everything will be okay with that and this bothered me a lot. Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, it was a crazy ride definitely, it made me laugh and make me heart hurt at times too and made me wish to be in love again but only the first months of being in love, without the messy parts of later.

I recommended it to everyone that loves a good contemporary story about growing up and first loves and summer on New York. Nov 22, Rebecca Unbound Pages rated it really liked it Shelves: This review and more can be found on my blog, The Library Canary. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion. I hate open endings. I want to be told. How should I know what happens to them? So when this b This review and more can be found on my blog, The Library Canary.

So when this book ended with, what was in my opinion, a non-ending it just really lowered my opinion. I loved the main character, Montana. Montana is your typical teen girl. Unsure of where she belongs or who she is. She has a rough home life. What a shitty environment for a teenage girl right? I felt so bad for Montana and I could really feel her pain.

Her pain at being abandoned by not only her biological mother, but all the stepmoms that came after. Her pain at her father not being around, or just being a critical asshole when he was around. And the pain of feeling like your sister and your best friend left you behind when they went off to college. Montana was layered and real. There were so many interesting aspects to this book. There were messages about body image and being happy with the way you look. There were messages about falling in love too fast and taking your time in life.

There were messages about the importance of family and how messed up life can get without it. And there were messages about friendships and how sometimes, they can be toxic. Corey Ann Haydu does a great job of teaching all these lessons and talking about all these issues in a way that feels unique and genuine. I would definitely love to be able to get this book into the hands of teenage girls. I think they could learn a lot from it; I know I did.

May 08, Nara rated it really liked it Shelves: Corey Ann Haydu is one of those authors that I feel is severely underrated. She's got two books out at the moment which both have only about a couple thousand ratings on Goodreads- despite them both being very honest, very realistic and just plain good. I'm going to say that Making Pretty is probably my least favourite of the three, although I should emphasise that that doesn't mean it was bad: Haydu has this way of developing the characters that makes them incredibly realistic. They're not always likeable, and the fluctuations in when you empathise with them and when they annoy you and when you just want to give them a big hug correlate well with how you'd react to a person in real life.

Montana is incredibly complex, and her relationships with Karissa and Arizona are even more so. When certain secrets are revealed throughout, the way in which Montana reacts to the dilemmas they give rise to are just the right balance of saddening and encouraging. The romance was perhaps where this book was a bit weak- the development of the romance wasn't quite as fleshed out as I would have liked.

I also didn't really like the love interest, but I think that was more so a personal issue- he just didn't have the type of personality I like in people in real life, much less in a book character. However, this wasn't a huge problem, since the romance was mostly a means of escape for Montana, rather than it being the main focus of the plot. I feel like where it ended was very abrupt- I could feel an ending coming up as I was reading, but was completely taken aback by how much unlike an ending the last few lines were.

I turned the page and saw "Acknowledgements" and couldn't believe that was how the book ended. I have been these girls. I am these girls.

Making Pretty

And I have worked with these girls for 20 years now. Corey Ann Haydu captures so much of these girls in pitch perfect ways I was moved to compassion for myself and every girl like me that has to weather the storm that is being a girl in contemporary society. Cultural messaging can be a harmful beast. The institutionalized and internalized image issues that get handed down to us in subtle and often unconscious ways can really mess with your head.

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We are constantly being told if we buy this and do that then it might make us more worthy, more loveable. The stories I could tell you. That I want to. The girls I have seen hurting. And before anyone leaves me a comment saying but what about the men, I will readily admit that men can and do struggle with body image issues, we have even written about that here at TLT. Entire industries are built on making women hate themselves.

There are so many perfectly written and emotive sentences that I am going to go back and write in my quote journal. There are so many girls and parents I want to hand this to and say here, read this.

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To the girls I want to say you are enough. This book is a great tool to help do that. Everyone — every man, woman, and teen — should read this book. I highly recommend it. Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a heady distraction in Bernardo. 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 now cannot find the Making Pretty genre. Still working in the library. Imma give to the head librarians.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting. I love this book.