Alexandra is the worst stereotype of a popular girl. Lara Deloza’s portrayal of a pageant winning beauty queen is wonderfully complex and engaging. Alexandra is a shoe in for Homecoming Queen. It is one of the steps in her plan to become miss Indiana and get out of her small town and have a life. Her mother had the same plan but got knocked up with her so the pressure was passed onto Alexandra. This story is told in varying view points. Alexandra doesn’t care who she hurts on her way to get that crown. Her best friend, Sam, has a crush on her. Sam is not out and doesn’t want anyone to know. A new girl named Erin moves to town and isn’t intimidated by Alexandra’s popularity status. What’s more, this girl is actually nice and cute and students like her. Alexandra has a fear that Erin knows more about her than she should. When the nominations for Homecoming Queen come out, Erin and a girl very few people will associate with are on the list with enough votes to make Alexandra nervous. The second girl’s name is Ivy and a while back she had an outburst and then disappeared. People think she is a freak. Alexandra decides to play a game of her own and “befriend” Ivy, making her over and bowing out of the race to make sure Ivy becomes queen and Erin’s chances at popularity are squashed. But when you are mean to everyone at some point your enemies will rally against you. Sam and Ivy are the other two view points in the book. I like the theme that runs through the book that girls like Alexandra are not born that way. They are made by not so great circumstances and often have something painful to hide behind their aggressive and manipulative ways. Both Sam and Ivy evolve quite a bit through the book. I thought the back story about why Sam is so devoted to Alexandra is interesting. This book was a quick and enjoyable read. Many teenage girls and adults who remember high school all too well will relate to these characters.
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss the friendship between Alexandra and Sam. Are they truly friends in your opinion? Talk about how their friendship began.
Discuss Ivy’s observation that Alexandra doesn’t have many friends.
Discuss Ivy’s comment about Alexandra wearing Matt “like a human accessory.”
Talk about dance proposals. Would you want one or would it be embarrassing?
What do you think of pageants?
Discuss Alexandra’s relationship with her mother? How did that create the person Alexandra is?
Discuss how Erin says “poor girl” and how that is learned behavior when she talks about Alexandra.
Discuss Ivy’s evolution in the book. Also Sam’s.
Discuss what you think Alexandra’s next move could be?