Big Mouth & Ugly Girl

  • by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Narrated by Hilary Swank, Chad Lowe
  • 6 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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What the Critics Say

"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Paris Granville "ParisG"

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.
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- Annalisa

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2004
  • Publisher: HarperAudio