Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Let's Face It

Let's Face It
by Jodi R. Moore

Available as: paperback, Kindle edition
Pages: 228 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Summer Job Books
Publication date: March 16, 2012
Suggested tags: young adult, realistic fiction

From Amazon:
"We’ve all seen the commercials – a pretty pop star promises your skin will be clear if you just . . . For fifteen-year-old Kaylin Bidwell, it doesn’t matter what they say. She knows the truth. Those products won't clear up her acne. She even proved it for a science fair project, hoping to win a spot at science camp with the guy she’s had a crush on for 20% of her life. But the only kind of spot she may end up with this summer are the ones on her face. Kaylin is determined to find a solution, even if it means interning for a company that makes acne products that never work. Could Kaylin help make something better? What she really wants is something better than better – a cure.

Ages 12 and up.

Confession: I had acne before the other kids in my class even knew what acne was. Even now in my late 20s, I still have it, and I'm still waiting to grow out of it.

So I related to this book on a pretty personal level. Some of the things Kaylin deals with because of her acne (like comparing herself to other girls, and wondering if boys don't like her because of her or because of her face) were things that I dealt with growing up too. She has an honest, straightforward voice that makes her quite an endearing narrator.

Kaylin's passion for science was a big part of the book. It leads her from her school science fair, to a summer internship at a company that makes acne products, to meeting with a real scientist who's on her way to developing a vaccine for acne. Any readers who are into science would definitely enjoy reading about Kaylin's experiments and adventures. However, readers who aren't so into it may find Let's Face It a little hard to get through, as science is such a major element of both the plot and Kaylin's personality.

In addition to struggling with acne, Kaylin also has boy troubles. She's crushing on Sean, a guy who will barely give her the time of day. While I was on her friends' side and wanted to help get her over this loser as soon as possible, I still felt for her, because I did the same thing when I was younger. Does any girl make it through middle or high school without falling helplessly in love (or in "love," but it feels like serious love at the time) with at least one guy who treats them like dirt?

But then there's Charlie. I loved how their relationship developed really slowly, and how Kaylin was pretty much oblivious to his feelings for her. The little hints Charlie dropped that she never picked up on were precious. I think my favorite was the trip to get ice for the party. :)  Charlie is a great guy; whenever Kaylin's feeling discouraged, whether in her scientific pursuits or in her pursuit of Sean, Charlie is right there to help pick her spirits back up.

I wasn't crazy about was the book's unrealistic ending, which was just a little too neat and tidy for my tastes. (SPOILER - highlight to read: Companies that make a mint off of acne products that don't work aren't going to suddenly decide to get on the straight and narrow and focus their efforts on donating megabucks to research for a cure. Sad, but true.) However, when I was younger I wouldn't have wanted to read a realistic ending. I would have wanted to read a happy, hopeful ending, which is just what Moore delivers.

Let's Face It is a smoothly paced read with a subtle girl power message. Kaylin pursues her dreams, and when she's thrown off track a bit, she just finds another way to get where she wants to be. Her friends are with her every step of the way, and she finds a little romance along the way too. Older YA readers may find Let's Face It a little on the juvenile side, but it's definitely a great book for younger readers who could look up to Kaylin.

Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars