Rebel wants to go to paleontology camp (the Ice Age kind, not the dinosaur kind, she explains). Instead, she gets sent to watch her sister's son and meets a friend near their mobile home while the sister is at cosmetology school. She ends up entering a beauty pageant, hoping the prize money will be her ticket to the camp of her dreams.
There are a lot of books out there about girls in poverty with absent parents, and plenty of them have won awards (Waiting for Normal, Everything on a Waffle, The Higher Power of Lucky). This one manages to do some things that are unexpected, and, in my view, more appealing. Rebel is not easy to like - she is frequently bossy and selfish and often relentlessly practical, in spite of anyone else's feelings. It's not a book that will appeal to a lot of readers, but for some, this might be a favourite. I should add that this book includes a lot of non-traditional text elements - beauty pamphlet advice, entries from her science texts, application forms, and so on - this adds a nice element throughout the book.
"Rebel McKenzie quote"
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