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Be Strong & Curvaceous by Shelley Adina
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Be Strong & Curvaceous

by Shelley Adina

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Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

Carly Aragon has had a rough start at Spencer Academy. She's a scholarship student who feels that she needs to hide her status from the rest of the school, just to fit in. She's been secretly crushing on Brett Loyola, who is way out of her league. After all, he was dating the It Girl, Vanessa Talbot. And to top it off, she was accused of selling exam scores to other members of the junior class. So she has high hopes upon her return after spring break.

But she comes back to find out that she's got a new roommate...Lady Lindsay `Mac' MacPhail. How can Carly compete with a Lady? And Mac is everything that Carly is not. It will only be a matter of days before Mac is a new member of Vanessa's crowd.

Carly can't believe her luck when she is approached by one of Vanessa's minions to join the Design Your Dreams committee. The DYD event is the opportunity Carly has been waiting for. It will give her a chance to showcase one of her own designs, for Carly is an amazing fashion designer. She just needs the chance to prove it. The only condition of being on the committee is that she has to convince her new roommate to come along. Carly will figure out something. They haven't exactly gotten off on the right foot, but she will do whatever it takes.

Slowly, Carly and Mac come to accept each other. Though they may not be friends, Mac tries to instill some confidence in Carly. Mac convinces Carly she is beautiful in her own right, and has much to be proud of. And she makes Carly start to think that she has just as much chance of dating Brett as someone like Vanessa does.

It's only after Mac shares her mysterious emails from the Drifter that the two finally come together. Through a bizarre twist of events that only the guiding hand of God could direct, the two, plus their other band of friends, come together to save themselves, and Spencer Academy. And surprisingly, Carly gets more than she bargained for in the end.

I have to admit that I enjoyed BE STRONG AND CURVACEOUS (the third novel in the ALL ABOUT US series) the best to date. There's a fourth due out in the spring (WHO MADE YOU A PRINCESS?) that I'm eagerly looking forward to, as well. The series of events in BE STRONG AND CURVACEOUS seemed much more real to me than those in THE FRUIT OF MY LIPSTICK. I found Carly far more likeable and vulnerable than the previous two characters that have been written about.

Don't get me wrong, both of the previous novels were good, but I enjoyed the drama and intrigue in this novel the most. Ms. Adina does a wonderful job infusing the love and guidance of God into the lives of insecure teenage girls. The story shares the wonders of newfound faith as well as unquestionable friendships.

Read BE STRONG AND CURVACEOUS - you won't be disappointed. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 9, 2009 |
Perfect for : Personal reading, book club read

In a nutshell: This is a great book for adults and young adults alike. Carly Aragon is instantly likable, and her room-mate Mac has a quick wit about her. As a reader we learn that she is a talented fashion designer, and that she is at the Spencer Academy in San Francisco on a scholarship. She returns from break to find that she has a new room-mate, and later finds that her room-mate has a secret, and is in need of a friend and some help! Throw in a little faith, a little romance, and a little intrigue and action, and you have a perfect story!

Extended Review:
Characters: You've got the girl who deserves to be there, her close and supportive faith-filled friends, the new-girl, the popular girl, the cute guy, the nice boss, etc! The characters in the book have been written and developed in a way that makes you feel that they have come to life.

Story-Line: Carly struggles to hide the fact that she is at the school on a scholarship, and that she needs to earn money to pay for extras. Crushes and popularity issues abound throughout the book, and are something everyone can relate to, no matter where you went to school! Carly also struggles to hide the fact that she is a scholarship kid, her dad is "no one" and she is not privileged like some of the other kids (expensive vacations, top brand name clothing, etc). When her new room-mate arrives, she learns to be a better friend, and must make some important choices that will impact the life of her new friend.

Readability: A fun and quick read - very enjoyable!

Overall: A great book for any age, but probably something a young adult girl would love as she would see that other people experience the same things . . . minus the Prada and LV high fashion items! ( )
  wbarker | Sep 10, 2009 |
The Review

In the continuing reviews of the It’s All About Us Series, this is my review of the 3rd book in the series. The first book is It’s All About Us, the second is The Fruit of My Lipstick, and the fourth is Who Made You A Princess?.

All of our favorite characters are here in this story and we get to meet a new one, Mac. She’s true European Royalty! But, despite the “gang,” this is Carly’s story, how she becomes a Christian and how she grows in her relationship with God. Carly shares with us:

“It’s not the brain,” I said quietly. “It’s the heart. I felt like mine was going to explode. And not in a cardiac-arrest way.” I waggled my hands, trying to gather the right words. “A love way.”

As Carly struggles with her popularity, parents’ divorce, and financial difficulties, she turns to God to help her with each hurdle. What Carly remembers to do and reminds the reader is showing thanks for God’s grace. Here she prays:

”You are here with me, Father. Thank you for helping me see that. Thank you for this class and for letting me discover something that I really love to do.”

She learns to see the big picture and how God has a plan for her life, even to the smallest details. One thing that I was reminded of today is that God loves a challenge and we can trust him with those big hurdles and the little details. In this book, Carly’s adventure reflects just that!

As I’ve commented in the other 3 reviews of this series, I appreciate Shelley Adina’s efforts to provide our tweens and teens with a positive message and good, clean read! She puts God at the center of the hearts of her heroines and nothing can be better than that!

On Sher’s “Out of Ten Scale:”

I love love love this series and for my review of this Fiction: YA-Christian, I am going to rate this book an 8.5 OUT OF 10. ( )
  ANovelMenagerie | Jun 24, 2009 |
Be Strong and Curvaceous is the third book in the 'all about us' series - but it was also very good as a stand alone. The hardest thing about reading it first was just getting the cast of characters set in my mind. Carly, Lissa and Gillian are all students (juniors) at Spencer Academy in San Francisco. They have just started the spring term and upon arriving back at school, Carly discovers that she has a new roommate - "Mac" who we later discover is Lady Lindsay MacPhail, daughter of the Earl of Strathcairn. Mac isn't at the school long before she publicly humiliates Vanessa Talbot (the "it" girl at the school) and puts up a wall that Carly isn't sure she wants to negotiate. Adding to Carly's confusion is that she just became a Christian and is sure that this isn't the Christian thing to do! Mac could also help her reach her goal of designing a dress in the Design Your Dream Event - if only she hadn't taken on Vanessa. To make matters worse, in seems like Mac also has her eyes on Brett, Carly's crush!

This book has romance, rivalry, responsibility, friendship, adventure, and most importantly God! I want my daughter to read it so that she can see that she can talk with God in any and all circumstances - even boys! This would be a great read for a teenage girl. I can't wait to get the first book! ( )
  kherbrand | Jan 10, 2009 |
As always, I am an adult who is always attracted to YA books that send a positive message about life and who you are.

I would hate to be a YA today - the pressure to "fit in" to be "like everyone else" is enormous and that is what the subject matter that is tackled by author Shelley Adina in this book Be Strong and Curvaceous.

Without even opening the book, the author had me at the title. However, I was delighted when the storyline confirmed my initial thought - this book brings back main character Carly. She is now at Spencer Academy and finally, some of her dreams seem to be coming through. She is asked to sit on the Design Your Dream Committee, but in order to be one of them, she will have to compromise some of her ideals - will she?

Thrown into this mix is a new roommate who brings some problems of her own. After they start receiving strange emails, Mac and Carly will find themselves having to find out the truth, in more ways than one.

This third book in the series All About Us - gives us everything - action, drama, romance and a message. There is some talk of God in this book and while I would necessarily classify it as Christian Fiction, there is a strong penchant for religion, however, I do not feel as though it is over the top - it does fit in well with the overall storyline.

Nice writing, good story and an important message. I recommend this book to all YA. ( )
  Nitestar | Dec 27, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446177997, Paperback)

After spending spring break in Mexico with her grandparents, Carly Aragon can't wait to get back to school at Spencer Academy in San Francisco. With Lissa Mansfield and Gillian Chang by her side, she's ready for anything . . . except a new roommate.
Lady Lindsay MacPhail, flamboyant daughter of the Earl of Strathcairn, quickly becomes Carly's worst nightmare. "Mac" not only swoops in and steals Carly's privacy, she's also dating Brett Loyola--Carly's biggest crush!
But when Mac starts receiving strange, threatening e-mails, she and Carly must come together to figure out who's behind them and why. In the end, the fate of one girl will lie in the other's hands. Will the two learn to trust one another and trust God?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:20 -0400)

Carly, a Mexican American scholarship student at exclusive Spencer Academy in San Francisco, hides her status from her wealthy school friends until her new roommate, a Scottish aristocrat, is threatened by an angry young man and needs Carly's--and God's--help.… (more)

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