Don’t mess with a girl with a great personality!
Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).
Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.
The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.
“Applying butt glue to my sister’s backside is, without question, not the first way I’d choose to spend a weekend.” Oh, but this is exactly how Lexi spends nearly every weekend as a part of Team Mackenzie and somewhere along the way, everything in Lexi’s life began to revolve around Team Mackenzie. Here are the many problems with this life: 1) Mackenzie is SEVEN; 2) the pageant life is utterly and completely ridiculous; 3) Mackenzie is SEVEN; 4) Lexi’s family absolutely does not have the money to maintain Team Mackenzie and; 5) Mackenzie is SEVEN!!
For Lexi, life at home is simply one misery after the next and has been ever since her mom and dad divorced and her mother lost her damn mind. Lexi’s mother is obsessed with pageant life and has made it abundantly clear only the beautiful and talented Mackenzie can bring she and her family any happiness, ever. This means nearly every meal is from a fast food restaurant as there is simply no time to cook or shop; every free minute is spent practicing a new routine, sewing a new costume and, being fitted for new fake crap like eyelashes and teeth (WTF??) and; driving to and from a new pageant each and every weekend.
Lexi is by far the most responsible person in her household and carries the load for everyone: she alters and repairs (at her mother’s request) her little sister’s pageant costumes, she calms Mackenzie when the child throws a fit during her hours of hair and makeup application, she goes to school full-time, she works a part-time job so she can have healthy foods at home (seriously!) and, with the exception of her two best friends has pretty much removed herself from social interactions. Lexi learned (from her mother!) a very long time ago she is not the pretty one and so she has spent years making sure she in no way stands out in a crowd. No make-up, no fancy clothes, no flirting, no interaction, nothing. Let’s be honest though, what high school girl hasn’t dreamed of being a part of the popular crowd? So, one day Lexi and her best friend Benny (who is all kinds of adorable) hatch a plan and strike a bargain: if Lexi will come out of her self-imposed shell Benny will strike up a conversation with his crush. Let the games begin!
Almost immediately Lexi begins to understand how her sister feels every weekend when she is all dolled up and strutting around on stage. Lexi’s make-over immediately draws attention and before long she is dating one of the cutest guys on campus, being invited to shop with the popular girls and finally making the invitation list for the cool kid parties. Unfortunately, Lexi also realizes much of the attention she is receiving (like her sister at a pageant) is based on her appearance and not her great personality. As my granny used to say, “Pretty is as pretty does” and Lexi soon figures out being popular isn’t all it is cracked up to be and even the popular kids have issues and attitudes.
In just a few short chapters, everything comes crashing down around Lexi in a spectacular way. Her little sister reveals how she really feels about pageants, her mother snaps the tether in a horrifically awful way, Lexi’s crush turns out to be an asshat of the highest order, and all the newfound popularity suddenly becomes far, far more trouble than it’s worth. Lexi is forced to acknowledge alot of ugly truths and deal with those truths and their consequences as best she can. Because of her home life, Lexi has been forced to mature quickly and is better able to handle the ugliness than most kids her age would be. It is truly remarkable how well Lexi pulls herself together and deals with the ginormous crap-storm she finds herself in.
The Bottom Line: I really liked this book but found so much of it truly disturbing. I don’t know the first thing about pageants but if what Eulberg has presented in this novel is anywhere close to the truth then those poor kids should be allowed to sue their parents for stupidity and child abuse. Can you sue for stupidity? The most stupid of them all is Lexi’s mother and I can honestly say I absolutely hated that woman and how she treats her children. On the flip side of the anger and hate, I felt genuine sympathy for both Lexi and Mackenzie and was so glad to see the two of them come together as sisters to help one another. I also very much like that Eulberg created a plot with scenes, scenarios, and situations which make sense for the time, the place, and the people involved. Taken as a whole, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is a well-written novel that I fear is far closer to reality (Hello! Toddlers and Tiara’s??) than we care to admit.