Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Blog Tour: Doreen by Ilana Manaster

Doreen by Ilana Manaster. 336 p. RP Teen/ Running Press Book Publisher, June 6, 2016. 9780762459629. (Review from arc courtesy of the publisher.) 

This is a retelling of The Picture of Dorian Gray set in the present at a New England boarding school. Doreen Gray arrives at the elite Chandler Academy in her junior year because her estranged father and the headmaster were have been friends since they both attended Chandler years ago. Doreen has been admitted as a favor.

Poor Doreen is a lumpy, pimply mess of a bully magnet. Her cousin, Biz hasn't seen her since Doreen's parents divorced many years earlier and, since she is good at heart, tries to make Doreen feel at home. Biz's roommate, Heidi is the resident queen bee. Were it not for Doreen's relation to Biz, Heidi would probably make Doreen's life miserable. But Heidi sees something in Doreen and she decides to offer Doreen a makeover and introductions around school.

Biz, who is a whiz at Photoshop, takes a picture of Doreen and touches it up a bit. The result is shocking and looks nothing like the real Doreen. Doreen tearfully accuses Biz of making fun of her and wishes that she looked like the beauty in the photo. The next day, Doreen wakes and finds herself transformed into that beauty. Heidi continues to groom Doreen, who proves to be a quick study. It isn't long before Doreen is ruling the campus, breaking curfew as well as hearts. 

She is not the only one with secrets. 

This was a fun read, perfect for summer reading. Teen readers who have The Picture of Dorian Gray assigned for high school will be amused by the retelling but the story stands on its own and will be enjoyed by teens who have not read the classic. The setting is vivid. The social interactions are believable. There are sympathetic characters as well as characters teens will love to hate. There's plenty of suspense to spare as Doreen seems unstoppable. Recommended!

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