Paul Rudnick (I Shudder) makes a smashing YA debut with this novel about what truly makes someone beautiful, the doors that beauty opens and the responsibility that comes with opportunity.

On Becky Randle's 18th birthday, her 400-pound mother dies. Before Becky left the house that morning, her mother told her, "Something is going to happen to you, and it's going to be magical." That magical something is a phone number for Tom Kelly, a world-famous designer. He offers Becky $1,000 and a plane ticket to New York, and she leaves behind her trailer park in East Trawley, Mo. Becky learns that Tom Kelly plucked her mother out of a crowd of schoolgirls when she was 16 and built her into an icon of fashion and beauty. He makes Becky a promise: if she'll wear three dresses he'll design for her, he will transform her into "the most beautiful woman who has ever lived." Partly to discover this secret past of her mother's, and partly to see if Tom can do as he promises, Becky agrees.

Rudnick delivers a timely novel that will draw in teens with its razor-sharp one-liners and observations about our culture of instantaneous social commentary, and keep them planted in these pages until they find out whether Becky will be brainwashed by fame and fortune or remain the girl from the Show-Me State. She grapples with the central dilemma of becoming an adult: as much as it seems like someone else is in charge, ultimately, you determine your own destiny. --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

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