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Publisher's Summary

Matt Donaghy has always been a Big Mouth. But it's never gotten him in trouble, until the day Matt is accused of threatening to blow up Rocky River High School.

Ursula Riggs has always been an Ugly Girl. A loner with fierce, staring eyes, Ursula has no time for petty high school stuff like friends and dating, or at least that's what she tells herself. Ursula is content with minding her own business. And she doesn't even really know Matt Donaghy.

But Ursula is the only person who knows what Matt really said that day...and she is the only one who can help him.

In her first novel for young adults, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates has created a provocative and unflinching story of friendship and family, and of loyalty and betrayal.

©2002 Joyce Carol Oates; (P)2002 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Oates has written a fast-moving, timely, compelling story." (School Library Journal)
"Screen celebs Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe deliver alternating chapters in perfect counterpoint, superbly capturing the divergent emotional journeys in affect, tone, and pacing." (AudioFile)
"Distinguished novelist Oates' first young adult novel is a thought-provoking, character-driven drama." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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    36
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Performance

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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    19
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    7
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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Sort by:
  • Overall

Prose that grabs you

I've secondary school for 10 years and spent time taling with hundreds of adolescents. The author really captures the voice of real teenagers, never as simple as adults think. The protaganists are complex, authentic, and well-written. The intro to the two young people really grabbed me. The narrative was very compelling.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • HB
  • 02-13-13

novel for EFL

Would you listen to Big Mouth & Ugly Girl again? Why?

Great voices, especially Ursula.

Have you listened to any of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me think.

Any additional comments?

Very interesting book for my students, too. Especially Ursula as a tough and at same time insecure girl might help my female students in their process of growing up.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Hedwig
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 02-18-12

Hilary & Chad are great as teen outcasts

Would you consider the audio edition of Big Mouth & Ugly Girl to be better than the print version?

Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe did a great job of adding depth to the characters - particularly Hilary's portrayal of a gawky, teenaged girl irritated with her parents and disenfranchised at school until she turns things around by taking the moral highground and sticking up for a classmate.

Have you listened to any of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I think it's a great story particularly for those who can identify with being an outsider, which many of us are at some point in our lives but very often as a teen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Maria
  • WEST HAVEN, CT, United States
  • 03-31-11

great

I was able to follow it in the book. And the exagerations in the voice were great

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Awesome story! Amazing narration!!!

I loved this story! This is an instant classic.

The narrative was spit on by both Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Thought provoking and modern

How much can words and jokes be misinterpreted in a terrorism stricken world? How much can a family be affected by collective distrust? How can teenagers learn values such as sympathy and loyalty when adults can't set a good examples? These questions and others about school management and friendship were raised. Gender issues were also explored at length, but without stealing protagonism to the issue of bullying and finding a scapegoat for the whole community. American suburbs appear in a precarious balance between mute happiness, tinged with boredom, and hysteria.
I only wish the characters other than the bigger-than-life Ugly Girl were given more elaboration. Big Mouth could have said more about himself and his family and friends. Mothers are weak, unsteady shadows. Fathers are even more ghostly sketches. Brothers and sisters are relegated to corners and backgrounds. More confrontations would have given all of them further realism. The 2 protagonists take up virtually all the space and make the story feel slightly flat.
Having said so, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and finished it off in one sitting.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful