A fan of J.C. Oates from my college days, I thought this was a great YA choice that my librarian, Holly, introduced me to. I was involved from the first page and although I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I was a little disturbed by the subject. A timely topic, Oates did a fantastic job of showing what happens when an off-hand comment, over-heard by “trouble-makers” is passed on to adults as the truth.
When Matt, aka Big Mouth, is questioned by his friends, his acquaintances, his teachers, and the police, his teen-age life, as if it isn’t difficult enough, is turned upside down. The only one brave enough to stand up to the liars is Ursula, aka Ugly Girl, who also over-heard his comments and defended Matt’s honor by telling the police the truth. After months of investigation Matt’s life can finally get back to some kind of normal, but it is a new normal and one where he found out who his real friends are and the one special person who stayed by his side through the entire ordeal, Ursula.
One way to grow up fast is to have an emotionally difficult situation thrust upon you. For Matt and Ursula both, the bond that grew between them may never have happened had the situation been different. It makes you wonder if there is a pattern to life and if certain events twist the world in such a way that helps us, however unwelcome the situation maybe, into the strong individual we are meant to become.
I rate “Big Mouth, Ugly Girl” 5 out of 5 stars *****
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