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Pretty Face
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Pretty Face

4.1 37
by Mary Hogan

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Hayley wishes she could love living in Santa Monica, blocks from the beach, where every day -- and everybody—is beautiful and sunny. But she just doesn't fit in with all the blond, superskinny Southern California girls who have their plastic surgeons on speed dial. Hayley is smart and witty and has such a pretty...face. Translation: Don't even think about putting on a


Hayley wishes she could love living in Santa Monica, blocks from the beach, where every day -- and everybody—is beautiful and sunny. But she just doesn't fit in with all the blond, superskinny Southern California girls who have their plastic surgeons on speed dial. Hayley is smart and witty and has such a pretty...face. Translation: Don't even think about putting on a bikini, much less dating superhot Drew Wyler. A bikini will never be flattering, and Drew will never think of her as more than a friend.

Just when Hayley feels doomed to live her life in the fat lane, her parents decide to send her to Italy for the summer -- not for school, not for fat camp, just for fun. It's there, under the Italian sun, that Hayley's vision of herself starts to change. She's curvy, not fat. Pizza isn't evil. And life is so much more than one-size-fits-all. Who knows? Once Hayley sees herself in a new light, maybe the girl with the pretty face will finally find true amore.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Overweight Hayley is tired-of Southern California, "where there are more gym memberships than library cards," of her mother's nagging about her diet and, especially, of being told she has a pretty face, a "veiled insult" if ever there was one. When her parents send her to spend the summer with friends in Italy, hoping to help her escape the pressure over body image, she is thrilled. Hayley does discover a healthier, happier way of life in Umbria; however, Hogan (Perfect Girl ) casts a rose-colored lens on the experience (in addition to having her own beautiful cottage and easy-going chaperones, Hayley falls in love with a turquoise-eyed boy who says things like, "I can't look at you without knowing you will soon leave me"). Even so, Hayley commands a sharp wit and delivers smart insights. Like Hayley, readers will question an American culture that is both thin-obsessed and dependent on fast food and cars, but this novel is not so much issues-oriented as a conduit of vicarious pleasure. Ages 14-up. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Foucart
Haylee has a pretty face, but living in Santa Monica, California, a pretty face does not seem to be enough. Her mother is always telling her to work out and eat better, even purchasing a talking scale in the hopes that hearing her weight aloud every morning will somehow help. Finally, in an attempt to let Haylee grow up and figure out her own issues, her parents allow her to spend the summer in Italy with her mother's college friend, Patrice and her family. Haylee finds Italy beautiful and soon falls in love with her new surroundings and her summer family, but will the ghosts of Haylee's problems follow her across the ocean, or will she really turn her life around? Packed with stories about learning to love life and yourself, Haylee's journey to acceptance is one many teenage girls will recognize and welcome. This book does contain some non-gratuitous sexuality, and is recommended for a slightly older teen audience. Reviewer: Kathleen Foucart
VOYA - C. J. Bott
Sixteen-year-old Hayley is a girl with curves who lives in Santa Monica where thin is not only in, it rules. Her mother is a compulsive dieter and tofu pusher, so life is not easy for Hayley. Food is her drug of choice, and her extreme bingeing is always linked to a boy. Following a suggestion from her mother's therapist, Hayley's parents decide she needs an escape from the pressures and send her to Italy for the summer where she will stay with her mother's college friend. Hogan provides humorous scenes with Hayley sliding the scale around the bathroom floor to find the most weight friendly spot; painful scenes when she orders pizza for a party and then eats it alone in her car parked near a dumpster to get rid of the evidence; and escape scenes in Italy that will make any teen want to google Assisi, Italy, and fantasize about living in a tower and sharing the tower bed with a nice Italian boy. But the writing is uneven, and when Italy enters the story, it becomes the main character. The novel is an escape-chick lit for teens who fantasize about leaving their lives and finding romance-something teens need as much as adults. Hayley has her escape but she does not learn any coping skills to help her deal with her dependence on food or boys. Reviewer: C. J. Bott
AGERANGE: Ages 15 to 18.

High school junior Hayley struggles with her weight. She wants to be thin, but she can’t quite summon up the discipline to exercise and stick to good nutrition. Her mother is no help; she nags and pesters Hayley until Hayley takes refuge in a large pepperoni pizza. Then there is Drew, the boy Hayley definitely wants to know better. She and Drew become friends and Hayley is convinced that he really likes her for who she is, not what she looks like. The truth that Drew would like to date her best friend Jackie is devastating. Realizing that her daughter is in need of more than just a good diet, Hayley’s mom arranges for her to spend the summer in Umbria, Italy with a former college friend who lives in the hills outside of the ancient city of Assissi. The heat, the lack of American fast food and the reliance on her own feet start to make a difference for Hayley physically; the opportunity to be independent helps her emotionally. Hayley becomes friends with Enzo, a young man who works in his mother’s café. He shows her the real Italy and helps Hayley build a true self-image, one that includes her budding sexuality. Hayley has a witty voice and high school readers will connect with her longing to be more than who she is. Her journey to accept herself is true to life, but the sexual encounter, while not graphic, nonetheless adds a very adult dimension to the novel. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up- Hayley is an overweight junior with a "pretty face" and a good story to tell. She feels the pressure to have a beautiful body in her Santa Monica high school and at home, with a mother who has recently lost weight and now insists that the whole family eat mass amounts of tofu. The bright spot in the teen's life is her upcoming date with Drew, but then he expresses an interest in Jackie. Worried that her life in Santa Monica is too stressful, her parents suggest a 10-week visit with family friends living in Italy, and Hayley jumps at the idea. As soon as school lets out, she is on her way, with a plan to lose 30 pounds and make over her life. Once she settles into life in Umbria, though, she indulges in the local cuisine and the local tendency to walk or bike everywhere. Over the course of the summer, Hayley does lose a bit of weight, but, more importantly, she gains a sense of self and has a little romance along the way. Told with a more realistic voice than the weight-obsessed fat camp participants in Sasha Paley's Huge (S & S, 2007), Pretty Face offers a positive example of a teen who simply needs to get away from her old routines and view her life from a new perspective.-Sarah Krygier, Solano County Library, Fairfield, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Stuck in body-conscious southern California, hanging out with a perfectly proportioned best friend and living with a mom obsessed with slimming down, the overweight Hayley's chances at happiness are as slim as she wants to be. However, when her concerned parents generously offer to send her to Italy for the summer to live with her mom's college roommate, Hayley's luck seems to be changing. Determined to shed pounds, Haley arrives in Umbria prepared to count calories; however, she almost immediately falls into the slow-paced rhythm of her host family that relies heavily on Italy's rich food culture. At first guiltily giving into chewy breads and salty cheeses, Hayley soon learns that food isn't the enemy and with determination naturally and healthily balances her weight. Beautifully written descriptions of the Italian countryside contrast with gritty details of California, highlighting Hayley's transformation and adding depth to her character to make her much more than a pretty face. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.81(d)
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Pretty Face

Chapter One

Mom bought me a digital scale.

"So you can't lie to yourself," she said. I glared at her, my right foot jutting forward.

"God, Mom," I scoffed. "I mean, God."

What else could I say? She was totally right. Yesterday, I shunted my rusty old IKEA scale all over the bathroom floor looking for the most favorable reading. Turns out, you can shave a full five pounds off if you put the bottom half of the scale on the bath mat, hang your toes off the front, and squint.

Today, it's no such luck. The digital scale won't read anything at all unless it's on a level surface. Thanks a lot, Mom.

Behind the locked bathroom door, I pee, kick off my slippers, drop my robe, step out of my pajama pants, and lift my cotton cami over my head. Taking a deep breath, I exhale hard, blowing all the air out of my body. Contracting it as much as possible. Then I step on my new digital scale.

I hear a sound.

Beep. Then a loud, robotic voice.

"One hundred and—"

Horrified, I leap off the scale. Mom bought me a scale that talks!? Is she out of her mind? Not only do I have to see the bloated number glow accusingly at me in a hideous green light, I have to hear the bad news, too? What else will it say?

Shave your legs, slacker. Would a pedicure kill you? Think you'll ever have a boyfriend with those thighs?

Mom shrieks through the closed bathroom door. "I'm calling Dr. Weinstein."

"Mother!" I shriek back. "Can't I have any privacy?"

"Your brother weighs less than you, Hayley. Do you want to weigh more than a boy?"

"His brain is only an ounce. Mine ispacked with weighty knowledge."

Mom presses her mouth up to the doorjamb. "I'm only thinking of your health."

I roll my eyes and turn on the shower.

"If you keep going like this," she says into the crack of the door, "you're going to weigh as much as two people."

"I've always wanted a sister," I reply. Then I get in the shower and let the hot water drown out my mother's voice.

The awful scale accusation echoes through my brain. Thirty pounds from where I should be. If only I were taller—five foot eleven, instead of five foot five! I press my eyes shut, feel the disgusting curve of my bowling-ball belly as I soap up. My arms are soft and fleshy. Even my toes are fat.

I hate myself.

Turning the cold water down, I feel my skin burn. I stand there as long as I can take it.

"Today," I say out loud, "I will be good. Salad for lunch. No dressing."

Quickly washing and rinsing my long brown hair, I step out of the shower and grab a towel before I can see my hideous pink reflection in the steamy bathroom mirror.

"Yes," I repeat. "Today I'll be good."

Mom is gone. Ragging on Dad somewhere, no doubt. Which is good because no way can I stomach one of her evangelical lectures about portion control. There's nothing worse than a former fatty who found God in fresh fruits and vegetables.

"If I can do it, you can, too!" she chirps constantly.

"Can you find the square root of sixty-four?" I asked her.

"Hayley . . . ," she said, with a disapproving look.

"See?" I replied. "We can't both do everything. There are differences between the two of us."

Mom doesn't get it. I want to be thin. Hell, I want to be America's Next Top Model, if only to out-bitch the other anorexics. But something goes awry every time I try. I don't know what it is. I think I'm improperly wired. My need to feed is stronger than my desire to—literally—fit in.

Standing before my open closet door, I flip through my clothes. Then I moan. They can put a lunar rover on Mars! Why can't they make jeans that don't make my ass look like Jupiter?

Pretty Face. Copyright (c) by Mary Hogan . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Mary Hogan grew up near the beaches of Southern California (Bikinis! Aargh!), but currently lives in New York City with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Axel. She is the author of Perfect Girl, The Serious Kiss, Susanna Sees Stars, and Susanna Hits Hollywood.

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Pretty Face 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Hayley's self esteem plummets even further when the guy she's been crushing on asks her if she thinks her best friend would date him. She leaves the beach, a place that she hates due to all the skinny girls in bikinis, and eats an entire large pepperoni pizza without tasting it.

When she arrives back home, her mother can sense there's something wrong, but she's more concerned about her daughter's weight than her emotional health. Then her mother delivers the news: she's sending Hayley to Italy for the summer to live with her old college roommate. She hopes that this trip will help her daughter lose weight.

At first, Hayley is hesitant and yet excited about traveling. Part of her wants to lose weight and make her mother happy, but she simply loves food.

Once in Italy, Hayley begins to relax and adapt to the Italian way of life. She finds beauty in nature, the old buildings, the delicious food, and, finally, herself. She discovers the freedom to become comfortable in her own skin.

While Hayley's weight issues drive her actions, the primary focus of PRETTY FACE deals with finding and appreciating yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book! The main character Hayley reminded me of myself full of wit and humor yet lacking self confidence. The way she was portrayed was excellent. The part in the book when her crush hits her with the biggest bomb out there, in the form of a question of course, really got to me. While on a "date" Drew asked Hayley if she thought Jackie, her BEST friend, would go out with him. You can tell Hayley is a quality character when she tells him she would talk Jackie for him. She told her best friend that she got the green light but Jackie wanted someone else. because Hayley struggled with her weight her "health freak" mother decides to help her out. after a while her parents decided they were pushing Hayley too hard to maintain her weight they decided to try something new. Hayley's mother had a friend from college married an Italian man and moved to Italy. Patrice De Luca had invited Hayley to spend the whole summer with her and her family in Italy. while in Italy Hayley planned to completely change. she walked everywhere and tried her best to eat a certain number of calories a day. soon she saw a boy with dark hair, blue eyes and a slight gap between his teeth. Hayley found him very intriguing yet she didn't see him for a while. she started her ascent to the top of "Major Rock" after becoming stressed about drew and Jackie hanging out together then going on a binge snacking of nothing but fattening pastries. after making it so far up she finally stopped to eat in a small café. The woman behind the counter only spoke Italian. She asked someone to come out and there he was. the boy Hayley had seen a few days prior. He now had a name, Enzo. Hayley and Enzo became close they went on a park date and things got heated. Enzo said that they should meet up later that night in Hayley's guest house where he would bring protection. They gave themselves to the other and Hayley knew she was in love. she told Jackie the news and the day came when Hayley was to leave for California yet again. She was sad to leave because she found herself in Italy. she was no longer just the funny girl with the pretty face she was finally Hayley, a Hayley she was proud of. the de Luca family made her feel wanted and Enzo made her feel beautiful. when she got home things were a tad emotional. her mother treated the family to veggie pizza at domino's and they caught up. she told Jackie everything that happened. drew and Jackie never did date and Hayley kept in touch regardless of the 6,000 miles between them. So yes, I loved this book and can't wait to read more by Mary Hogan. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a quick yet interesting read. It is very enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From just reading the sample this book is very well writen with more of a modern touch i hope to read more from this author and have high expectations.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hailey's humor and way of seeing the world make this a very enjoyable read! Such a cute story, I loved it! :D
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FreakyROMANTIC More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing because because it covers true beauty, outside beauty, finding beauty within you, love, and self-esteem. The guy she falls in love with at the end is absolutely amazing and i really wish i had someone like him. He called her beautiful and told her she had an amzing woman body and well plus he is Italian!!HOT!!!anyway you have to read it if you are struggling with finding love or beauty with in you. Here are some other books by Mary Hogan (i love mary hogan: (to the Left)
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BigApple More than 1 year ago
This was a really cute book! My only criticsm is that it kinda droned on for a while and i really wanted something to just happen! i really would have liked her lover to come sooner in the story. Overall tho, it was really sweet and funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago