A must-read for budding young feminists, The Prettiest is an incisive, empowering novel by Brigit Young about young women fighting back against sexism and objectification.
THE PRETTIEST: It’s the last thing Eve Hoffmann expected to be, the only thing Sophie Kane wants to be, and something Nessa Flores-Brady knows she’ll never be . . . until a list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.
Eve is disgusted by the way her body is suddenly being objectified by everyone around her. Sophie is sick of the bullying she’s endured after being relegated to number two. And Nessa is tired of everyone else trying to tell her who she is.
It’s time for a takedown. As the three girls band together, they begin to stand up not just for themselves, but for one another, too.
Brigit Young is the author of three middle grade novels: WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, THE PRETTIEST, and BRIGHT. Her debut middle grade novel, WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, was a 2019 Bankstreet Best Book for Ages 12-14 and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her sophomore book, THE PRETTIEST, was listed on Seventeen Magazine's "45 Books You Can't Put Down," and NBC News's "Celebrating Every Body: 9 Books to Help Young Girls Build a Positive Image." Additionally, Brigit has published poetry and short fiction in dozens of literary journals and taught creative writing to kids of all ages.
Brigit lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughters. She loves British mystery TV shows, playing make believe with her kids, drinking lots of coffee, and tending to the lavender and dahlias in her teeny-tiny garden.
A short and engaging book about some young women fighting against an unhealthy school culture of boys objectifying girls and judging people based on their appearance. The incidents made me uncomfortable but I think it was good that the bullying and nastiness was kept at an appropriate level for middle school readers whilst maintaining the seriousness of the issue. I think it was clever that it was told from different perspectives as the girls initially viewed the list in very different ways but united when they saw how damaging this kind of behaviour was. A good book.
The Prettiest is a powerful look at female objectification and sexual harassment in middle school. Every character in this book is multi-layered and readers get a well-rounded look at the main characters with a multi-POV narration. I loved Brigit Young’s debut novel, Worth a Thousand Words, but I have to say, I LOVED this even more. If you enjoy books about (unlikely) friendships, bookworm characters, and challenging society’s standards of beauty, you will enjoy this novel.
This was so real. It was kinda scary at times, how real it was. Sadly, this is a thing girls (and boys, but we're talking about girls here) face. No one should ever be dehumanized, like the girls in this book were, like they were just a number, or a body, instead of a real human, with a heart, a mind, and feelings. No one should ever have to feel like this. I have never faced this, but I'm sure it happens to many people. What the girls felt, though, was so freaking relatable , not just for me, but I'm sure for lots of other girls out there. For example, feeling someone's attention, whether you like them or not, is a good feeling, to feel like you matter to someone. Eve liked feeling Brody's attention, even though he wasn't the best of people. So did Nessa.
I really wanted to give this book 5 stars, but I was a little dissatisfied with the ending, because nothing really got resolved. I mean, I know the list went away, but there was a new list with Rose Reed at the top or something.
My favorite character was Sophie, because I think we get to see the most change in her, compared to the other girls.
Overall, this was an interesting read, which makes you kind of go back to middle school or feel very there, if you're still in school.
Wow! I devoured this book. It captures the voices of middle school students, and especially girls, in such a powerful way. As a former middle school teacher of nine years, I felt like I was reading about my students. The uncertainty, the struggle to speak up, the confusion over wanting to be liked but not wanting to be mocked or stared at, the desire to dress nice but not have curves noticed, the confusion over how much makeup to wear. It is all there.
What I loved most about this book was how authentic it was in working through the sexual harassment that a list of the "50 Prettiest Girls in the Eighth Grade" brings to light. At times the plot can feel meandering, but really it is true to life and not a quick or easy fix. How this list affects three different girls: Eve #1, Sophie #2, and Nessa- not even listed, is told through the three perspectives, yet the novel stays in third person perspective.
Along the way, you also see several boys' responses to the list. I particularly loved Eve's brother, and he is a powerful example for any reader of how you can make up from your mistakes and grow. I also loved his juxtaposition to Eve's father, who just doesn't get it and thinks being #1 should be considered a good thing.
The poetry at the end of the novel is just stunning and a perfect closure. This book not only validates so many feelings that middle school students face, but also shows the healthier ways to deal with these challenges. A must read for any students in 5th grade and up! #LitReviewCrew
Empowering, timely, and triumphant! Brigit Young has crafted a fiercely feminist page turner that’s as fun and funny as it is heart-wrenching. THE PRETTIEST offers an insightful look at the complicated and varied ways that harassment, objectification, and our society’s emphasis on appearance can impact kids and teens. This upper middle grade novel is perfect for middle school book groups and read-alouds. It’s sure to spark conversation and build empathy. I love the way this book celebrates friendship and depicts kids who “contain multitudes” and deserve to be appreciated for all the things that make them who they are.
I also love the Jewish representation in this story—so many of my former middle school students would have been very excited to read about a character who is figuring out how she wants to honor and observe her Jewish faith when her peers don’t always understand it (and when even her school is in session on Jewish holidays and isn’t set up to accommodate this part of her life).
This is such a smart and layered story. I can’t wait to talk it up to middle school students and teachers.
What a refreshing look at femininity for middle grade girls that is clean and actually empowering. I'm tired of some of the feminist garbage out there trying to teach out girls that they should or shouldn't be this or that (and same for our boys, for that matter). This was a nice reprieve from that with a sound message that girls don't have to look a certain way, and that we are more than what we look like on the outside. Also, appreciated that it was clean. You'd be surprised (or maybe you wouldn't be) with how much language and sex talk is found in MIDDLE grade books now a days. This was the perfect blend of talking about an important, serious topic, while remaining age appropriate. Plus it was flat out engaging to read.
I loved reading this book! People sometimes comment or remark about someone’s color, sexuality or gender as joke thinking that it is harmless. What they don’t realize is that the person on the receiving end would start feeling inferior and shameful for the same. What I really liked about this story is how it shows how a small list of names can have such a huge impact. There are many such events that still take place in school, whether it is sexual harassment or bullying etc. It is wonderful to see such stories out there to make people understand and not be hateful.
Coming back to the story and to the characters. I always feel that an author is talented if they are able to change my perception of a character over the course of the story. I loved Sophie in this story. Even though the story focuses on Eve, I thought Sophie emerged as the true star. I hated Sophie in the beginning, but slowly start to love her character. Not just Sophie, but I felt bad for even Brody, even though I hated him for the most part. Also, even Eve and Nessa are interesting in their own ways. I thought Amina and Rose were interesting as well, and wishes the author had written more about them.
On a side note, I also loved how the author tries to encourage readers to get into poetry and phrases Emily Dickinson. I felt like reading a Dickinson book after reading this even though I am not a fan of poetry. After reading this book, I have added the author’s other novel “Worth a Thousand Words” to my TBR list and would definitely read that sometime. Overall, this book was excellent!
This has been on my TBR longer than any books currently on there. I liked how the author drew events from her own life and wrote them into the story, and how the characters felt like they had depth. I felt I could understand their reasons behind their behavior and personalities. Eve has stayed in the background her whole life, and she likes it that way. But when someone publishes a list of the prettiest girls in eighth grade, she is put on the top. Sophie is second, and she can’t understand why. She’s worked so hard to look pretty, and she’s popular. Soon people start attacking their positions on the list, saying that Eve stuffs her bra, and that Sophie has to have food stamps. Great book! 4⭐️
This was actually the first book I ever dnfed. I started reading it in 2020, I kept reading the first chapter and, because I couldn't understand it. The writing made no sense. I tried and failed to understand what was happening, so I eventually gave up
Such an amazing book with a great motto. This book is perfect for young girls to teach them about self worth and also what to do when sexual harassment happens within a school setting. Also amazing seeing this happen from different points of views , different 'rankings'
Thank you to the author for providing an ARC to Collabookation. Wow. I never would have thought that a middle grade book could cover the objectification of girls and women in such a comprehensive and positive way. This book starts with the protagonist, Eve, finding out that there is a list that rates all the girls in the seventh grade by looks. Eve loves reading, poetry, and likens herself to Emily Dickinson in her ability to avoid the world outside her door. But her body has been betraying her wish to remain in the background, and she's rated number one on the list. This gets under the skin of Sophie, the girl who wakes up early every morning to put her best face, hair, and outfit on. Sophie feels good when she looks good, takes pride in her fashion sense, and is flabbergasted when she is not in the number one spot - especially when it's taken by such a wallflower. Instead of pitting these girls against each other throughout the novel, they work through their differences. Eve starts to understand that Sophie's focus on her appearance doesn't mean there isn't more to her than her appearance. Sophie opens up to the idea that for some girls, appearance to the outside world is not a priority. And together, these girls join forces to uncover the ugliness of the person who created a list based on appearance. If you went to middle school, teach middle school, have children who will someday be in middle school, this book is a worthwhile read. If you want to help your students or children understand how judging people by appearance is detrimental for everyone, this book is a necessary read. If you just want to have a good think about some ideas that have been ingrained in society since what seems like the beginning of time - read this book. If you love books by Barbara Dee or Jen Petro-Roy, READ THIS BOOK. Please, read this book. Recommended for students in grades 5 and up.
Many thanks to NetGalley and MacMillian Children’s Publishing Group for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I kept seeing this book for the longest time but I must admit I was turned off by the cover. I believed the content would be as juvenile as I perceived the cover. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong with my summation. And am happy that I requested to read this amazing book.
As Eve, Nessa and Sophie prepared for what they thought was just another day at school they were unaware of the list. A list ranking the top fifty prettiest girls. Eve ranking as No. 1 and Sophie as No. 2 sends everything into a tailspin for both of them. Nessa, who isn’t on the list and never expected to be, feels as though her friendship with Eve is threatened by everything that begins to happen. The girls have to figure out how to not only face this challenge head on but how to change things moving forward. This was a FANTASTIC work of middle grade fiction! This novel is timely and is a powerful look at female objectification and sexual harassment at the middle school level. It also emphasizes the importance of female friendship and diversity. Every character in this book is multi-layered and readers get a well-rounded look at the main characters with a multi-POV narration. This book is one that I can’t wait to see how much our students will enjoy. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to middle schoolers and above. Librarians and Media Specialist this is one that should be added to any YA collection.
This was a charming and honest approach to tackling the objectification epidemic that young women face in society. Beauty standards are not universal and shift based on numerous micro/macro-level factors. It's not all about Victoria's Secret angels; beauty takes so many forms.
The shift of perspective was done so well between three different viewpoints, all equally sympathetic and relatable. I would definitely recommend this book to young readers and adults alike!
A must-read for every middle grade girl. Such a well-written, sensitive story that addresses topics that so many girls struggle with, often feeling alone in their confusion. I encourage teachers and librarians to lightly book talk this story of three friends, and display it prominently so girls are tempted to pick it up. Highly recommend.
This book is called The Prettiest by Brigit Young. The theme of this story is “it's not about the outside, it's about what's on the inside” I think the author wanted the reader to know that it's not about what you look like, it's what is on the inside; if you have a good soul. The Prettiest is a Realistic Fiction Novel from the point of view of three girls in 8th grade at Ford Middle School. In homeroom one morning, a text was sent out to everyone in the grade with a list of the top fifty prettiest girls in the grade. The name of the person who wrote the list claims they are “LordTesla”. Eve, a quiet bookworm who loves Emily Dickinson turns up as first on the list because she has “a body” Sophie, the most popular girl in the grade who everyone adores gets put as second. For this Sophie is getting bullied from left to right for “being number two”. Nessa, a larger girl that has amazing talent for singing doesn't get out of the list at all. She claims shes not upset-or is she? Can these three girls become friends and find out who wrote the list or are they not up for the challenge? Did Eve really write the list herself or is it someone doing it as a joke? This was an amazing book filled with drama, friendship, and finding who you truly are. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes deeply relating to books. For example in the book I remember that the “Sophies” were talking trash behind Sophie's back when sophie thought they were her best friends that she could always go to if she needed anything. . I can relate to that because people have talked behind my back too and I remember how horrible it feels when you overhear your friends talking about you. This book is for the middle school age group because it's about growing up and not letting anyone (especially boys) treat you like an object or in this case, a number. I loved reading this book so much that i've read it three times (and counting!) When I first saw this book was at the book fair in sixth grade, I immediately rushed over to it and read the back cover. I rushed to this one first because it had bright colors and instantly drew my eyes to it. As soon as I got home that day I picked it up and dug right in. I couldn't set it down until I read the whole thing. The author had so many twists and turns and descriptive writing that engaged me right from page 1. If anyone ever asked me what book they should read next my mind would instantly go to this book. Another really interesting thing that I enjoyed about this book was it was in a three part perspective. You get to read exactly what each Eve, Nessa and Sophie are thinking at that moment in the story. Supristingly, this story isnt super long which shocked me because usually longer books have much more detail than shorter books. For this book it was the compete opposite wich I was amazed about. This book also has short chapters so I never got sick of reading one persons perspective. Overall I would recommend this book to the middle school age group who love relating to books. Eve, Nessa and Sophie have a lot of drama in every sentence you read that will keep you interested throughout the whole story. It is on the shorter side of some books I have read so it kept me fascinated. In conclusion, I was awed by this book from left to right. I would definitely recommend you to read this book for so many amazing reasons. I hope you love this book just as much as I do!
I gotta be real here. I wasn’t exactly sure I would like this one. I mean, for real. I’m 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝗻𝗼𝘁 the prettiest. But, I was excited to learn of a new-to-me author and get a refreshing break with a middle grade read. The results? So much more than I imagined! This is a magnificently written novel about how things can be in middle school now. How girls aren’t seen as just an equal classmate.....they are seen as objects for more than just friendships.
Young’s characters are perfectly chiseled with flaws and quirks. Their stories are very real issues in today’s society. As a mom of teenage boys, I wouldn’t know what these young girls are going through, but as a woman who was once a young girl, I felt every emotion they did as if it was my own. The fear of the unknown if you don’t speak up, the heartache of not being the top person on the objectified list of prettiest girls.......the heartache of sexualization. It was all a very real issue and the way Young’s characters evolved from it all, was wonderful to watch!
This book is one that I recommend every person read, especially if you have a middle school aged daughter, niece or granddaughter. The pages will turn, you’ll fall in love with Eve, Nessa, and Sophie, along with all the other greatly perfected characters, and you’ll be thanking Young for creating a beautifully written, epically powerful novel that makes you want more.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Publisher and was under no obligation to post a review, positive or negative.*
I read this book having been both a middle-school teacher and a former middle-school girl. I also coached high-school cheerleading. I have 3 daughters and a son. I have plenty of experience with how girls can be towards each other, and how many boys treat girls.
Wow. The author does such an excellent job giving these characters an authentic voice. She captures the way it really felt to be a middle-school girl-- that feeling of constantly being judged, of never feeling free to really be yourself. She also tackles the idea of objectification and sexual harassment. A lot of girls this age may think that being high on a list like this would be a good thing. This book shows, in an engaging way, that lists like this are not okay. Girls are not numbers. I especially liked it when Sophie realized that when Brody told her that he was surprised because she was so, so pretty but also so smart, this was not a compliment. Seriously-- why do people think girls cannot be more than one thing?
So many girls don't realize all the little ways that they are catalogued and compared and just looked down on. I loved how the book ended- with a group of kids that wouldn't normally hang out together but were now supportive, close friends. That is my goal, always, as a parent, teacher, and coach.
This book is fantastic. It’s crazy because there’s so many awful, sexist things that happen to girls in just middle school. And if we don’t read about why they are awful than we won’t know to not do these things. From fat-shaming to looking at the wrong places of a pretty girl this book covers it all. It shows how as a young girl you can power through bullying and feeling like your not enough just because your a little bigger or smaller or your eyes aren’t as big. Because looks don’t matter. And a list can’t tell you whether or not your beautiful. As long as you know you are nobody else matters.
3.5 When a ranking of "prettiest girls" at their middle school appears via social media, it causes chaos and turmoil throughout the school. Three girls decide to uncover the list's author and stop the sexual harassment it created.
Clever idea, and the story has its moments. The author herself experienced similar situations as a middle schooler.
The ending seemed rushed and parts of the story just didn't ring true to me. Otherwise I enjoyed it. A good #metoo book for middle readers, and one I read nearly nonstop.
Honestly, people can be the WORST. This "list" thing is horrible. ***spoiler alert*** Obviously Brody didn't write it though, the author just made it seem so obvious that it couldn't be him. Though he didn't write it, he was still a huge jerk for 4/5 of the book. I'm glad Sophie stopped worrying so much about her and others appearances and to be herself. I'm happy for Eve, she's pursuing a hobby that makes her feel awesome. Nessa was just great the whole time, she didn't seem to care much about looks and is kind to everyone around her. This book was a great, fast read with a good message.
every time i read a middle grade book i’m like “this is good but it definitely won’t make me cry :)”
this book started slower—i feel like a read a similar book in a YA format back awhile ago—but picked up as i kept reading (and i began to engage more with the characters as the story progressed). the prettiest definitely captures middle school cringe accurately & still tells a heartbreaking (& beautiful) story.
edit: as i finished typing this, going going gone by lucy dacus came on my shuffle … spotify wants me emotional i fear
I loved this book and could not put it down. I'm not a middle schooler (I'm 34!) and enjoyed the book just the same. The story itself is a gripping page turner, full of plot surprises, poignant moments and multi-faceted characters that remind you that people can learn and change for the better. It's honestly a book that should be required reading for everyone, not just middle-school girls, as one might assume from the cover. I also read Brigit Young's first novel Worth A Thousand Words, and loved every bit of that.
This is a book I'd recommend to my middle school readers, and I wish I had a book like this when I was that age. It deals with the objectification of women in a fair and balanced way. The multiple points of view is what makes this story work. The feelings are very realistic, and are something that everyone can relate to.
By far the BEST book I’ve read about the truth of loving yourself and the true terror of middle school drama. How do we get the world to understand the MUST think before they speak and THINK before they act? We need to teach empathy and how to walk in another persons shoes. How would you feel if someone did that to you? How would you react to that comment or act? I am looking forward to using this novel to teach character education to my 6th graders this fall.
I liked this book a lot! It was very empowering and I think that it would be a great book for girls to read going into middle school. I love the characters and all of their different qualities! I hope that you like this book!
I received this ARC through the LitReviewCrew and loved it. What a fun, empowering middle grades read. The 8th grade girls at Ford Middle School are placed on a list of the 50 prettiest in the school. This story follows Eve (the quiet poet, unsure of who she is), Sophie (the girl who seems to have it all), and Nessa (the theater nerd who quietly takes the bullying aimed at her) as they navigate finding themselves in the midst of being ranked according to their looks. I love the supporting characters as well, especially the feminist brother Abe who helps Eve figure out how to stand up for herself. The Prettiest is a book that every middle schooler needs to read - boys and girls alike!