Title: The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back
Author: Sariah Wilson
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: Fun, cute, with an awesome heroine and characters with unique personalities, although definitely on the younger end of YA books.
Life’s not always fun and games when you’re the ugly stepsister. Mattie Lowe is sick of her perfect, beautiful, and (worst of all) genuinely nice stepsister. Not only is she more popular than Mattie; she’s also dating the boy Mattie’s had a crush on since she was nine years old. Fortunately, Mattie’s not the sort of girl to take things lying down and when she finally talks to her stepsister, it might turn out they have more in common than she thinks.
I was a little nervous this book would be too light, too fluffy, or too cliche (the cover is just so pink!) but I want to read more new authors (new to YA in this case) and the book was already starting to get good reviews on goodreads. Well, let me assure you… it deserves them! This book amazed me by avoiding all the pitfalls so many romances with ‘strong heroines” fall into. Mattie isn’t just a strong heroine when the guy she likes isn’t around; she’ll stand up for herself with him as much as anyone else! Mattie was also less cliche and more well developed than a lot of other characters, with unique interests like manga and Jane Austen. The other characters in the book were all clearly based on high school stereotypes, but a lot of the main characters also got more fleshed out than is typical and I thought they felt very real. And there’s no insta-love! She’s known this guy forever and likes him for the kindness she’s observed, as well as his good looks.
I think what I liked most about this book is that it reminds me of 10 Things I Hate About You, just for a younger crowd. It’s not quite the same plot, but it shares all the qualities that make me love the movie so much. One we’ve already touched on is the heroine who really doesn’t let anyone push her around. Another is Mattie’s narration – she’s fun, she’s serious, she’s snarky, and she just has a great personality. Also, the love interest isn’t the type of person you’d imagine the main character dating, but they work well when they get to spend more time together. Of course the plot is pretty predictable, the writing is clearly for a younger audience, and I wished the story were longer. But that’s the sort of book it is and it is absolutely the best at being the sort of book it is. I expected this book to be ok at best and instead I was swept off my feet by the wonderful personalities the author created. So when what you’re in the mood for is a fun, light read, I highly recommend that you pick this book up.