Make Me Over ed by Marilyn Singer.
Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Group: NY, 2005.

The 11 stories in this collection include pros and cons in transforming oneself. Too often makeovers refer to an arbitrary standard that has nothing to do with who a person is. This book addresses this and also the need to sometimes change oneself slightly to discover a personal style or belief. The title actually was a drawback to me, but I hoped that the stories would not be that shallow, and they are not.

This is another collection in which the readers' own experiences would greatly determine which stories resonate the most. One of my favorites is Bedhead Red, Peekaboo Pink by Marilyn Singer in which a boy starts dating a blind girl because she can't see him. He genuinely enjoys her company but lies about his appearance. So when she wants to introduce him to others, he gets a makeover to continue the ruse. The Resurrection by Jess Mowry is more serious, with a homeless boy hanging with a friend for food and some time off the street. Despite his friend's effort, the boy becomes dangerously ill. The makeover refers to the funeral home next door. Frank, in Bazooka Joe and the Chaos Kid by Norma Howe, isn't looking for any transformation. He likes his life the way it is, junk and all, until he meets Jenna and invites her over to his house. Peni R. Griffin's character in Vision Quest has lost sight of who she is supposed to be. It seems that she is different people depending on who she interacts with. So she performs an urban vision quest to find herself and her spirit guide. These are the stories that impressed me the most in the book, but I feel sure that others' picks would be different. It's certainly an interesting book with wide ranging topics.

In Some People Call Me Maurice, Michael and his friends pretend to be French in an effort to be cooler. In Not Much To It by René Saldaña, Jr., Becky runs into an acquaintance from high school looking for free makeovers. It isn't until later that she realizes she has grown since high school and doesn't need to be cast in the same role. I enjoyed Wabi's Ears by Joseph Bruchac. An owl turns human to court the daughter of a chief. She drives him away, though she is impressed. It is through music that he wins her heart. I also enjoyed Terry Trueman's Honestly, Truthfully. After noticing that nobody tells the truth, a boy decides he is only going to tell the truth. Not a bad sentiment, but he takes it too far, almost seeming to be obnoxious on purpose. In the end, he decides truthfulness is too dangerous. In Marina Budhos's The Plan a mother remakes herself (name, job, everything) every few years, dragging her son along with her. This time the job is acting, and she involves him, putting him in a position of more control of his own life. Lucky Six by Evelyn Coleman is about as serious as you can get. A young woman performs as an exotic dancer in order to support younger siblings and go to college. With a mother treading on her dreams, she decides it's time to move. Butterflies by Margaret Peterson Haddix is way different. An immigrant invites a young woman to come to the United States to be his bride, when he learns that she is the only one left from their old village. She's not sure what to expect on arrival and succumbs to the makeover attempts of a women's charity organization.
related-coming of age, short stories, transformations, exploration, makeovers, remake

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