Thursday, January 10, 2013

Poignant And Hopeful, The Lovely Shoes Speaks to All

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Franny Hall should be excited about starting high school, even if it's just in tiny Eastbrook, Ohio.  But she's not.  While her friends can't wait to go to dances, date older boys, and try out for the cheerleading squad, 14-year-old Franny's mortified by the thought of even trying those things.  She already knows she's hideous, with her deformed left foot and clunky orthopedic shoes, she doesn't need immature high school boys to remind her of that already humiliating fact.  If only she were normal, like her best friend Boots, then she'd be able to enjoy all these new opportunities.  Life has taught Franny that gimps like her shouldn't even bother for fairy tale endings because they just ain't gonna happen.  

Margaret Hall, Franny's beautiful, flamboyant mother, doesn't care what anyone else says—she thinks Franny's beautiful.  And more than capable of dancing, dating and cheering with the best of them.  But her daughter's despair spurns her into action.  She hatches a wild plan that involves traveling to Italy and convincing famous designer Salvatore Ferragamo to create a perfect shoe for Franny.  It's a wild idea—even for Margaret—but one that just might change everything for a self-conscious girl with an uncooperative left foot.  

Based on the author's real-life experience, The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve is a story about one girl's quest to accept her body, despite its flaws.  It's an engaging and hopeful tale, one that feels authentic and true.  Every girl can relate to Franny's struggles—not just with self-image, but also with trying to fit in, navigating changing friendships, and falling in love for the first time.  Not to mention discovering the power of the perfect pair of shoes!  Poignant but funny, The Lovely Shoes is a memorable story that will speak to anyone who's ever felt out of place (in other words: all of us).  

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  PG for mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Lovely Shoes from the generous folks at Scholastic.  Thank you!  

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