Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Edelweiss / Harper Collins
Rating: 2 out of 5
Having heard many positive things about Corey Ann Haydu’s previous contemporary novels, I was quite excited to pick up her latest YA, Making Pretty. The premise itself is intriguing: Montana is a teen girl living in NYC – however, she struggles to live life happily because of her father, a plastic surgeon who remarries and dates so often that there is no sense of consistency in her life. Montana’s bond with her sister, Arizona, also starts falling apart. I was sure I was in for a story about self-discovery with strong family elements. I got a bits and scraps of those qualities, but I was also surprised with some other aspects of the story that I didn’t enjoy at all.
First off, Montana is an extremely difficult character to like. I thought it was just going to be temporary and that we would see some character growth by the end. However, Montana doesn’t progress much at all. She’s extremely naive and complains so much about her life. Yes, her father isn’t the best father out there, but she makes it difficult to sympathize for her. 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.
Another quality in this story that isn’t the most favorable is how seemingly all of the characters drink heavily. I mean, these characters are in their prime time – late teens to early twenties – so it’s understandable that there is going to be some underage drinking, but these girls drink so much. No wonder they’re all so confused and impulsive. There’s drinking in every chapter. How am I supposed to trust Montana’s point of view when she’s drunk out of her mind half the time?
I’m not even quite sure what redeeming qualities there are for this book let alone how I stuck through the end. Perhaps Haydu’s writing is decent. I’m honestly quite disappointed with Making Pretty though, with its less-than-endearing main character and static character growth. I’m willing to give Haydu’s books another try though, but I’ll have to lower my expectations a bit.