The strengths of this book are the realistic setting and the nuanced relationships between family members. Blythe clearly knows her characters' neighborhood, and she delivers the setting in vivid, sensory detail. Readers will be fully encompassed in the 1980's Brooklyn streets on which this story takes place. Part of that realistic setting is Blythe's ability to deliver authentic African-American characters while avoiding stereotypes. Characters are fully realized, and their choices are rooted in their individual motivations. I especially enjoyed the often strained family relationships as Blythe treats each character with unflinching honesty and a dose of compassionate insight, and doesn't offer pat, easy answers where none exist.
What Left Me Wanting More:
While I found parts of the plot to be predictable, I think this story is more about character growth than plot. I did wish for the gang of girls to stop obsessing all the time about "pretty" girls or for the author to find a way to deal with that in a way that helped resolve the animosity and single-minded focus.
Fans of Walter Dean Myers and readers looking for a nuanced, authentic multi-cultural book free of stereotypes will enjoy REVENGE OF A NOT-SO-PRETTY GIRL.