I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Pretty App by Katie Sise
Series: App #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 14th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to—okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect—just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.
Then Harrison—and every other high school in America—becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show—in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win.
And nobody is there to make friends.
The Boyfriend App author Katie Sise spins another irresistible tale of technology, secrets, and big-time romance in this story of what it takes to be #trulybeautiful.
I really enjoyed The Boyfriend App when I read it just last year, so even though The Pretty App was somewhat of a surprise, random sequel, I was excited to check it out. This companion sequel was fun and entertaining, though ultimately not that memorable.
I think that before you start reading The Pretty App, you really need to get your expectations in line. I liked The Boyfriend App because of its geeky app development, geeky characters, and bantery romance – and, well, none of those things really feature in The Pretty App. The Pretty App follows Blake, the mean ex-best friend to Audrey, the main character in The Boyfriend App. Blake is… an interesting character. She’s arguably popular, though more of a mean girl HBIC in her school. However, she has more insecurities than most people realize.
The biggest of these insecurities is the fact that Blake feels like the only thing she has going for her is her beauty. It doesn’t help that this fact has been pushed upon her by her horrible father since birth, pretty much. Her father is a gubernatorial candidate and is all about having the perfect looking family and life, but he’s not exactly getting a parent of the year award. So Blake prides her beauty as her sole strength, and her insecurities cause her to lash out at other people. However, throughout The Pretty App she starts breaking these habits and being kinder, so there definitely is growth there. While this does make Blake a different main character than most, and to an extent she is realistic and complex, it does just feel a bit cliché and maybe too easy. [Though she wins ten bajillion points for how cool she is when a character comes out to her. Best scene of the book for sure.]
Blake’s pride in her looks causes her to enter Public’s Pretty App competition, which culminates in her appearance on a reality TV show electing the prettiest high school girl in America. The reality tv show bit doesn’t start until the second half of the book though – something to keep in mind – because the first half is focusing on Blake’s insecurities, repairing her friendship with Audrey, a budding romance with Leo, and expanding on her messed up family dynamics. The reality TV bit is entertaining, for sure, as it should be, but since it only lasts 3 days, it is extremely brief. Blake also works to uncover a certain mystery together with Audrey’s help behind the scenes, which helped to keep me completely engrossed in this story. Seriously, the writing is so fluid and easygoing, which really helped my enjoyment.
As to the romance in the novel – it’s rather small, and I liked it but don’t have any real big feelings about it. At the beginning, Leo is super charming, and I liked how he saw through Blake from the start – though maybe that was a bit easy. Then, however, he gets all mysterious and runs away, hiding things from Blake. This after like one date together. So then when Blake obsesses over it, doubting his feelings and whatever, it just felt a bit stretched. Over-dramatic. It wasn’t exactly instalove, because they don’t name their feelings as such, but they had an unrealistically strong connection for the fact that they went on one date together. But at the end, they were really cute together again, so… yeah. I dunno. I liked it, though parts felt underdeveloped.
And I think that’s my biggest point for the whole book: it all feels a bit underdeveloped and rushed. Blake’s character development, Blake and Leo’s romance, the Pretty App competition… none of it was bad or annoying, but it was all a bit simplistic. I enjoyed myself, reading the book, but it won’t stay with me for long. I will say, however, that I like how Katie Sise simply spotlights society’s norms like the culture of internet bitchiness and bullying, which really made me think.