Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Brigit Young's "The Prettiest"

Brigit Young, born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has published poetry and short fiction in numerous literary journals. She is a proud graduate of the City College of New York, and has taught creative writing to kids of all ages in settings ranging from workshops at Writopia Lab to bedsides at a pediatric hospital. Young is the author of the middle grade novels Worth a Thousand Words and The Prettiest. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughters.

Here Young dreamcasts an adaptation of The Prettiest:
The Prettiest explores the fallout of an anonymously written list of the fifty “prettiest” eighth grade girls in a Michigan middle school. The story alternates between the perspectives of Eve Hoffman, a shy girl disturbed by her spot as “number one” on the list; Sophie Kane, the school’s most popular girl who is furious about her number two ranking; and Nessa Flores-Brady, a confident and gifted kid who is not on the list at all.

I’m not quite up to speed on current child actors, and boy, do they grow fast, anyway. (Are the Stranger Things kids getting their PhDs by now?) When I dream up my middle school aged characters, I usually picture the younger selves of adult actors. I envision the shy, sensitive, and wide-eyed Eve as a young Rachel Weisz. For Sophie, I imagine a 13-year-old Brie Larson, who emanates an inner steely strength underneath her America’s sweetheart looks. And for Nessa, I picture a young Adrienne Lovette, an up and coming actress most recently seen on a recent episode of Better Call Saul as the first female dealer in the Breaking Bad universe. A kid with her energy would be fantastic at capturing Nessa’s poise and humor.

The most important adult character in the novel is the empathetic principal, Principal Yu, who wants to help the girls but feels a bit helpless at times. I can see the put-together but relatable Constance Wu capture the chaos of this moment in Principal Yu’s professional life quite well.

As for a director, I’d love for Olivia Wilde to take the helm. She’d infuse the story with the emotional authenticity it needs. Plus, she’d highlight the jokes!
Visit Brigit Young's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Prettiest.

--Marshal Zeringue