Outside Beauty

Outside Beauty

by Cynthia Kadohata
4.3 12


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Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata

"My mother had four daughters by four different men."

There's only one way Shelby and her sisters can describe their mother: She's a sexpot. Helen Kimura collects men (and loans, spending money, and gifts of all kinds) from all over the country. Sure, she's not your typical role model, but she's also not just a pretty face and nail polish. She is confident and brave; she lives life on her own terms, and her four daughters simply adore her. These girls have been raised outside the traditional boundaries. They know how to take the back exit. They know how to dodge crazed lovers in highway car chases. They do not, however, know how to function without one another.

Then suddenly they must. A late-night phone call unexpectedly shreds the family apart, catapulting the girls across the country to live with their respective fathers. But these strong-willed sisters are, like their mother, determined to live life on their own terms, and what they do to pull their family back together is nothing short of beautiful.

At turns wickedly funny and insistently thought-provoking, Outside Beauty showcases Cynthia Kadohata's unerring ability to explore the bonds that bind.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416998181
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: 12/22/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 265
Sales rank: 823,854
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, Half a World Away, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her hockey-playing son and dog in West Covina, California.

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Outside Beauty 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
WishStealer More than 1 year ago
This book isn't exactly what I expected, but it turns out to be very good. Shelby and her sisters all want to be like their mother--beautiful, flirty, and has the ability to make any man fall head over heels for her. But when Shelby's mom has an emergency, the sister needs to be divided and live with their own fathers, four different men. They try to stay in contact, but they are afraid Maddie is changing because of her strict father. A story about what's it like to be separated from the ones you love the most.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
It's always been Shelby, her mom, and her three sisters. The story is told through Shelby's eyes. She is the second eldest of the four. They live in an untraditional family, to say the least. Each of the sisters has a different father. And they each have different ancestry, as well. One is half Japanese, half Italian. One is half Japanese and half Chinese. One is half Japanese and half Anglo. And Shelby is all Japanese.

Their mom has always been on the quest for eternal beauty and the rich husband. None of the girls' fathers have satisfied her, even though Lakey's father, Larry, wants to marry her. It's only after learning of Larry's engagement to another woman that Helen realizes what she could've had.

Even with the bizarre family ties, the girls and their mother are close. They do everything together. And though maybe unconventional, their mother has done a good job raising the girls. It's only after her mother is in a serious car accident that their world crumbles. Since none of the girls are legally adults, Helen must arrange homes for the girls while she recovers.

It is decided that each of the girls will go to live with their respective fathers. Shelby has only seen her father a handful of times. Jiro is a reserved man, living a quiet life in Arkansas. Except for the fact that he dresses terribly uncool, as the summer unfolds, Shelby realizes he's not a bad man, just unknown to her.

It's Maddie that has the worst situation. Her father, Mr. Bronson, has been legally trying to obtain custody of her, stating Helen is an unfit mother. He's a stern disciplinarian, and Maddie's personality starts to disappear, living in his oppressive home.

When notified that their mother may die, all the girls are flown home to be with her. The girls take matters into their own hands when they fear that they could be permanently separated if the worst happens. They will do anything they can to keep their family unit together, and to save Maddie.

Ms. Kadohata writes a powerfully moving novel of four girls struggling to keep the lives they've always known. Separated from each other, they can barely survive. Looking in from the outside, the reader knows what is going on, but feels powerless to stop the momentum that is driving their lives. After reading OUTSIDE BEAUTY, the reader will come away with a wonderful feeling of family, and of how love can pull you through anything.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Mcraven More than 1 year ago
this is a great book it shows how to be strong you should all way look up to your mother
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As I said in the headline, I expected Cynthia Kadohata's book, Outside Beauty, to be amazing, just like the rest of her works. The majority of her book was flashbacks from previous times in the sisters lives, which were used to tell the present story. At times, this could become boring and like a long string of words. Sometimes, it was very hard to tell whether the narrator, Shelby, was talking about something in the present or the past. So, I waited and waited for something big to happen, and it eventually did. They were split up to live with their own fathers. I felt that Shebly was being very hard on her father, Jiro. I understand she must have felt upset about the trajedy and wanted to be with her sisters, but she never gave Jiro a chance until he did something for her in return. I felt very sorry for Jiro. And I felt the mother, since she did have SO many men in her life, she seemed to not set a very good example for her childern. In her life, beauty is everthing, which isn't necessarily true. Once the mother was going through all that trajedy, she still only thought about her makeup. And her daughters, frankly, dress like hobags. Every time they wake up, they put on tanktops and too-tight jeans. That's really...mature for a 13 year old. One positive note is that I liked the main character. She seemed very smart and I agreed with her on most things. Another positive was the writing. No doubt that Kadohata is a great writer, I just didn't really like the stroy. In the end, the values taught were nonexistant. The main character went through not a lot of change, which could have made the stroy great. But she did pretty much stay the same, so I didn't like the story that much.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sounds good but im in the middle of reading a phyllis reynolds naylor book she is awesome so after i will read this book.