Friday, May 08, 2015

Review: Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu

Title: Making Pretty
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: May 12th 2015
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Edelweiss - I received a free advance eGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - thanks!
Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life. Her father is distracted by yet another divorce, and she’s growing apart from her sister. Then she meets wild, bold Karissa, who encourages Montana to live in technicolor and chase new experiences. But the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.
In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a beautiful distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I've loved both OCD Love Story and Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, but the description of Making Pretty sounded kind of vague, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Luckily, I ended up enjoying it just as much as Corey Ann Haydu's previous novels! I understand now why the description is vague, because the whole novel isn't really about one thing in particular (or at least not something you could give away on the back cover) - but it totally works. Corey Ann Haydu has impressed me yet again!

Corey Ann Haydu really knows how to write a voice that will draw you in - I loved reading Montana's story! Montana is relatable and I felt for her, but what I loved most is that she's different from most contemporary YA heroines. She's so complex that I can't really describe her or classify her as a type - which I think is a good thing. She makes some pretty bad decisions, but she's unique, and I loved her for it.

The secondary characters are equally complex and unique. Karissa is probably the most intriguing character - she is seriously messed up, and I wish we had gotten to see more of where she's coming from, especially when things got bad towards the end. I loved Montana's relationship with her sister, Arizona, too - I always love sister stories, and this relationship is definitely complex and well-written. Montana and Arizona's father is a great character, too - he's the villain of the story, in a way, but there's so much more to him than that. I just wish we had gotten to hear more of him about why he stays with this new wife through everything she does, because I never understood what he saw in her. Then there's Bernardo, whom I really liked, too - their relationship is a little bit insta-love-y, but I didn't mind because that's addressed as an issue throughout the novel.

I feel like a lot of people will take issue with the ending because it's very open, and you could say that nothing has really been resolved, which is true. But I didn't really mind - I think this kind of ending works better with the story than one that is unrealistically optimistic. The novel is more about the journey and about Montana's character growth over the course of the story, so I kind of liked that the choices are left up to her at the end.

I can't really put my finger on why exactly I liked this book so much - which seems to be a common theme with me and Corey Ann Haydu's books. There isn't one thing about Making Pretty that I absolutely loved, but the writing and voice are so engrossing that I didn't want to stop reading, and that's what matters most, in my opinion. I don't know if this is my favorite book by Corey Ann Haydu because they're hard to compare, but I did really enjoy it!


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