May 14, 2015

Making Pretty - Corey Ann Haydu

Making Pretty book cover
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source/Format: Edelweiss || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way my review.]

Montana and her sister, Arizona, are named after the mountainous states their mother left them for. But Montana is a New York City girl through and through, and as the city heats up, she’s stepping into the most intense summer of her life. Her father is distracted by yet another divorce, and she’s growing apart from her sister. Then she meets wild, bold Karissa, who encourages Montana to live in technicolor and chase new experiences. But the more of her own secrets Karissa reveals, the more Montana has to wonder if Karissa’s someone she can really trust.

In the midst of her uncertainty, Montana finds a beautiful distraction in Bernardo. He’s serious and spontaneous, and he looks at Montana in the way she wants to be seen. For the first time, Montana understands how you can become both lost and found in somebody else. But when that love becomes everything, where does it leave the rest of her imperfect life?

If there’s one thing that can be said about Corey Ann Haydu, it is that each of her novels – OCD Love Story, Life by Committee and Making Pretty – are very character-driven. The characters that Haydu writes come to life easily, vivacious, real and riddled with flaws. In Making Pretty, readers will be introduced to Montana, a gal who starts off unsettled in her own self, but who eventually finds solid truths to ground her. While Montana doesn’t necessarily make the best choices, each one is authentic to who she is becoming, and a necessary step in her journey towards who she wants to be. 

Her journey is incredibly compelling, and I found it nearly impossible to set down Making Pretty once I’d started it. Montana is not only trying to navigate the confusing landscape of being a teen. She is also learning what love means, what it is and what it isn’t, particularly when viewed through her father’s relationships and her own budding romance. She is also discovering how relationships, whether with her sister, her father or her friends, can shift unexpectedly with a change in circumstances. Set against the backdrop of dynamic, constantly changing New York City, living a part of Montana’s life alongside her is a colorful, powerful experience. 

I wish that a few things (in particular, her relationship with her father and sister, and their issues with their father’s perspective on beauty as a plastic surgeon) had been addressed a little more, and perhaps that the ending wasn’t so abrupt. But Making Pretty captures a tiny portion of Montana’s life, really, just one summer, and that really does make sense of the fact that not all the loose ends are tied up neatly by the end. Even with these reservations, I would most definitely still endorse Making Pretty as another strong book from Haydu, complete with a complex main character + an engaging story.

What design would you consider getting as a tattoo?

I'm still not sure if I have enough guts to go and actually get a tattoo, but I do know what two designs I would want if I did and both would be near my wrist. I'd get the cross as a symbol and reminder of my faith, and I'd get "always" because it's a word that means a lot of things, both in terms of books and in real life.
cross tattoo || always tattoo


  1. I was wondering about whether to read another retelling but after reading this review I know I have to! :D I'm glad you enjoyed the book!!


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