Cover image for The prettiest
The prettiest
1st ed.
Physical Description:
309 pages ; 22 cm.
When a list appears online ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade, everything turns upside down. Eve Hoffman, ranked number one, can't ignore how everyone is suddenly talking about her looks. Sophie, the most popular girl in school, feels lower than ever when she's bullied for being ranked number two. Nessa Flores-Brady didn't even make the list, but she doesn't care -- or does she? The three girls ban together to find out who made the list but their journey doesn't lead them where they expect.


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A list appears online, ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade.Eve Hoffman is disgusted by the grating, anonymous text messages she's been receiving ever since she was ranked number one. Sophie Kane is sick of the bullying she's endured after being knocked down a peg by the list. And Nessa Flores-Brady is tired of the outside world trying to define who she is. Reeling from the rampant sexism and objectification in their school, the three girls attempt to track down the list's creator. But are they prepared for what they might find?

Author Notes

Brigit Young was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and now lives in New York City, along with her husband and daughters. She is a proud graduate of the City College of New York, and has taught creative writing to kids of all ages in settings ranging from workshops at Writopia Lab to bedsides at a pediatric hospital. Brigit has published poetry and short fiction in numerous literary journals, as well as the middle grade novels Worth a Thousand Words and The Prettiest.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Sexism, harassment, and finding one's identity are the topics addressed in this timely novel. Drama explodes in the eighth grade class when someone posts a list of the 50 prettiest girls. Jewish Eve Hoffman, #1 prettiest, just wants to "slide by, unnoticed," but she's suddenly receiving a lot of unwanted attention, including an onslaught of inappropriate texts ("I know you stuff your bra"). Eve's plus-size best friend, Nessa Flores-Brady, didn't make the list and is sick of being devalued because of her size and Latinx heritage. And blonde queen-bee Sophie Kane is furious about her number two ranking. While the administration tries to find out who's behind the rankings, the three girls join forces to launch their own investigation, learning something about each other and themselves. Written using language that middle schoolers will find relatable ("Eve could feel them staring"), Young (Worth a Thousand Words) conveys a timely message about bullying and sexism, digging beneath the surface to show her protagonists' intelligence, distinct talents, and misguided preconceptions. Ages 8--12. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong. (Apr.)

Horn Book Review

The story opens with the surfacing of an anonymous list of the fifty prettiest girls in eighth grade at Ford Middle School. Eve, who's comfortably accustomed to going unnoticed but who has just undergone a "summer of the curves," is ranked at number one, just above popular Sophie, who's shocked not to get the top spot. Eve's best friend Nessa, a self-described "bigger girl," is not shocked to be left off completely. As the sudden emphasis on comparing looks causes dynamic shifts, unwanted attention, and conflict throughout the eighth-grade class, third-person chapters rotate their focus among the three young women, who form a shaky alliance in hopes of taking revenge on the list's creator-whose identity isn't as obvious as it seems. While the revenge plot and the mystery of who's responsible keep pages turning, the novel considers the questions the list raises about the role and value of physical appearance from a number of angles, helped by the diverse characters' varying attitudes and levels of naivete. A conversation starter. Shoshana Flax May/June 2020 p.136(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Three eighth-graders manage the fallout after someone publishes a ranked list of the prettiest girls in their class. Being ranked No. 1 throws young poet Eve Hoffman's life into chaos. A second-place ranking knocks Sophie Kane for a loop, too; she's desperate never to be seen as "less than" or "white trash" like her single mom. Nessa Flores-Brady never expected to make the list (not because she's Latina, but because she's fat), and she's determined not to let it affect her. Still, the rankings put Eve and Nessa's best friendship at risk, threaten Sophie's status as the most popular, and galvanize the eighth grade into targeted bullying. The rude, disgusting, and occasionally anti-Semitic messages that flood Eve's phone are all too familiar for anyone who's attended a majority-white middle-class American school--even their principal, an Asian American woman, recalls a time a boy snapped her bra so hard she bled, and no adults did anything. To the girls' credit, they communicate about the effects of normative beauty standards and band together against the people (mostly boys) who enforce them, but of course the perpetrator isn't whom they think. Eve's older brother, Abe, and classmate Winston (who seems to be white) offer windows into the pressures of toxic masculinity. Endearingly nerdy references permeate the narrative. Their school is a diverse one, with difference mostly conveyed through naming convention. A sensitive story about sexual harassment and bullying with a feel-good ending. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

For bookish and socially awkward Eve, life is upended when she appears at the top of an anonymous list ranking the 50 prettiest eighth-grade girls of Ford Middle School. Largely disinterested in her appearance and uncomfortable with her newly acquired curves, Eve finds being defined by her body a nightmare, especially as disgusting text messages from unknown numbers begin rolling in. Luckily, Eve's confident, musical theater--loving bestie, Nessa, has her back, but Sophie--popular, blonde, and seemingly perfect--seethes at being number two. Narrative perspective shifts among these three girls, offering poignant insight into the varying tolls the list takes, while peeling back unconscious judgments made by the girls themselves. Though Nessa and Eve have always been below Sophie's notice, the three form a wary alliance to figure out who made the list and to get revenge. While the book's adults take immediate steps to address the list, their actions aren't really felt by the students. Young does a commendable job of showing how every girl, whether on the list or not, is impacted by such an act of toxic masculinity. So are the boys, though many struggle to understand how making the list isn't a compliment. Flawed personalities (tween and adult alike) and important personal revelations lead to a compelling and topical narrative that leaves its characters--and readers--stronger and wiser.