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Young Adult Fiction Bullying

Born Ugly

by (author) Beth Goobie

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2011
Bullying, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
6 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2011
    List Price

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Westchester 2011 Honorable Mention2013 Saskatoon Book Awards: Young Adult Literature Award nominee

To say Shir is unpopular is a understatement. In fact she's less than homely, therefore a target of casual cruelty in high school. Even though she wishes to remain invisible, bullies find ways of tormenting her, viciously. Worse still, she's an outcast in her own family.

There are two areas where Shir can overcome her negative self image. One is at her part-time job where the kindly Mr. A has hired her as the driver of his grocery delivery truck. The other is at her secret retreat - myplace - where she can sip her beer and watch the river, undisturbed.

But neither sanctuary is safe; Shir discovers that Mr. A's kindness is part of a plot to use her as an accomplice in shady dealings, and her haven by the river is intruded upon by a boy who simply won't go away. While these invasions shatter her initially, both lead to her throwing off the mantle of victim and asserting herself for the first time in her life.

About the author

In high school Beth Goobie studied and taught piano, wrote stories, and was the recipient of academic and citizenship awards. She worked for a year as a nanny in Holland, then moved to Winnipeg where she studied English literature at the University of Winnipeg (receiving the gold medal) and religious studies at the Mennonite Brethren Bible College. She has worked for many years with physically and sexually abused children and is concerned with issues surrounding the anger and powerlessness of those under legal age. Addressing these issues in her writing, she has published several novels for young adults, including Born Ugly, Mission Impossible, The Lottery and Before Wings, as well as poems and short stories for an adult audience in anthologies and magazines such as Fiddlehead, Malahat Review and Quarry. She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Beth Goobie's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This taut thriller showcases the award-winning Canadian author’s gift for creating memorable teen characters who confront tough issues alone—in this case, teen bullying, portrayed in gritty, claustrophobic detail by its victim...Goobie’s third-person voice relentlessly puts readers directly in Shir’s head, pulling no punches in creating a memorable, believable character." -- Kirkus Reviews

"This book will be enjoyed by those who like to root for the outsider and are not afraid of reading edgy material. This is a good addition to young adult collections." -- VOYA

Librarian Reviews

Born Ugly

Shir is unpopular at school and an outcast in her own family; the only places where she can escape are at her part-time job and in her secret retreat down by the river. When her job becomes a world of uncertainty and someone invades her river haven, Shir hopes the alcohol will help her cope. Eventually, Shir must stop being a victim and assert herself or there could be deadly consequences.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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