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All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill
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All About Vee

by C. Leigh Purtill

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353491,209 (4)1
When her father finally sets a wedding date, eighteen-year-old Veronica convinces her best friends to head for Los Angeles to try to make their dreams come true, but her weight and inexperience make it hard for the aspiring actress even to get auditions.

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Reviewed by Harmony for TeensReadToo.com

Veronica May, better known as Vee, has always been a daddy's girl. Now Daddy is remarrying and Veronica feels replaced, so she sets off to Hollywood, to follow her dreams of being an actress and to follow in her deceased mother's footsteps.

Vee moves in with her old best friend, who had graduated early to pursue her own acting dream, and with her advice, Vee begins taking yoga, acting classes, and starts working at the local coffee shop.

Of course, not everything goes as planned. With an unexpected romance, a backstabbing best friend, and all the drama that comes with being in Hollywood, Vee begins to wonder whether or not she'll ever make it in the acting world, especially when they're not exactly open to plus-sized actors.

ALL ABOUT VEE was, to use a single word, unexpected. I didn't realize there'd be so much depth in the novel, despite it's length. I figured it'd be something between GOSSIP GIRL and SECRETS OF MY HOLLYWOOD LIFE, but it was something so much better than that.

The characters were well-developed and relatable and the prose was well-written. You could really feel yourself being transported into the story and it was so easy to relate to Vee, as well as the other characters. The plot itself was original and not your average take on an up-and-coming actress. There was nothing about being rich or having the right look or anything you usually find in those types of novels. The romance was also very realistic and, though it was a bit predictable, I really did enjoy it.

I would definitely recommend ALL ABOUT VEE to everyone, especially if you have an interest in acting, Hollywood, or just want to read something fun. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 9, 2009 |
Veronica May, nicknamed Vee, is the best plus-size actress that the small town of Chester, Arizona has ever seen. Actually, she’s the best actress out of Chester, ever. The sense of uprootedness she feels from her father’s upcoming remarriage drives Veronica to follow in the footsteps of her dead mother, Diana, and, more recently, her good friend Vivian Reed out to L.A. to make it big-time!

Vee isn’t prepared for the cutthroat atmosphere of Hollywood, however. Nobody wants to cast a “fat” girl, and people can say one thing and mean another, as she begins to realize, even Vivian—who goes by Reed now. At least her job at a local cool coffeeshop is going well. She’s making friends with her coworkers, and there might even be a developing romantic interest with her manager, Philip. But in a city that’s famous for its backstabbing and disappointments, can Veronica do what her mother couldn’t: overcome all obstacles and stay true to herself?

ALL ABOUT VEE is the quintessential feel-good read, with a great message and the perfect blend of romance and fun! Its greatest strength, of course, lies in its protagonist. Veronica keeps it real; her reactions, emotions, and actions are the genuine ones of that girl behind the counter who you just know will make a great friend. I was also appreciative of the fact that this book wasn’t completely about Vee trying to overcome her body image issues. Yes, it’s mentioned, as it rightfully should be—prejudiced judgments, unfortunately, still exist everywhere in all forms—but through it all Veronica remains true to herself. She is not easily broken by harsh words, and insteads picks herself up and looks forward to the future, where she’ll kick everyone else’s undeserving butts in auditions and make a name for herself out of her real talent. You’ll want to cheer for Veronica as she develops through this lovely little book! ( )
  stephxsu | Jul 16, 2009 |
I must admit, before I started ALL ABOUT VEE I believed I knew how the story would turn out. Naive young woman goes to Hollywood to make it big? Plus-sized girl tries to make it in an industry obsessed with too-thin girls? I expected a story that would feel good in the end, but until then I'd face the protagonist's lack of self-confidence and growing disillusionment. No, I don't hate that kind of book. It's simply a familiar trajectory and sometimes you long for something different.

Something different is what C. Leigh Purtill delivered. In the first chapter, she smacked down my prejudices. Veronica wasn't self-conscious about her weight. Oh, she knows she's 217 pounds. She also knows it doesn't matter onstage. Onstage she's a star. She's got arrogance and pride because she's talented, hard-working, and a budding star.

But while Vee has plenty of confidence in her professional life, she's less certain in her personal. She's fond of her father's long-time fiancee, May May, but she just can't bring herself to acknowledge her as a mother figure. It's the discovery of her mother Diana's letters to her father while she tried to make it as an actress that convinces Vee to make her move. She's seeking a connection with her mother just as much as she's seeking success.

She leaves the two Vees - Val and Virginia - in Chester, AZ, and joins the Vee - Vivian, who now goes by Reed - who already set out for Hollywood. It's beautiful, tiny Reed who lacks self-confidence, not Veronica. Of course, Veronica trusts her friend and misses how Reed knocks her down to build herself up. Luckily for Veronica, she makes some real friends. These real friends include Phillip, the cute coffee shop manager who encourages Veronica to remain true to her talent.

It's hard to watch Vee try to navigate Hollywood. She's learning a new medium, realizing that some of her stage training works against acting in front of a camera. She's also learning that some roles will never consider her, despite her skill. Others will consider her regardless of skill, to make her a sitcom's token slob. Despite this, Veronica remains refreshingly confident and optimistic to the end.

Purtill resolves Veronica's issues with her family equally well. Early on I realized that if Diana became famous, Veronica's life likely wouldn't exist. It's interesting to read Diana's letters and put the pieces of the past together. It's also interesting to see how they help Vee appreciate her father and May May, who she left rather callously in the beginning of the novel.

As for the love interest, I like Phillip. He knows how to appreciate personality, intelligence, and talent. He lets Veronica make her own decisions but offers her advice and opportunities. Plus, he encourages Vee to make coffee. She clearly can't make iced tea correctly if she thinks the secret is not boiling the water. ( )
  Liviania | Sep 17, 2008 |
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