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Extended Audio Sample Outside Beauty Audiobook, by Cynthia Kadohata Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 53.53 out of 5 3.53 (30 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Cynthia Kadohata Narrator: Sue Jean Kim Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2008 ISBN: 9780743572118
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There's only one way Shelby and her sisters can describe their mother: she's a sexpot. She collects men (and loans, spending money, and gifts of all kinds) from all over the country. Sure, she's atypical, but she's also more than a pretty face and nail polish -- she's confident and brave and lives lifeon her own terms. And her daughters adore her, and work together to keep the family grounded in a way their mother can't.

Then a late-night car crash shatters everything, including their mother's arm and face. Suddenly, the family is scattered across the country, each girl being sent to live with her respective father. While Helen undergoes surgery and post-surgery, the sisters try to adjust to a life without each other. The trouble is, they're NOT adjusting, and the youngest, Maddie, is so terrified of her father that she's withdrawing...from her sisters, and from herself. That's when Shelby realizes something must be done -- something drastic -- to reclaim her family. At turns wickedly funny and unflinchingly haunting, Outside Beauty showcases Cynthia Kadohata's unerring ability to explore the bonds that bind. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kadohata’s gifts for creating and containing drama and for careful definition of character prove as powerful as ever in this wise, tender and compelling novel.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Newbery Honor winner Cynthia Kadohata creates another unique yet realistic family that explores the ties that bind.” 

    Audiofile

  • “The sisters have distinct, authentic voices, and their conversations are smooth, snappy, and believable. The male characters are well drawn too, especially Shelby’s sweet, hilarious father, who gets the best lines in the book.” 

    School Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susan P | 2/6/2014

    " I liked this one. Four sisters, all by different fathers, adore their beautiful, eccentric mother. She's one of those people who is so striking that she's managed to get by her whole life by relying on her looks. She's constantly coming up with new boyfriends, using them for what they can give her, and then dumping them. Imagine her panic then, when she is in a serious car accident and her face is badly scarred. While she is recovering the hospital, her daughters are split up and sent to live with their fathers. They've never been apart before, and the adjustment is difficult, especially for the youngest sister whose father is somewhat of a tyrant. A good story about the importance of family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brittany | 1/28/2014

    " This was a cute loss of innocence novel. The four sisters learn a little more about each other when they are forced to separate due to circumstances beyond their control, then when they all spent every moment together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 1/26/2014

    " 265 pages Four sisters, Marilyn, Shelby, Lakey, and Maddie, adore their mother, Helen Kimura. Helen isn't your typical mother, she is always concerned with beauty and her latest boyfriend, and the girls all have different fathers. When Helen is in a car accident, the girls are forced to go live with their respective fathers, and no one is happy. The four are inseperable, and the youngest, Maddie, is being smothered by her father's strict ideas of child rearing. Shelby attempts to bring her sister to live with her and her father, Jiro, but her attempt to run away doesn't work. It isn't until a complication with their mother brings the four back together that they make a clean getaway. But running away isn't the answer, and the four will have to decide what family really is . . . "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nomi | 1/21/2014

    " I was so embarrassed for this author. Her other two books that I read, Kira-kira and Weedflower were wonderful and this was just awful. A mother is obsessed with her looks and has four daughters with different men. She has no real job to speak of other than bewitching men and trying to (I assume) get them to pay for everything. In spite of this pathetic behavior the daughters all worship their mother and have an unhealthy attachment to each other. After the mother is in a car accident the girls have to go live with their respective fathers. This is when I felt like an editor should have stepped in and addressed these ethnic stereotypes: One sister's father is Italian, and he is portrayed as as a low-class but loveable criminal, (it's implied that his business dealings and associates are of a questionable nature), his sister is unattractive and has a bushy moustache-is this necessary? Another sister's father is Anglo/WASP and he is very cold and obsessed with discipline. Then this is interesting, the author went out of her way to break this stereotype (which I do applaud her for) of the Chinese father-he's a burly, cool, outdoorsy, guy who does physical labor. I'm not sure what to make of the Japanese father, a good man but terrible dresser? Whatever. This was awful. Oh yeah, also, the book is set in 1983 for no apparent reason because there is nothing 80s about it at all except that the sisters write letters to each other and they use a pay phone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jasmin | 1/13/2014

    " So far I really like this book. It's funny, and a definite good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 1/11/2014

    " Kadohata's writing does not disappoint, though the story, for me, lacked the impact of Kira Kira, an admittedly high standard. Delightful characters, which Kadohata does a wonderful job of keeping distinct. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth K. | 1/5/2014

    " Wow, this was great. YA novel, about four sisters who are actually half sisters because their mother more or less makes a living by serial dating men and then breaking their hearts when she moves on to the next guy. The sisters, who range in age from 16 down to 6, get daily lessons from their mom about poise, graceful posture, preventing wrinkles, appraising jewelry, and attracting men. Most of the action takes place during a summer when the girls are separated as each goes to stay with her own father. When I started reading this, I was thinking what the heck kind of messed up scenario is this for a young adult book? But I was completely sold by the time I was half-way through, and the author does a great job of taking a character like the mother who by all rights should be pretty unlikeable, and showing how true it is that her daughters love her and appreciate her even as they start realizing some of the ways in which they do not want to be like her. I don't have any sisters and this book makes me wish I did. Grade: A+ Recommended: To anyone who enjoys YA literature. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MaryJane | 1/2/2014

    " I'll be ordering this book for my middle school library. My students who are looking for books about relationships will like this one. Anyone who like to read books that examine connections between people will be interested in this title. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawna | 12/17/2013

    " It was a good book but not fabulous. The mother was hopelessly irresponsible. The ending was ok, but not great. I was really hoping for something better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 12/2/2013

    " I'm not entirely sure where the idea came from, but I did like the overcoming-one's-parent's-insanity-power-to-the-children-discovering-beauty-exists-inside-too story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lizzie | 11/27/2013

    " A really easy read, but not that great for me personally. I guess it's aimed at a much younger audience. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Miranda Hahlen | 11/27/2013

    " Good read if you have nothing to do all day and feel like completing a book. The message is good but you kinda have to suspend reality, but otherwise fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathyred | 11/24/2013

    " Shelby and her 3 sisters share a separate universe w/ their beautiful mother, but have different fathers. Then their mother is in an accident and they are each sent to their respective fathers: how can they get together again? Issues of love and beauty and happiness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Caroline Alicia | 11/12/2013

    " good read. expected nothing less from Ms. Kadohata. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Angela | 10/30/2013

    " Not a bad story, but I probably would have enjoyed this story more when I was younger. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie A. | 6/13/2013

    " A bit slow to start, but weaves itself into an intense story as it goes on. Little more mature tone than other stuff I've read from her, which is nice, yet somewhat odd given that the main character's still only 13. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen | 10/19/2012

    " I think the topic is valuable and unique. I loved the relationships of the the sisters. I loved how you came to care about the family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn | 7/19/2012

    " At times I felt things happened too quickly or too easily, but overall I did like the story. I think the characters are ones you don't see too often, especially in books for young people. I like that a lot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 4/15/2012

    " 4 sisters who all have different fathers and one beautiful Japanese mother who lives on her beauty, learn some lessons about being a family when the mother is seriously injured in a car accident and has to be in the hospital for months. Good story, quirky- mostly the 4 fathers angle. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lisa | 3/24/2012

    " What a strange book. I'm not even sure what the author was trying to say. I think it was something about beauty but the message was confused by the chaos of the character's lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Mayfield | 12/8/2011

    " It was an easy read. I read it as a "pre-read" for my teenage daughter. Overall, I thought it had a great message about sisterhood and beauty in the eyes of the sister telling the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Starblazr00 | 8/23/2011

    " It's not just on the outside that counts, most of your lives depend on what's inside. For real!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 1/27/2011

    " It was an easy read. I read it as a "pre-read" for my teenage daughter. Overall, I thought it had a great message about sisterhood and beauty in the eyes of the sister telling the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 12/23/2010

    " I Love this book Its probably one of the best books I ever read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nisondra | 10/3/2010

    " Cynthia Kadohata writes another brilliant novel that increases my interests in her book. XD "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alyssa | 8/25/2010

    " Great book... Up to Cynthia Kodohata's unusually high standards. A bit of a twist, but still great "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robyn | 8/20/2010

    " At times I felt things happened too quickly or too easily, but overall I did like the story. I think the characters are ones you don't see too often, especially in books for young people. I like that a lot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 MaryJane | 7/30/2010

    " I'll be ordering this book for my middle school library. My students who are looking for books about relationships will like this one. Anyone who like to read books that examine connections between people will be interested in this title. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 7/29/2010

    " I enjoyed reading the characters of this book traveled to different places. It can expand readers' horizon. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 7/15/2010

    " 2.5
    I read this 6 months ago and am having trouble recollecting much about it, so I guess that says something... "

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About the Author
Author Cynthia KadohataCynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her son and dog in West Covina, California.