Sukie's obsession with her looks was entertaining for about 50 solid pages. I even laughed out loud at some of her drama. However, she continues to obsess over trivialities for another 120ish pages, which gets old after a while. In particular, she lingers on Bobo, who turns out not to be worth a second thought. Then Sukie dives down into a spiral of pure misery, both for her and me as the reader. After a surprise plot development, she angsts (albeit not w/o good reason), puts down her classmates publicly, and turns into a hateful, don't-give-a-crap, straight-A-turned-straight-F rebel. The last half of the book ends somewhat predictably and didn't provide any illumination that I wasn't expecting re: human nature.
Despite her obsession with looks and perfectionism (and her bout of poor-me in the middle of the book) I found Sukie to be quite likable. She takes care of her little brother Mikey (shows compassion and responsibility), talks to her dog Señor (has a sense of humor), and admires her Dad (can't help but like him through her eyes). She has a particular way of looking at the world and her loneliness is convincing, even though sometimes the author overtells how Sukie feels.
After reading so many so-so written YA books, it was a sincere relief to read this one. Ephron's dialogue is surprising, vivid, human, and direct. The prose could do with a few cuts here and there (especially when she starts talking about souls and friendship, etc.) but overall it was lean and well edited.
Generally an all right book. The Girl with the Mermaid Hair lacks some depth and could have been better paced, but I didn't feel like I wasted time reading it, and I'm even curious about Frannie in Pieces. On to the next read. . . .