Book Lists: Ugly Duckling

Have you heard of the ugly duckling trope? I never knew what it was called until recently but it is a trope I am very familiar with. The ugly duckling trope could also be called the “glow up,” the makeover scene, the “ugly” character becomes “pretty” to get the attention of their crush. A Pygmalion retelling, if you will.

Okay, so obviously, this is a very problematic trope. It implies that love is shallow and the only way to get the guy is to be physically attractive. It buys into conventional attractivness, calling a lot of unique characteristics “ugly” because it’s not seen on models. It’s often sexist, fatphobic, and found only in heteronormative stories that focus on the male gaze.

That being said, I still kind of fall for the makeover montage. Not because I think the character was ugly, but because there is something exciting about new clothes and makeup and hair. Because it’s new and fresh–not because it’s prettier than before.

So here are a few books with that trope–and if you choose to read this trope just remember, everyone has their own beautiful characteristics and no one needs to change their apperance to win affection from another.

  • Open Season by Linda Howard

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Average Goodreads Reading: 4.01

When Daisy Minor turns 34, she decides it’s time to remake her life. She transforms into a party girl and declares it’s open season to find a man. But her wild life turns dangerous when she witnesses something she shouldn’t, and before she can meet the man of her life, she needs to make sure she still has a life.

  • Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.29

Ambrose Young was always so beautiful that Fern never thought she could have him–until he wasn’t beautiful anymore. When five boys go to war, and only one returns with all the scars the trauma gave him.

  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Genre: New Adult Romance

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33

Fallon meets Ben the day before her cross-country move and they spend her last day in LA together. She becomes the inspiration for his new novel. Over time, they end up meeting on the same date every year–until Fallon can’t be sure if Ben has been lying to her this whole time in an effort to create the perfect plot twist.

  • The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Genre: YA Romance

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.81

Bianca knows she’s not the prettiest of her friends but she still hates when man-slut Wesley calls her the DUFF (the designated ugly fat friend). But with things falling apart at home, she still ends up kissing Wesley–and entering an enemies-with-benefits relationship. And of course, she might just end up falling.

  • Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.65

Georgie skipped out on the family buisness of home renovating and runs children’s birthday parties instead. But that doesn’t mean she can’t renovate herself a bit. She just doesn’t want people to see her as a kid anymore. So, she makes a proposal to her brother’s best friend–a retired baseball star. They pretend to date to get people off their backs. What could go wrong?

  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Genre: Chick Lit

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.96

Neve knows goody fat girls like her don’t get the guy. But she’s trying to slim down just in case William comes back. Then, her sister points out that William might be more interested if he thinks she’s experienced. So her sister’s sexy colleague is up to the task, and it’s just for practice right?

  • Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Genre: Chick Lit

Average Goodreads Rating: 3.93

Minerva knows she won’t end up with Cal–especially since he asked her out on a bet. Cal knows he can’t be happy with Min, even if she keeps him on his toes. At the end of the evening, they agree never to see each other again. But fate has other plans, and soon they are together again, dealing with exes, donuts, psychologists, cats, chaos, and…possibly love.

By myadventure2017

Writer, Reader, Bookstagrammer, Booktoker, Blogger

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