cover image Making Pretty

Making Pretty

Corey Ann Haydu. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-229408-1

New York City native Montana, feeling abandoned now that both her older sister and her best friend have left for college, is thrilled to be hanging out with Karissa, a charismatic aspiring actress who’s 23 to Montana’s 17. When Montana’s sister, Arizona, returns home for the summer, a further betrayal awaits: Arizona has broken the sisters’ pledge to never have “work done” (their oft-remarried father is a plastic surgeon). Haydu’s (Life by Committee) dialogue shines, and she effectively conveys Montana’s confused yearnings and resentments (“Arizona is bustier and sadder, things that go hand in hand in my opinion”), but the plot soon becomes overly complicated. Karissa turns out to be involved with Montana and Arizona’s father, forcing the sisters to struggle with their loyalties; Montana acquires an excessively devoted boyfriend; and she’s still grappling with self-image and her father’s belief that every woman needs a surgical assist. The title suggests that this is Haydu’s focus, but the many plot developments—including multiple marriage proposals and visits to former stepmothers—leave the book feeling somewhat overstuffed and jumbled. Ages 14–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Gelfman Schneider. (May)