Pretty Funny by Rebecca Elliott
Published by: Penguin Random House Children’s
Released: 19th March 2020
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
‘Does anyone ever really want to ‘fall’ in love? Knowing me I’ll just trip over it and graze my knee on the gravel of humiliation.‘
Haylah Swinton is fairly confident she’s brilliant at being a girl. She’s an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an INCREDIBLY patient sister to her four-year-old total nutter of a brother, Noah. But she has a secret. She wants to be a stand-up comedian, but she’s pretty sure girls like her – big girls, girls who don’t get all the boys, girls who a lot of people don’t see – don’t belong on stage.
That hasn’t stopped her dreaming though, and when the seemingly perfect opportunity to write routines for older, cooler, impossibly funny Leo arises… well, what’s a girl to do? But is Leo quite as interested in helping Haylah as he says he is? Will Haylah ever find the courage to step into the spotlight herself? And when will people stop telling her she’s ‘funny for a girl’?!
Haylah is a cracking best friend, ace daughter and tolerant big sister and life is good! Except for the fact she has a secret. Haylah longs to be a stand up comedian, but she’s convinced that big girls like her don’t belong on the stage. This hasn’t stopped her from writing routines and when she gets the chance to write material for older, gorgeous, funny Leo she jumped at the chance. Is Leo fully interested in helping Haylah as he says he is? And when will she ever find the courage to step into the spotlight herself?
Pretty Funny was a cracking read that had me laughing almost all the way through. It was entertaining and really had me wanting to read on, so much so that I read it all in one sitting. The writing style was so relaxed and casual and it did feel like you were actually one of Haylah’s friends at times. The author managed to pull of the comedic tone so incredibly well and I commend them for it! It can be very hard to write YA Comedy, but Pretty Funny was one that was literally perfect.
The story itself was really insightful and the fact that it revolves around stand up comedy was so refreshing! I only watch stand up comedy once in a blue moon and can probably only name about 5 comedians, so I learnt a lot about the industry from this book and have promised myself I will start watching more stand up. The plot involving cool boy Leo, however, I found to be somewhat predictable and I did find myself guessing what was going to happen by the end of the book. I’ve read a few books with similar romantic plot lines, so it was no surprise to me about what was going to happen. Mind you, this didn’t deter from the fact that overall the plot was really well executed.
Now, let’s talk about Haylah! What a character! She’s definitely one that sticks with you long after you finish reading. Her self confidence and self acceptance regarding her body was turly remarkable and inspirational. Haylah could even be seen as a role model for girls and prove that you don’t need to change anything about yourself to be happy. Also, the fact that she never conformed to the beauty standards forced onto her throughout the book was admirable. She loved who she was and never let anything get in the way of that. In addition to this, the fact that she wanted to pursue a career as a comedian was really unique. You don’t get many girls admitting to wanting to go down that career path, so yet again this was really inspiring.
Body image is one of the main topics of Pretty Funny and one that I am highly passionate about. I am someone who really enjoys reading YA on the topic of body confidence and self acceptance and this was no different. The fact that Haylah embraced the fact that she was bigger and never let it get to her was very encouraging to read. Yes, she got called all the standard names that someone could call a ‘fat’ person, but she took it in her stride. Reading body positive books is something that I feel like everyone should do, and we need more of them within YA.
Pretty Funny was a fun, witty, inspiring read that I really did enjoy! The stand out for me was most definitely Haylah and her confident, entertaining persona. If you want a positivity boost or just want a laugh, then you need to get your hands on this.