GIF Review: Flawless by Lara Chapman

I'm done, I'M DONE WITH JUNIOR YEAR. *throws cupcakes and confetti*  But I'm also in a review slump. (And a design slump... which is why it's taking me a while to update my layout.) When I try to put my bookish thoughts down, it comes out something like this: O@#$H*)F(_$%BR#@#! ASL#B$*YDF. (If that convinces you to buy a book, then it appears I am the master at button mashing.) But since I haven't done one in forever,  I feel obligated to at least try to review... in .gif's! ;)

Lara Chapman's website here // $9.99 from {amazon}
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (May 10, 2011)
Paperback: 272 pages
Source: Publisher... kind of. I lost the ARC *headdesk*, so I bought an e-copy on my Kindle.


Sarah Burke is just about perfect. She's got killer blue eyes, gorgeous blond hair, and impeccable grades. There's just one tiny-all right, enormous-flaw: her nose. But even that's not so bad. Sarah's got the best best friend and big goals for print journalism fame.

On the first day of senior year, Rock Conway walks into her journalism class and, well, rocks her world. Problem is, her best friend, Kristen, falls for him too. And when Rock and Kristen stand together, it's like Barbie and Ken come to life. So when Kristen begs Sarah to help her nab Rock, Sarah does the only thing a best friend can do-she agrees. For someone so smart, what was she thinking?

This hip retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is filled with hilariously misguided matchmaking, sweet romance, and a gentle reminder that we should all embrace our flaws.


My Thoughts:

The reason I read FLAWLESS can be summed up in three words: Cyrano de Begerac [wiki page]. Aka the epitome of panache and the whole "macho self-confidence with inner vulnerability" concept. For your one-of-a-kind nose and musketeer-esque duels, I applaud you.

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Cyrano's confidence and wit definitely transfer onto Sarah, whose intelligence and bravery I loved and respected. Did she live up to Cyrano's brilliant escapades? No, but who can, really? Given that Sarah is just a normal teen, her strength in dealing with family situations is admirable and, as a fellow teen, enviable. But, as necessary as it was for character growth, Sarah's fixation with her nose occasionally irked me... despite his insecurities, Cyrano accepts his nose from page one in the play, whereas Sarah repeatedly belittles herself through physical comparisons. It makes sense, but still, a nose is a nose, not a 24/7-operating measure of worth. 

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The greatest difference between CYRANO DE BEGERAC and FLAWLESS was, of course, the modern times. Half of what made the play CYRANO DE BERGERAC so enjoyable was the setting, which kept me plowing forward despite impatience with Cyrano's devotion to Christian's cause. Replace war and Cyrano's extravagant challenges with dates and facebook messages, and I'm not nearly as accommodating. Maybe if I was more invested in the plot, characters, or relationships... but I wasn't. Other than Sarah, no one had enough depth -- or little enough stereotypical-ity -- for me to really care about. So it was mainly a mix of me going "ugh," "yay," and:

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My other main annoyance was that though I liked Rock for himself as a person and I could see Sarah did too, she never stopped bringing up his physical perfection. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The first few times, okay, but after knowing someone for weeks... it just degrades their relationship into something that seems more superficial. That being said, is Rock sensitive and hot? Yeah:

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Ultimately, despite my complaints, Lara Chapman did a stellar job in translating CYRANO DE BERGERAC from a well-known classic to a modern, relateable read that teaches solid lessons about self-image, self-worth, and self-acceptance. FLAWLESS boasts a strong heroine and meh-okay everything else -- but that's okay. Everything pales in the light of its poignant message that will doubtlessly resound with many teens (or, really, anyone) out there.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bottom Line: FLAWLESS is a quick but meaningful read that I would recommend to really strong CYRANO DE BEGERAC fans or readers looking for a book heavy on self-acceptance messages. The characters may not stick with you, but the message definitely will.

Cover: It's okay, I guess. When I first saw it, I felt a strong sense of deja vu, like maybe I'd seen the cover somewhere else ... it's bold, but not thought-provoking or emotion-evoking (for me, at least, since I've seen others say the exact opposite). Either way, it does match the lack of character description in FLAWLESS, sigh.

the eyes & the eyebrows...