Synopses & Reviews
Fans of Walter Dean Myers and Rita Williams-Garcia's One Crazy Summer will cherish this gripping story of an African American girl living in 1980s Brooklyn, who overcomes abuse and neglect in discovering real friendship, self-respect, and that pretty and mean don't always win.
Girls who are pretty have a way of looking down their perfect noses at anyone they feel isn’t worthy of sharing the air with them. They have a way of making regular girls like me feel inferior for not winning the gene pool lottery. Tormenting them is my way of getting even.
Everyone knows that pretty equals mean, and Evelyn Ryder used to be a beautiful movie star—never mind that it was practically a lifetime ago. There’s no time limit on mean. So if you think I feel guilty about mugging her, think again.
But for something that should have been so simple, it sure went horribly wrong. See, I think I might have killed that old movie star. Accidentally, of course. And I’m starting to believe that my actions have cursed me, because nothing in my life has gone right since then.
That’s why I’m returning to the scene of the crime. To see if there’s any chance that old lady might still be alive. To see if I might be able to turn my luck around. Maybe my life can be different. But if I want things to change, I’m gonna have to walk the straight and narrow. And that means no more revenge.
A JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION
“This exhilarating, generous-hearted tale with a smart, funny, caustically observant protagonist is about so much more than revenge: distinguishing what matters from what doesn’t, taking risks, making mistakes and paying for them. . . . Like Siobhan Vivian in The List, Blythe explores issues of physical appearance in rare depth. Some mistakes aren’t fixable, Faye learns, but she’ll keep trying to fix them anyway. Solidly grounded in the gritty realities of daily life, Faye’s discoveries feel earned. A compelling and believable journey.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“Faye’s mother is realistically flawed, as are all of the adults in the novel, and Blythe offers no easy solutions for turning one’s life around. The tough-talking Faye slips up and her road to maturity isn’t smooth. This realistic portrayal of emotions, decisions, and hardships will appeal to teens who are also struggling with their identities.”—School Library Journal
“Blythe, in her first book for teens, explores karma, guilt, morality, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. . . . Faye’s narration is strong and increasingly sympathetic as the story goes on . . . the story provides a thoughtful glimpse of what it’s like to reevaluate one’s life at any age.”—Publisher’s Weekly
“Faye’s story is deeply embedded in the African-American popular culture of Brooklyn in 1984, but she will resonate strongly with contemporary readers in any setting as she actively tries to sort out her moral values in accordance with her desires . . . Faye develops credibly from angry, unlikable teen, who wants to take as much as she can get, to someone who wishes to give more forgiveness and understanding than she’s received, making this a well-told story of an empowering friendship.”—The Bulletin, Recommended
“Revenge of A Not-So Pretty Girl is about urban life and unlikely alliances—it's definitely a page turner!”—Seventeen.com
"Blythe, in her first book for teens, explores karma, guilt, morality, and taking responsibility for one's actions. In 1984, 14-year-old Faye lives with her volatile and overworked mother (an immigrant from the Caribbean island of Dominica) near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., where nice and not-so-nice neighborhoods rub shoulders. Faye and two of her friends occasionally mug 'pretty, stuck-up girls with loads of extra cash in their pockets,' seeing it as a way to put them in their place. But when they rob Evelyn, an 80-year-old former film star, and injure her, Faye decides that she's gone too far. Both lonely, Faye and Evelyn develop an unexpected friendship, connecting over Evelyn's secrets and regrets, and the drama Faye endures with friends and at home. While Faye's narration is strong and increasingly sympathetic as the story goes on, the plot takes some time to unfold and the dialogue can be long-winded. Still, the story provides a thoughtful glimpse of what it's like to reevaluate one's life at any age. Ages 12 up. Agent: Katie Shea, Donald Maass Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Faye doesn't mean to hit the old lady she and her friends are mugging. But she does. The old lady isn't moving, but Faye has no reason to feel guilty for leaving her there. The old lady might be ancient and wrinkly now. But back in the day, she was as beautiful as they come—a famous movie star. And everyone knows that pretty and mean always go together. But Faye does feel guilty. So she comes back. Slowly, Faye and the old lady form an unlikely friendship, one that pulls Faye out of her life with her abusive mother and destructive "friends" and allows the old lady relief from her loneliness. But in an unfair world in which the pretty girls, no matter how mean, always seem to get everything, while Faye gets nothing, will Faye be able to keep from slipping back to her old ways? Will her mother ever be happy? Will her father ever come home to stay? And what if Faye goes her whole life without Michael Jackson ever loving her back? Faye is an honest, straightforward narrator who is likable even in her most flawed moments and will be cheered on by readers of every age and from every walk of life.
About the Author
CAROLITA BLYTHE was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in New York City. A graduate of Syracuse University, she currently resides in Los Angeles, where, when not writing novels, she works behind the scenes on popular television shows. Her debut novel was entitled The Cricket's Serenade. She has also published travel articles and short stories. An avid traveler, Carolita is a New Yorker at heart, who spends summers worshiping the Yankees and autumns pulling for the Jets.