Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
High Cheekbones by Erika Tamar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Description: Alice Lonner always keeps her feet firmly on the ground—at least until the day she’s discovered by a top modeling agency. Leaving homework, baby-sitting, and overnights with her best friend behind, Alice suddenly finds herself pounding the pavement for jobs, posing for photo layouts, and entering a world she’s totally unprepared for.
My thoughts: It took a long time for me to find this early ’90s YA novel again. It’d been quite a while since my adolescent self once read it, and I couldn’t remember the title or the author’s name. But I remembered how the hot-pink paperback book cover looked.
I also remembered the gist of the plot, similar to another novel I’d read around that time about a teen model, Crystal by Walter Dean Myers.
Neither one of the novels are the upbeat, happily-ever-after type, and I wanted to find High Cheekbones again for remembrance but not nostalgia. The language, with the (sometimes repetitive) uses of “hell” and “damn” and a few other words for nonliteral purposes, wasn’t to my personal taste back then or now. And while the tone of the novel isn’t the incredibly dark and depressing type I typically can’t get through these days, even with the story’s rather “PG-12” handling of matters like drug use, underage drinking, sugar daddies, grownup-and-teenager attraction, parental neglect, and mental illness, it hasn’t exactly been fun reading or rereading for me and this book.
Yet, I like the novel (and better appreciate it now) because reading it back then helped to confirm something about my adolescent self. The kind of fast-lane social “thrills” that first entice Alice never appealed to me, and how her story pans out played a part in shaping the overall idea for me that how I felt was okay. A bright, full, wholesome kind of life was what I wanted, and that was okay.
Sometimes, it isn’t so much about getting pleasure out of a story but rather about what the story shows or confirms to you…