Sunday, September 20, 2009

At Face Value by Emily Franklin

Pages: 240

Published: Oct. 1st '08 by Flux

"You've never seen a nose as big as mine."
In this modern love story, Cyrano de Bergerac is reinvented as a brilliant and funny seventeen-year-old . . . girl. A tennis champion, straight-A student, and editor of the school paper, Cyrie Bergerac has learned to live with her (ahem) peculiar proboscis. And she's got an armory of witty retorts for every schnoz joke that comes her way. But despite her talents and charm, Cyrie is convinced that no guy—hot or otherwise—would deem her crush-worthy. Certainly not Eddie "Rox" Roxanninoff, who's gorgeous, smart, and genuinely nice to boot!
There's someone else smitten with Rox, too. It's Leyla, Cyrie's pretty yet tongue-tied best friend. Helping Leyla seduce Rox through email provides a wonderful way for Cyrie to express her true feelings. But watching her crush hook up with Leyla may be more than she can take. Will Cyrie find the strength to risk it all—nose be damned—and confess her love?
In this funny and poignant spin on a classic, popular YA author Emily Franklin explores the age-old theme of "true beauty" with humor and piercing perception.


We all feel insecure at certain times. Cyrie Bergerac is past that and beyond, or at least thinks she is. Cyrie retorts to every insult that the PBVs--pretty but vapid, as she calls them--make, but does that make her feel any better? Okay, maybe a little but in the end, not so much. Almost everything she thinks about revolves around her nose. Her big, humongous, it-has-its-own-zip-code nose; at least that why she thinks everyone bothers her. Always on the defensive, Cyrie tries to take everything in stride, that's what editors are supposed to act like, right? Except when it comes to Eddie, "Rox" as everyone else calls him, Cyrie just acts like herself because she knows Eddie wouldn't like it any other way. When Leyla--former PBV, and now Cyrie's best friend--asks for help in getting Eddie more interested in her than he already is, Cyrie can't help but hesitate...and say, okay. She figures that this might be a way to get even closer to Eddie, even if it has its limits. Feeling degraded, Cyrie doesn't know where to turn. Will she forever stay "a friend" to Eddie? Or will she finally have the guts to say what she really feels, in her own voice?
At Face Value is an entertaining read that will give you pause with its editorial vocabulary, and anticipation towards its next move. Franklin made the characters believable and portrayed typical issues of teenage angst. She takes an intelligent mind and plants a trivial worry about a facial feature. You find hypocritical thought in this teenage mind that you cannot disagree with. Recommended to teens with minor insecurites that they think have become as massive as Cyrie's nose.

Grade: B+