Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Gorgeous is a modern fairy tale, probably the Ugly Duckling if anything. Becky Randle was a normal girl, maybe too normal. She was invisible and overlooked, resigned to an after-high school life of cashiering at a dollar store. After her mother dies, Becky finds a phone number that connects her with Tom Kelly, who is the most important fashion designer in the world.

Tom has a proposition for her: he will design her three dresses. These dresses, red, white, and black, will make her the most beautiful woman in the world. The red dress works, and Becky is transformed into Rebecca. She is offered movie roles and magazine covers, and all the fancy accommodations that come with being gorgeous. The one catch is that Rebecca has to fall in love and get married within a year or she will go right back to being plain Becky again.

It seems as though she will complete her task when Becky meets Prince Gregory. He is handsome and charitable. Becky knows that her life's goal is to marry the Prince and help him perform good deeds throughout the world. Despite some pitfalls, the two get on swimmingly. Then Becky starts to worry about whether Prince Gregory is really in love with her or Rebecca, the girl within or the pretty exterior.

So it's basically the Ugly Duckling, but if the duckling had an identity crisis after turning into the swan. The concept of inner beauty vs. outside appearance isn't new, but I still enjoyed the story here. This book was really charming. Becky is very likeable, and it's easy to root for her. There's also a bit of mystery surrounding her mother's connection to Tom Kelly. They never explain exactly how the dresses are able to transform Becky into Rebecca, but it's really better that way. I like my fairy tales to keep some of their magic, and as always, I love a happily ever after.

I received my copy of Gorgeous from Netgalley, courtesy of Scholastic Press. It's available for purchase now.

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