Title: Making Pretty
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Series: No series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Published: May 12th, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5)
The summary of Making Pretty from Goodreads:
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.
With Arizona wrapped up in her college world and their father distracted by yet another divorce, Montana’s been immersing herself in an intoxicating new friendship with a girl from her acting class. Karissa is bold, imperfectly beautiful, and unafraid of being vulnerable. She’s everything Montana would like to become. But the friendship with Karissa is driving a wedge between Montana and her sister, and 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 heady 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?
This isn’t going to be a book everyone loves. The characters aren’t great people, the storyline isn’t perfect, and it can be hard to connect to at times. Yet, I thought it was a fantastic book that explored relationships and their effect on people.
Montana and Arizona have always been together. They are sisters who stand by each other, have inside jokes, can communicate secrets with a look. They back each other up and know that their relationship is one of the few stable forces in their lives. But after Arizona changes during her first year of college, Montana is left feeling adrift. The one piece of stability in her life has changed and she’s trying to find something new to calm her.
Karissa has possibilities. She’s not the type of person Montana is, but she pushes Montana to explore herself, to try and find who she really is. Bernardo is the cute buy Montana feels a connection with who finally seems to just accept Montana as Montana.
Every relationship in this book is vital. Each one has an effect on how Montana views herself and the world. Her father’s obsession with making people “perfect,” yet always finding their flaws. The rotating stepmothers who never stick around long enough to mean anything. The sister who changed in a way Montana never thought possible. The boy who accepts her.
Montana has trust issues. She has confidence issues. She’s trying to decide what is important to her and who she wants to become. She doesn’t want to be influenced by anyone other than herself, but she can’t help but find herself changing because of the people around her. Montana has to learn that she can’t depend on others for stability of her life, but needs to understand how to find her own peace.
I wish Bernardo and Montana’s friend Roxanne had been fleshed out a little more. I think the relationship between them and Montana was more important than the characters themselves, but I wish they were a little more three dimensional.
I also have a problem with the casual use of drinking, but more so the casual smoking. I know this is just a personal thing, but I really get annoyed when characters casually smoke and don’t understand that it’s not cool.
I think fans of contemporary, young adult novels will enjoy this book. It’s a little deeper and heavy than some books, so I don’t think it’s really for people who just want to be happy while they read. It takes time to connect with the characters and there’s not a perfect, happy resolution.
Thank you to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegan Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.