SECRETS OF TRUTH & BEAUTY by Megan Frazer

SECRETS OF TRUTH & BEAUTY

Age Range: 14 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Pain and sweetness mingle in this enjoyable coming-of-age tale with a wonderful sense of place but muddled ideology. Challenged to create a multimedia autobiography about how a former Little Miss Maine could now be fat, Dara dares to include critical cultural analysis. Her clueless teacher sends her to the counselor; her seething, mortified parents yank her out of school. Shaken, Dara leaves Maine to visit the estranged older sister she’s never met. Rachel’s a cheese artisan at Jezebel Goat Farm in Massachusetts, historically a shelter for homeless lesbian teens. Dara’s unhurried stay with Jezebel’s multi-generational intentional family forms the story’s glowing heart. The text supports gay characters unreservedly but flounders with other diversity: Dara’s supposedly acceptable and beautiful while fat, yet Frazer reverts to a clichéd fat-teen-loses-weight-in-nature arc (and resurrects stale Cass Elliot myths—“Who?” most teens will wonder—while fumblingly trying to debunk them). Farm resident Owen and quirky brother Milo are biracial but written with negating colorblindness, despite the ostensibly lily-white setting. The clean, mellow prose does better with setting and interpersonal relationships than on its attempted principles. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: July 7th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4231-1711-7
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2009