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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Susan and Orchid are two girls in the same class at school. They grow up together. Susan is very popular because she is pretty and comes from a wealthy family, while Orchid is not as popular as she comes from a poorer family. When invited to join Susan’s group of friends and become popular, Orchid takes a stand when Susan refuses to accept Orchid’s friends. Bigger issues come between the girls: Jacob likes Orchid, but Susan likes and wants Jacob. It’s a love triangle between pre-adolescents. The children grow up and their needs change. Friendships are challenged as are the issues of what is right and wrong in relationships. It creates an interesting tangle of webs, lies and competitive hormones. Life is not so perfect in the pretty little town of Roses, amongst the pretty little children who attend Roses Primary. And beauty is, as always, in the eye of the beholder as both Susan and Orchid are considered beautiful.
Phakedi Jacob Zeekoei’s little story, Pretty and Ugly: The Collection, addresses typical issues facing young children as they grow up: friendships, first love, popularity, social issues, and so much more. The story is told mostly through dialogue which is, at times, a little stilted, but it carries the story forward. The children are realistically presented and the plot is developed with care and compassion. The story does tend to jump around a bit and the language is sometimes awkward, almost as if the story was written in another language first and then translated into English. But the message is clear and the storytelling makes this an interesting read.