BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
This week marks the publication of Beauty and the Bin (available here) by Joanne O’Connell, and today is our stop on the blog tour. Read on for a review of Beauty and the Bin and then head over to author Joanne’s guest booklist exploring 5 children’s books featuring potions
Book Title: Beauty and the Bin (available here)
Author: Joanne O’Connell
Publication Date: Feb 2021
Most Suitable for: Years 5-6+
Review by: Anna Sterling
Beauty and the Bin is a story about a young high school student named Laurie who finds herself torn between her family’s obsessions utilising food waste and living as ecologically as possible, being a good friend to those who understand her (although her family’s way of life is a closely guarded and embarrassing secret), and pleasing the most influential and popular girl at school who happens to have picked her out for her own benefit.
The book is primarily a tale about the pressures a young person feels as self-awareness, other people’s perception of you, and fitting in, becomes all-important. When she is caught by Charley, the most popular and prettiest girl, and the ‘influencer’ in school, rummaging through supermarket bins for perfectly good food, this is the lowest point in Laurie’s life. However, the ensuing conversation leads Charley to learn of Laurie’s ‘Beauty in the kitchen’ profile, where she promotes her natural skin–products she has made from fresh foods. These appear to be the perfect products to win the school’s enterprise competition and so Charley assumes Laurie’s co-operation and partnership, leaving Laurie to abandon her friends, who go it alone. A fortnight of compromising begins, all of which places her on an uncomfortable and chaotic journey as she tries to keep pace with Charley and her manipulation, whilst losing out on her relationships with those that matter – her family and friends.
The main theme is eco-lifestyle and food waste, but this story also offers an excellent example of how the influence and pressure of social media on young people can become more important than reality. Charley’s constant promotion of having the next big thing, including a yet-to-be-made invention by Laurie, her use of intimidation in order to remain in control and maintain approval ratings, and her carefully crafted image, begins to take a toll on Laurie, as she realises that she has been taken advantage of and she has compromised her own ethics. What will it take for Laurie to be true to herself? The satisfying ending provides the answer and wraps up a good read, all with recipes for natural facial products for readers to try at the end of the book.
Click here to read author Joanne O’Connell’s guest booklist exploring 5 children’s books featuring potions.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Joanne for providing the guest post. Check out the other stops on the blog tour, too.
Where next? >
Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.