Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub. Date: July 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Source of copy: from publisher - Disney Hyperion
When Dara Cohen was little, she was a bright, shiny star. She was the cutest seven-year-old who ever sang Ella Fitzgerald, and it was no wonder she was crowned Little Miss Maine.
That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. So not little, that when her classmates find out about her illustrious resume, their jaws drop. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.
When a disastrously misinterpreted English project lands her in the counselor's office—and her parents pull her out of school to save face—Dara realizes she has a decision to make. She can keep following the rules and being misunderstood, or she can finally reach out to the sister she's never met—a sister who lives on a collective goat farm in Massachusetts. Dara chooses B. What follows is a summer of revelations, some heartbreaking, some joyous; of friendship, romance, a local beauty pageant; and choices. And as autumn approaches, Dara finds she may have to let go of everything she's taken for granted in order to figure out who she really is, and what family really means.
What makes Secrets Of Truth And Beauty a great book on self appreciation and the joy of life? A fat girl, one seemingly non existent sister, overreacting parents and a farm for escapes.
I think I would have taken greater delight in this story had it not been for the way too detailed synopsis. Already knowing the almost complete plot did, at some extent, turn me off even though there were well planned out twists.
However, if you asked me, I'd still recommend this book to teenagers who have issue with her body as well as those who cannot find peace in their own families. The writing was smooth and smart, the characters friendly and adorable. In addition to that was the farm life with many interesting activities, e.g feeding, milking and making cheese. The story did not just focus on the subject of being an overweight young adults, in fact, it explored the matter of prejudice against those that were different from the majority of the society and how they learnt to live happily above it all. I loved the idea of the farm so much, it was not an ordinary farm, it was a farm for lost and confused souls where everyone was welcomed with open arms and open hearts.
The characters in the book nicely represented others who were in the same situations. Dara helped us recognize that we were the only that judged ourselves the most, Owen told the readers how good it was to be who you really were and Rachel proved that whatever happened, you could live your way and had fun with it. There were a lot of messages in this book and they all would do you good, in one way or another. Anyway, I still think that if the relationships in this book had reached higher and stronger stages, everything would have been perfect.
A pleasant story over all. Suitable for long-period read since the pace is slow.