Ugly by Kelly Vincent
A YA Novel published by KV BOOKS LLC (06/07/22)
Nic has never been self-confident and only has one friend, Sam. People often mistake Nic for a boy. It’s not just the kids at school who call Nic names because Nic also refers to herself negatively. Sam keeps trying to coax Nic out of her introverted shell and has cooked up a plan. The plan is Operation Social Interaction for Nic and they’re running out of time before Sam leaves the country. Meanwhile, Nic is prepping for the school’s art contest and has begun questioning more than just her sexuality. Is there even a label for how she feels and would people accept her as a gender nonconforming individual?
YA, Contemporary, Bullying, Gender Nonconforming, Identity, Art, Introvert, Questioning, Labels
Nic’s perspective is so true and raw and heartbreaking at times. She has repetitive and increasingly negative thoughts about how she’s a loser and ugly. There are multiple and repetitive scenes where she’s mistaken for a boy. Her mind tends to gravitate to the negative and the worst-case scenarios because she’s been burned so many times before and has a healthy distrust of others. Nic is also relatively shy and a bit socially awkward. As an introvert-extrovert, I’ve totally been there!
In some ways, I identify so much with Nic’s experiences and her introverted head talk. “Eye contact was dangerous. It triggered interactions.” (10%, Kindle Edition). Yes, Nic, this is so true! In other ways, I think she’s too black and white about her thoughts. On the one hand, she’s so harsh about gender and its binary-ness, “… but it would be so awesome to be a person without all the stupid trappings of girl-ness.” (60%, Kindle Edition). On the other hand, she’s just voicing her own experience and frustration, “… even if I tried to wear feminity, it would come off all wrong on me.” (74%, Kindle edition).
At times the book was hard to read because of all the self-doubting and self-hate thoughts. There is a lot of repetition of Nic’s thoughts. At times, it seems like she’s being whiny while other times it is wholly justified. At all times she is a teenager questioning her own identity. Towards the end, we learn that there is a reason for her repetitive thoughts and it makes her much more endearing as a character. Her most redeeming characteristic was her unwavering love of art.
This book was slow-paced, very much a contemporary coming-of-age book.
Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.
This novel was published by KV BOOKS LLC on 06/07/2022 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 3.75
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