Sophomore Nic Summers tries to ignore the taunts of “ugly lesbian.” Because she’s not sure they’re entirely wrong. But she also has bigger concerns for now, including prepping for the school’s art contest. And while she isn't certain of her sexuality, she does know her life is on the verge of falling apart when her best and only friend, Sam, drops the bomb that her family’s moving to Scotland. Together, to soften the blow and distract themselves from the inevitable, they start Operation Social Interaction for Nic—or OSIN for short—to try to find her some new friends. But it’s an uphill battle for the introverted teen artist. As Sam’s last day nears, Nic's self-confidence wavers even more, and she starts questioning everything. If lesbian doesn’t feel quite right, maybe she’s transgender? It isn’t until she stumbles across the label “gender nonconforming” that things start to make a little more sense, and fall into place. But finding the right label doesn’t really tell her what to do next, and before she knows it, Sam is gone. Mustering all her resources, Nic realizes she needs to find her own path and live her own truth.
After eating a Lean Cuisine cheese ravioli, I tossed the plastic tray into the trash and dropped the fork in the dishwasher.
Back to my drawing, which I’d been prepping since I got home. I was set up in the dining room because I was working on a poster-sized piece of thick white paper. It was almost as big as the desk in my room, so there’d be no way to do it in there. I was lucky my mom encouraged my drawing.
I’d done a super-light sketch of the whole drawing to get the scale right. It would be so awesome. It would be my best piece for the contest. And I needed to do well in the contest this year and next year if I was to have any chance of getting into a good art school.
I looked at the paper, trying to decide where to start when my dad came in from the den. He was still in his nice work pants. His curly hair was getting long.
“Yeah?” I was thinking I’d start with one of the snow-covered shrubs since it was roughly centered. I could work out from there so I didn’t end up squishing one of the dragons off the page if my scale was off.
He stood next to me. “When your mom gets home, we’re going to have a family meeting.”
“What?” I turned to look at him and saw a barely perceptible frown on his face, which was weird. Also, we had literally never had a family meeting before.
4 out of 5 (very good)
UGLY is a realistic story about a girl who doesn't fit in - anywhere. She is bullied at school, doesn't have any friends, the list goes on. And what made this such a good read is that she is completely 'normal' - whatever that is.
Nic is slightly overweight, doesn't like makeup or other girly-girl things, likes a boy who doesn't like her, and tries her hardest but doesn't always succeed. How refreshing to read about someone who isn't perfect! And then, to top it off, she stays that way throughout the book. There is no sudden weight loss and she's suddenly popular; she doesn't suddenly gain a boyfriend who smooths the way for her. She doesn't decide to change for the sake of conformity. She remains true to herself throughout, realising that not everyone is horrible, and some people will actually take her as they find her, without trying to change her. She doesn't have the answers, and that's okay.
I found the pacing to be smooth and the story flowed. It had ups and downs as Nic figured things out about her life. This book is unlike many others, and I thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. Definitely recommended by me.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop. She now lives near Seattle with three cats who help her write her stories by strategically walking across the keyboard, with her first novel, Finding Frances, a fine example of this technique. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Oklahoma City University’s Red Earth program.
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