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Outside Beauty

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,157 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
"My mother had four daughters by four different men."

There's only one way Shelby and her sisters can describe their mother: She's a sexpot. Helen Kimura collects men (and loans, spending money, and gifts of all kinds) from all over the country. Sure, she's not your typical role model, but she's also not just a pretty face and nail polish. She is confident and brave; she
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published June 3rd 2008)
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as i review yet another book about spectacularly irresponsible parenting!! like Lullabies for Little Criminals, these four girls grow up with a parent blissfully ignoring their parental responsibilities in order to live in some sort of hedonistic wonderland. in lullabies, the relationship was drug-addled romping, where the two of them behaved like children together until it all came tumbling down. this book is less dangerous than that, but helen kimura isn't going to win any
Short  Reviews
2.5 stars.

I'm not sure what to think of this. This author is either a hit or miss for me: either I love her book or I don't like it. But this one was just... bareable.

The writing was nothing special, but it hooked me in enough to continue reading it, and it was quite a short book so I was able to finish it in a few hours.

Four sisters in this book grow up under their irresponsible parent in an apartment somewhere in 1980s Chicago.

The neglecting parent is one cliche that I'm getting tired of tru
May 05, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing, considering the beauty of the author's previous book, "Kira-Kira." This one suffers from fits and starts in pacing, as well as an uneven premise with a flimsy resolution. Parts are charming; the sisters' close ties is the glue that holds the book together. All told, though, I think the author lost track of intention and the plot suffered.
I really loved Kadohata's Kira-Kira, but this book as well as Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam did not amaze me. I can see her writing talent through her development of Shelby and the bond between her sisters, but the setting and plot could have been improved. I do not understand the reasoning behind the 1980's setting when the story did not revolve around historical context; I would have liked to seen the story take place in contemporary society, with e-mail and other electronic devices coming ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book was okay, it wasn't good enough for me to want to read it constantly but wasn't bad enough for me to never want to read it again. In this book the mother of the 4 daughters isn't the best role model any child could ask for. She acts like a single woman who parties every night just to get a roof under her children's head. However, I wished the author included more details to make me feel like I was in the moment to really imagine and experience the feeling of how miserabl ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dylans-challenge
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth K.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-new-reads
Wow, this was great. YA novel, about four sisters who are actually half sisters because their mother more or less makes a living by serial dating men and then breaking their hearts when she moves on to the next guy. The sisters, who range in age from 16 down to 6, get daily lessons from their mom about poise, graceful posture, preventing wrinkles, appraising jewelry, and attracting men. Most of the action takes place during a summer when the girls are separated as each goes to stay with her own ...more
Clarybella Diaz-Colon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you like books that have somewhat drama and suspension? well, if you do this book is the right book for you! The genre of this book is realistic fiction. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

This book is about this girl named Shelby and her family. Shelby is the oldest sister of the rest of her siblings. Her mother is always somewhat there for them. One day Shelby and her mother ended up talking about Shelby's father who is unknown. Then one day somehow everything goes downhill from there on t
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Why did the world give you twice as much as you could handle?"

—Shelby, "Outside Beauty", P. 140

"Who wanted a long life if you were sad?"

—Shelby, P. 166

Cynthia Kadohata, a master of young adult literature, has once again displayed her stunning skills in this tightly woven, suspenseful, complex story that deals with all kinds of unconventional relationships and the way that our interconnectedness with those around us will profoundly affect our lives, whether or not the connections themselves
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 9th-grade
Everyone has their own family stories making their family warm and maintaining in happiness. Have you ever read a book in which every characters struggle with some pretty big concepts of family and beauty? If not yet, flip through pages of Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata to know how it is like! Through this book, you can find it unbelievable having four sisters, each having a different father than the other, and still have a loving family.
13 year old Shelby has 3 sisters and a strong-willed
Dec 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I thought this was going to be one of those books that Teaches a Lesson, but it turned out to be very sweet.

Four half-sisters, the daughters of a very beautiful mother, are used to having different fathers and different men around. Helen (mom) doesn't want to settle down, nor does she believe that men want anything more than the perfect, beautiful woman. When she is in a bad car accident, the girls are sent to live with their fathers - and it seems that Helen has no one "type" for men.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of an odd book, with two-star aspects and three-star aspects. Like many other reviewers, I didn't see any point to the 1980s setting.

The most interesting and, I think, best-written parts are about Shelby getting to know her father, and I wish that had made up the bulk of the book. There was an especially intriguing comment thrown out that wasn't further developed that just hinted about how Jiro felt about having his daughter thrust upon him.

Jiro, Shelby, and Maddie were pretty well-develope
265 pages Four sisters, Marilyn, Shelby, Lakey, and Maddie, adore their mother, Helen Kimura. Helen isn't your typical mother, she is always concerned with beauty and her latest boyfriend, and the girls all have different fathers. When Helen is in a car accident, the girls are forced to go live with their respective fathers, and no one is happy. The four are inseperable, and the youngest, Maddie, is being smothered by her father's strict ideas of child rearing. Shelby attempts to bring her siste ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Kadohata won the Newbery for Kira-Kira, but I found this book to be far more powerful. Narrated by one of the four daughters of a woman who lives on her beauty - supported by an endless string of boyfriends - this tale of family love and relationships resists easy answers and cliches. The characters have surprising depth and complexity. This is YA literature at its best and a story that will remain with me for a long time.
Harun Harahap
Pertama agak kaget juga baca ada empat bersaudara dari empat bapak yang berbeda. Namun, setelah lanjut dibaca, jadi bikin iri sama mereka yang kedekatan satu sama lainnya sulit untuk dipisahkan.

Terima kasih kak Syl, sudah meminjamkan buku ini.
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kadohata's writing does not disappoint, though the story, for me, lacked the impact of Kira Kira, an admittedly high standard. Delightful characters, which Kadohata does a wonderful job of keeping distinct.
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book 3 years ago. Just remembered about it now, oops.
From what I remember I enjoyed it and thought it was funny. And that's all I can really say.
Isabella Bloom
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I learned-
-Stay close to your Family
-Be grateful for your family
-Use your family wisely
-Your love ones...
Pyrate Queen
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What would you do if suddenly the world that you knew came crashing down?

That's what happens to thirteen-year-old Shelby one night. But it's not just Shelby's world that has been shattered- she has three other sisters, all by different fathers, and now they find themselves being shuffled across the country for an indefinite time period.

Whereas people think Shelby's mother has done them wrong by shuffling them from city to city when a relationship has gone sour, Shelby and her sisters see determi
Gail Shepherd
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multicultural
I laughed out loud through this whole book. The main character's inner thoughts are priceless, the sisters' relationship is adorable, and this is a mother like we haven't seen before in MG kidlit--both appalling and sympathetic at once. What a wonderful concept! Highly recommended.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kadohata's ability to create realistic, vulnerable characters helps readers feel a relationship with them. In this book, an unimaginable turn of events takes four sisters who have lived and breathed every moment together and rips them apart.
May 25, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may
Eh, not really well written. But, overall, okay.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really sweet story, I love how the four sisters care for each other. It was really interesting to know how the power of beauty weaved its way into the sisters' lives.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to, 2017
To come
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a long time I never touched YA books. In school I had basically gone from juvenile to adult reading, and YA just got lost in the mix. Even working in the library wasn’t enough to make me want to read a YA book. I knew friends and colleagues who did, but it just didn’t interest me. I thought of YA as mostly chick lit filled with flirty romances and superficial issues. Well, I’ve proven myself wrong yet again with the latest book I’ve read, Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata. A lot of the book ...more
Destiny Trigueros
Apr 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a story that is so good and complicated in the same time? Either way I would recommend the book Outside Beauty. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. I honestly thought this was a decent book. The mother (name not stated) has had 4 daughters with different men. Shelby, Maddie, Lakey, and Marilyn. All of the sudden they all get spilt up and get send with their fathers. They're determined to get their family together.

This story mainly takes place in Chicago, where they ar
May 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Oke. Empat anak perempuan dari 4 LAKI-LAKI? Ini apa yang ada dalam pikiran saya ya, saat beli buku ini untuk koleksi perpustakaan? FYI, saya bekerja di perpustakaan SD! Buku ini pun langsung saya tarik dari tumpukan buku baru sebelum sempat masuk rak buku *fiuhh* Bayangin kalo ada orang tua yang lihat anaknya pinjam buku ini?

Anyway, kisahnya diceritakan dari sudut pandang Shelby, anak kedua dari Helen. Anak pertamanya bernama Marylin, anak ketiga Lakey, dan terakhir si bungsu Maddie. Mereka san
Dezireen Austin
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I enjoyed this story. I've read a lot of complaints that the time period did not matter at all, but I did enjoy that the author slipped in the fact that the year was 1983. It placed these girls in a different time because let's face it, if this story had taken place in 1993 everything would have been different.

I did have several problems with it though.

1. Maddie/Maddy. I hated her so much. She was a spoiled little girl and I felt she needed to buck up, 6 year old or not. Yes, her particular f
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Cynthia Kadohata is a Japanese American writer known for writing coming of age stories about Asian American women.

She spent her early childhood in the South; both her first adult novel and first children's novel take place in Southern states. Her first adult novel was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Her first children's book, Kira-Kira, won the 2005 Newbery Medal. Her first published s
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