24 of 25
By Lucy Grealy
256 pages; Mariner Books

Because she redefined beauty for all of us.

Grealy was 9 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer. Saving her life required two and a half years of chemo, radiation and the removal of a third of her jaw—and it was the aftermath of this last measure that proved most harrowing. As one reconstructive surgery followed another, she was cruelly taunted about her face, which remained disfigured. Being "ugly" in a culture that seemed to value a woman's beauty above all else made her question her very identity. Her lyrical, witty, unvarnished memoir forces us to look not only at her but also, deeply, at ourselves. — Dawn Raffel