Such a Pretty Face: Short Stories About Beauty

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With stories by acclaimed and exciting new YA writers:

Louise Hawes
J. James Keels
Ron Koertge
Chris Lynch
Norma Fox Mazer
Lauren Myracle
Jamie Pittel
Anita Riggio
Mary Ann Rodman
Ellen Wittlinger
Jacqueline Woodson
Tim Wynne-Jones

A stellar line-up of young adult writers examines our relationship with beauty in stories that haunt, amuse, stir, and fascinate.

A beauty queen with a chin-hair problem, an aspiring model who would rather take pictures than be in them, a boy in love with the gorgeous nurse he's never seen, a girl named Beauty who feels like anything but-the teenagers in these dozen stories feel the power of beauty, whether it's to trap, save, torment, or comfort. In an era when image seems to have triumphed over virtue and reason, this timely, discussion-provoking collection asks young readers to think about what is truly beautiful.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
Beauty is a subject that affects almost every teenager worldwide. Ann Angel has gathered some of the best writers of young adult fiction in this short story collection. Every story involves beauty in some way, and every story has a funny, sympathetic protagonist. Most involve American teenagers, but we are given a different perspective on beauty in Mary Ann Rodman's "Farang," which takes place in Thailand. Although beauty is typically thought of as a female issue, there is a good representation of stories with male protagonists, courtesy of Chris Lynch, J. James Keels, and Tim Wynne-Jones. Some are absurdly funny, such as Lauren Myracle's "Bad Hair Day" with a fast-growing and eventually sentient chin hair. Some offer a different perspective, such as Ellen Wittlinger's "Cheekbones," where the narrator would rather be a photographer than a model. While the stories differ in tone, all of them are of equally excellent quality, and it's hard to pick a favorite. The book is entertaining enough that many teenagers will pick it up on their own. However, for the teacher who wishes to use this in the classroom, there are some good discussion questions included. A much-needed short story collection.
VOYA - Sophie Brookover
Is beauty a blessing or a curse? Is it both? Neither? Or is it something else altogether? This strong collection of engaging short stories about beauty suggests that the answer is different for everyone. Every story here is a tiny jewel, and the editor has wisely chosen stories reflecting the many definitions and ramifications of physical beauty. In Ron Koertge's title story, Melissa is beauty personified, but she is trapped in a lonely, friendless existence thanks to being permanently installed on a pedestal of gorgeousness. Zelly, the homecoming queen protagonist of Lauren Myracle's Bad Hair Day, makes peace with the world's most stubborn chin hair once the whisker's presence proves that her boyfriend loves her for herself, not her looks. A model in training chooses instead to hone her expertise behind the camera in Ellen Wittlinger's Cheekbones, and a hirsute Greek-American teen living in Sacramento comes to grips with his distinctly non-Californian brand of manliness when he realizes how much he resembles his beloved grandfather. This powerful, thought-provoking anthology will certainly find a place in public libraries. High school librarians are strongly urged to consider it for purchase, despite a few instances of profane language and several sexual references.
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up
This collection of short stories challenges the myths and expectations surrounding the stronghold of physical beauty and leads readers to consider the genuine essences of loveliness and personal power. A balanced cast of new names in young adult literature and those readily recognized, such as Ron Koertge, Lauren Myracle, Chris Lynch, Ellen Wittlinger, Jacqueline Woodson, Norma Fox Mazer, and Tim Wynne-Jones, explore these themes in a diverse gathering of quirky, serious, humorous, enticing, and, most importantly, thought-provoking tales from many perspectives. A girl seeks both uniqueness and acceptance by dying her hair blue and piercing her nose; a boy bravely approaches the girl of his dreams despite being embarrassed by his excessively hairy adolescent body; a tiny young man fantasizes about rescuing a gorgeous girl from her suicide; a Homecoming queen sprouts an unstoppable chin hair and fears disgrace; and a paralyzed boy is taken aback by his stunning nurse. The stories are all carefully crafted with messages more inherent than blatant, encouraging some enjoyable second readings to appreciate a few of them fully. As with Donald R. Gallo's Destination Unexpected (Candlewick, 2003), this collection will encourage readers to consider and explore new dimensions in human experiences and relationships.
—Diane P. TuccilloCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Combining contributions from established veterans and newcomers, this appealing anthology, with its baker's dozen of stories about beauty-a topic often on the minds of youth-offers a broad perspective. While some of the tales have thematic and plot similarities (there's a couple, for instance, in which girls use their looks to separate from their mothers), it boasts depth and range. Tim Wynne Jones's literary narrative about a physically small yet brilliant teen's heart-wrenching encounter with a suicidal beauty is a standout. Chris Lynch presents another gem that features a confident blend of humor and pathos as a boy flirts with the unseen nurse who cares for him after he breaks his back. There's a striking juxtaposition between Lauren Myracle's hilarious tall tale about a homecoming queen's chin hair that grows to Rapunzel-like proportions, and Louise Hawes's raw, tender chronicle about a 12-year-old who views a forbidden freak show in the 1950s. Authors' biographies and discussion questions are appended. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810916074
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 268
  • Age range: 7 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Angel is the author of six author biographies and works of criticism. She graduated from Vermont College's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program and currently teaches writing at the college level. She lives in Wisconsin.

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