Be Strong & Curvaceous (All About Us Series, Book 3)
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (3/09)
Carly Aragon is a scholarship student, attending the rather exclusive SpencerAcademy in San Francisco. When she returns there after the spring break, she discovers that she’s gotten a new roommate, a rather standoffish and extremely flamboyant daughter of an English Earl. To make matters considerably worse, her new roommate, Lady Lindsay MacPhail, who prefers to go by “Mac,” seems to have set her sights on Carly’s secret crush, Brett Loyola.
Problems for Carly abound, not only is she dealing with the all too typical teenage insecurities (too much junk in the trunk kind…), but she needs to earn some money for a project she set her heart on and to top all of that, she needs to deal with her roommate’s problems. Mac is getting really weird and scary e-mails from an obvious stalker. Will the girls learn the truth quickly enough? Will they learn to trust each other and learn how to put their trust in God? Or will the end be all too tragic?
Shelley Adina’s “Be Strong & Curvaceous” is the type of a book I could only wish were available to me when I was growing up. Dealing with real issues, the kind that teenagers encounter every day, a book like this would make a young person realize that they are not weird for feeling what they feel and fearing what they fear. The wonderful diversity of characters in the book assures that most teenage girls could find at least one character to relate to, as well as see and laugh at and with others, modeled on their apparent “nemesis” in every day life. The issues and conflicts presented sound real and believable, and the solutions are not unattainable. One of the strongest points in this book is the very clearly illustrated situation of doing the apparently right thing, yet still having to bear the consequences of disobeying the authority, as is depicted by Carly’s temporary suspension from the school for disobeying a direct order from the headmistress. As the headmistress aptly points out, what Carly did might have been the right thing to do in the cosmic scheme of things, but it was against the rules of SpencerAcademy.
I have thoroughly enjoyed “Be Strong & Curvaceous.” While undoubtedly a Christian-beliefs-based book, it never becomes preachy and limiting, but rather keeps showing that trust in ourselves as well as God will help one overcome even the most difficult obstacles. The characters and the story are vivid and enchanting, and I am definitely looking for more books from this witty and talented author, Shelley Adina.