Friday, February 12, 2021

Beauty and the Bin by Joanne O'Connell

 2021

Laura Larskie is proud of her parents and ashamed of them at the same time. They are well on their way to saving the planet. They grow their own food – hydroponically because they weren’t allowed an allotment. They have fruit, vegetables and herbs gowning all over the house. Her parents’ latest venture is raiding supermarket bins for perfectly good food that is being thrown away. Whilst Laure agrees with her parents’ values she knows her peers will find them eccentric. It is all very embarrassing. She doesn’t invite her friends to the house as she is ashamed of it. She never has any money to buy anything new.
Students at her school are invited to become entrepreneurs.  She teams up with sophisticated Year 9 Charley to produce a range of beauty projects that can be made from what you find in the kitchen - or in Lara’s case, in the bins at the back of the supermarket.
There are moments that make you chuckle. But there are also some graver notes. Joanne O’Connell helps to increase the readers’ awareness of the damage we are doing through our over uses of plastic and how the fashion industry exploits workers.
There are also some glimpses of a tender family life.  Laura is particularly close to her younger sister Fern who helps her to make the products. The family members all support each other. 
The ending is upbeat and there are also some delicious recipes for beauty products that you can try at home.
This book is labelled as suitable for 9-11. Lower secondary students would also enjoy it.

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