Beauty Shop for Rent: ...fully equipped, inquire within

Laura Bowers, Author . Harcourt $17 (328p) ISBN 978-0-15-205764-0

Fourteen-year-old Abbey Garner, the star of Bowers's debut novel, has lived with her great-grandmother Granny Po since her mother abandoned her three years earlier. Abbey believes the women in her family are cursed because, starting with Granny Po, each had a baby by age 17. (“Not only did the women in my family inherit overly fertile eggs, they each married men who were total, complete, and absolute duds.”) Abbey is determined to avoid the same fate; instead, she intends to become a millionaire by age 35. Working at her grandmother's beauty shop and on her neighbor's horse farm, Abbey is well on her way to her financial goal, yet she still hopes to be reunited with her mother. Then Gena Hopkins breezes into town and rents Granny Po's beauty shop, transforming it into a posh day spa and giving Abbey a new job and an ambitious, entrepreneurial role model. During a rare visit, Abbey's mother promises they'll be reunited as soon as she can afford a down payment on a house. Reluctantly, Abbey hands over her savings, but she soon discovers her mother has deceived her. Teens will find Abbey's emotional turmoil rings true, as does the reason behind her final act of forgiveness. But it's the multigenerational friendships—the feisty, sniping conversations with Granny Po and her close circle of friends, “The Widows,” brim with humor—that make Bowers's first novel a delight. Ages 12–up. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/21/2007
Release date: 05/01/2007
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-15-206385-6
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-547-53726-9
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