And the first runner up is...
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. (From Goodreads)
Before, starting this I was excepting a typical feel good novel, and I got that. Plus, a lot more.
Dara was the typical "Fat girl" though she had many other qualities that made her quite likable and someone you could relate to. Sure, she sometimes felt insecure about her weight and got a little annoying about it at times. Though, she also was a funny and heartwarming person, that I liked a lot. Owen, a teenage boy who lived on Dara's aunt farm, was another great character, too.
The plot was okay, but not completely original or fantastic. I liked how you slowly got told about what happened with Rachel, Dara's older sister, and their parents. I must admit, I was quite surprised by what really happened. Then, the Beauty Show and Farm parts of the book were cute and great adds to the story.
Megan's writing made Secrets of Truth and Beauty a compelling read. I look forward to reading more by her.
Overall, Secrets of Truth and Beauty was a great novel with a fantastic message of " Learn to love who you are and do not focus on the bad qualities" By the way, Megan, if you are reading this, can you please write a sequel? I'm dying to know what happens next! :)
Secrets of Truth and Beauty will be released July 7, 2009. Also, be sure to check out Megan's site.
* Much thanks to Megan and the people at Hyperion for sending me this book!