Published: April 1st, 2008 | HarperTeen
Age: Young Adult
Acquired: Public Library
Review: I have been really interested in books lately that are contemporary and about the girl who isn't. . . the looker. . . and this one was recommended to me based on the previous books I had checked out at the library. Well, I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't blown away either. Neither here nor there.
Pretty Face is about Hayley; the funny girl, the friend. . . The girl with the pretty face. Hayley has had a serious crush on Drew Wyler since he walked into their highschool and when she finally gets up the nerve to ask him out she is amazed that he accepts, but then he tells her he likes her best friend. All seems lost in Hayley's oversized world until her parents decide to send her to Italy for "new experiences".
Hayley is sent to Italy to stay with her mother's college friend Patrice, her husband Gino, their daughter Gianna and son Taddeo. There she learns that the stick figure girls of California are nowhere near perfect, nor ideal. She learns that her hips and thighs are curves, not mountains. She learns that there are people who accept you for you.
I expected this book to be a "chick-flick" type of book despite the summary given. I was expecting Hayley to fly to Italy and indulge in the romance of the city--not just the food. I didn't quite get what I expected, but I wasn't left without either.
When Hayley makes it to Italy she's in a completely different world--literally. Food is eaten with love, curves are normal, people are relaxed, and boys are cute. I loved reading these experiences through Hayley, I just wish I got to read more.
I was relieved once Hayley made it to Italy away from her overbearing, and dare I say toxic, mother. Her father who didn't seem to have a care in the world and just the hustle and bustle of America. A place I'm all too familiar with.
The people in Italy were amazing, and if that's how it truly is I would love to live there. And I don't speak an ounce of Italian. The food, do not get me started. Italian is already my favorite and to have it authentic. . .Aish! The way Hayley describes the sensations and tastes of the foods, I felt like I was eating right beside her!
Once Hayley gets out of the gorgeous little tower she occupies she's finally able to explore Italy, gelato, and the people. . . And the boys. Like Enzo (short for Lorenzo), the perfect Italian guy with the adorable gap teeth. I won't lie, the thing about him being perfect, never an argument, or a bad thing, always saying the right things annoyed me. I wanted conflict. I get it, once she goes to Italy everything is supposed to be okay, but come on, he's a guy!
That's what annoyed me most about the book, there wasn't much to it, not enough pages to develop a relationship with Patrice and her family and especially not Enzo. I wanted more, more, more. More got kisses, late night rendezvous(s), and just more Italy.
I did love that Hayley began to learn things about herself, begin to love herself, food(again), and find that life can be simple if you let it. A lesson I need to learn. I enjoyed that she was happy there apart from missing her best friend, Italy is obviously the place for her.
I didn't like that once something begins in the story, be it a conflict, romance, friendship, whatever, it almost ends or we move on to something else leaving things open and with question. I would have liked to know how she truly felt about Drew before he told her he liked her best friend. I would have liked to see her tell her mother to back off and let her live her life (especially that!). I would have liked to see why Hayley loved Enzo so. A cute accent and adorable gap in your front teeth can only take you so far. And I would have liked to have gotten to know Patrice (in particular) and the rest of her family.
Just as quickly as the book began, it ended, with a short e-mail between Enzo and Hayley. And the ending was a tad. . . unrealistic.