BOOK REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY - Ugly by Kelly Vincent
by Kelly Vincent
August 2 - 23
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Sophomore Nic Summers tries to ignore the taunts of “ugly lesbian.”
Because she’s not sure they’re entirely wrong. But she also has bigger concerns for now, including prepping for the school’s art contest. And while she isn't certain of her sexuality, she does know her life is on the verge of falling apart when her best and only friend, Sam, drops the bomb that her family’s moving to Scotland. Together, to soften the blow and distract themselves from the inevitable, they start Operation Social Interaction for Nic—or OSIN for short—to try to find her some new friends.
But it’s an uphill battle for the introverted teen artist.
As Sam’s last day nears, Nic's self-confidence wavers even more, and she starts questioning everything. If lesbian doesn’t feel quite right, maybe she’s transgender? It isn’t until she stumbles across the label “gender nonconforming” that things start to make a little more sense, and fall into place. But finding the right label doesn’t really tell her what to do next, and before she knows it, Sam is gone.
Mustering all her resources, Nic realizes she needs to find her own path and live her own truth.
Monday morning I slept past my alarm, so I was running late. Caleb was in the shower and I had to wait for him, but I really needed a shower. So I was sitting with my stack of clothes on my bed when my phone dinged.
A message from Sam. —there’s something I need to tell u—
This didn’t sound good. My stomach made this noise and I couldn’t tell if it was hunger or sudden nerves.
—not over text—
—call me then—
The shower turned off. Caleb should be done any minute. But I still had time for a quick call.
—can’t. have to talk to one of my teachers. see you at lunch—
She wouldn’t have her phone in class and I never saw her in the mornings because of where our classes were. I would have to wait until lunch.
My stomach twisted again and I suddenly wondered if she was going to friend-break up with me. Everything had been fine Saturday, but I’d experienced things like this before.
But no, that couldn’t be it. Maybe she’d started dating somebody and wouldn’t be able to do lunch with me anymore.
What if it was something bigger than us? About her family? Oh God, what if she was moving?
I heard the bathroom door squeak open and raced across the hall to shower, all the bad thoughts swirling in my head.
I loved Always the New Girl so when I saw another Kelly Vincent book on tour, I knew I had to read it! I’ve also spent my career working in higher education and have worked with students as they have discovered (in some cases) and transitioned (in others) to being their authentic selves. For many, that means a non-gender conforming identity and coming to terms with how society will view them moving forward.
In Ugly we meet Nic Summers (dubbed the “ugly lesbian”) who has one friend named Sam. When Sam tells Nic her family is moving to Scotland, they devise a plan to get Nic more friends and call it Operation Social Interaction for Nic - OISN for short. Finding new friend before Sam leaves will be no easy feat. As Sam’s departure nears, Nic’s self-confidence continues to wane, and she starts questioning everything. When Nic stumbles upon the term “gender nonconforming” things start to make sense. Soon Nic realizes that to she must find her own path and live her own truth.
This book is a slow paced, brilliantly written coming of age story. I love Nic’s character and felt myself empathizing with them because of the weight they are carrying (identity questions, money issues at home, bff moving, bullying by others, loneliness, etc.). This is a lot for any teen to deal with. Kelly does a great job of creating realistic characters, I am sure many teens will see themselves in Nic and I hope that this book helps them find their path. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop.
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