Review of Beauty Shop for Rent, by Laura Bowers

Beauty Shop for Rent
By Laura Bowers
Harcourt Books
Copyright 2007
Hardcover, 330 pages
YA/General Fiction
12 & up

Reviewed by Mayra Calvani

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel by first-time author Laura Bowers.

Fourteen-year old Abbey Garner lives with her great-grandmother and works part-time at her struggling beauty shop. The place has been displaying a ‘For Rent’ sign over a year, to no avail. Then one day a beautiful and sophisticated young woman comes to rent it, bringing with her modern ideas to remodel the shop. Soon Abbey grows to love and admire her. How can she not? She’s everything Abbey’s mother is not—successful, independent, reliable. Now that the shop has been turned into a modern spa, Abbey is able to work more toward her big dream: to become rich by the time she turns thirty five. But then, her mother, who had Abbey when she was sixteen and practically abandoned her, comes back into the picture, turning Abbey’s orderly life upside down.

Don’t be fooled by the fun, whimsical aspect of the beauty spa idea; although the setting adds a touch of hilarity to the story, this is a strong, beautifully written and heart-warming tale about a young teenager’s search for maternal love. It is a coming-of-age novel about overcoming disappointment and about forgiveness. Abbey is a sensitive, thoroughly sympathetic protagonist. Beauty Shop for Rent is fine piece of work that will appeal to both young adults and adults alike.

*This review originally appeared in Armchair Interviews