Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 31.
- Review Date: 2007-04-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Returning from Your Big Break and The Next Big Thing, Edwards tracks Chicago-based image consultant Kylie Chase. Having been an overweight outcast in high school, Kylie works to save others from her younger self's fate: she talks one client out of wearing a Star Wars costume on a first date and keeps another from starring in a porno. But Kylie's deep dark secret is that she still imagines herself as a high school pudgette, and when hunky journalist Ty Benedict is assigned to cover her career, Kylie has to face the real person behind the carefully constructed image. Lame affirmations ("You are exactly who you think you are") and corny one-liners are less than cool, but Edwards makes Kylie's voice immediate and winning as she puts her through her success-doubt-success paces. (June)
Being a trendsetter
In How to Be Cool, former ugly duckling Kylie Chase uses her own transformation (including a 75-pound weight loss) as the basis for launching a career as a "cool instructor," helping the tragically un-trendy unleash their chic. Kylie's clients (and her boss) don't know about her well-hidden past, as she confides only in her best friend, an up-and-coming plus-size model. Still, Kylie's on top of the world until a fire sends her apartmentincluding the contents of her closetup in flames. Kylie is forced to move back in with her parents, thereby violating one of the cardinal rules of cool: Thou shalt not live with thy parents past 22. It doesn't help matters that a hot young journalist is tracking her every move as he writes a story about her. The stress of keeping her inner dorkdom hidden is compounded by the rapid approach of her 10th high school reunion, propelling Kylie back into old habits, and the pounds slowly start to pile back on.
Will Kylie be able to keep her own cool as the heat turns up? Readers will truly care about her fate, as Johanna Edwards (The Next Big Thing) has created an appealing, Jennifer Weiner-esque protagonist. Kylie may not be the coolest girl on the block, but her flaws are precisely the reason readers will love her.