Looks is the tale of two very different girls who wind up sharing something in common: a hatred of a third girl. Meghan is obese and will binge on food. Aimee, on the other hand, is anorexic and will only binge on a single bite of a carrot. Meghan prides herself on being invisible to the rest of the school while Aimee prides herself on her poetry. But when Cara, the seemingly "nice girl", rewrites Aimee's poetry as her own, Aimee decides to get revenge. And with whose help? Meghan's. Meghan is thrilled to join in as she and Cara have a nasty past together. Together, their revenge is perhaps far meaner than the things Cara has done to them...
I can't say I enjoyed this book. Many topics were left unresolved at the end of the book, such as the girls' eating disorders, and there was no concrete moral. Or perhaps the lack of moral is the moral itself. Anyway, the book was frustrating to get through, and the only reason I wound up finishing it is because I was curious about Meghan's past with Cara. None of the characters learned any lessons, and life wound up continuing normally only a day or two after the plot for revenge was executed. Looks was annoyingly left open, leaving the reader looking for some descending action and a resolution. But it was as invisible as Meghan!
I do have to say, however, that Madeleine George presented an interesting idea to explore. I was curious to read it (seeing as I did), and there was obviously some gripping component because I wound up finishing it (after returning it to the library and taking it out again a few weeks later).
So, if you're dying to read this book, I would say it's age appropriate for anyone 13 and older. Thematic elements include eating disorders, bullying, family issues, and some sexually-charged dialogue.
And if you or anyone you know suffers from an eating disorder, please seek help, because it is out there for you. National Eating Disorders Association has some great information out there (http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/), and the biggest step to getting better is admitting you have an issue. I thought it was important to add this information in here because the book does deal with these topics quite heavily. Remember, help is out there, and you are not alone.
On the Shelf: Under the Banyan Tree by Toni DiPalma