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Duckling Ugly (Dark Fusion)
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About the Author

Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He lives in Southern California with his four children.

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Gr 6 Up-This third book in the series stars Cara De Fido, who is so ugly that her reflection breaks mirrors. She's a champion speller but even that accomplishment is spoiled after she's tricked into spelling words like "grotesque" and "abomination" at a spelling bee. She suffers from a type of sleepwalking she calls "sleep standing" because she doesn't move. In this state, Cara dreams of a handsome boy in a beautiful green valley. She befriends the town's other outcast, an old lady who lives in the cemetery, who tells her that she has a destiny that she must search for. After a guy she likes betrays her, she runs away to find her dream place. There, the inhabitants hold the secret to everlasting beauty. Cara longs to be one of the beautiful people, but she can't forget those she left behind. She goes back but not before being warned that she can only stay away for a short time or she will find that there are "worse things than being ugly." By returning, she makes a decision that she knows is wrong but that she can't help and, as a result, she creates "a world of suffering." While not as richly written as the fairy-tale retellings by Donna Jo Napoli or Robin McKinley, Shusterman has created his own dark, edgy, and suspenseful tale that cleverly borrows from such classics as the "The Ugly Ducking," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Beauty and the Beast."-Sharon Rawlins, NJ Library for the Blind and Handicapped, Trenton Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Undeniably captivating. (Booklist)

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