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More Than Just Pretty by Jessie Faerber – BOOK REVIEW


What a gorgeous cover! I was immediately drawn in by the title and the painted rose… However, at first I had no idea that this was a book targeted at a younger audience. The author writes at the start that ‘this book was written for the girl who’s trying to figure out who she is.’ It’s written for all types of girls struggling with all kinds of things – growing up is tough after all!

Jessie writes in an informal, chatty, down-to-earth style which makes her relatable to the audience that she is reaching out to. This kind of writing would have worked for me as a teenage girl, although as someone who is approaching her thirties in a few years, I found the tone a little too young for me! All that means is that I am getting old and this is no way a criticism of the book!

I would have appreciated and treasured Jessie’s words so much when I was growing up. She starts the book with a fun ‘getting to know you’ quiz and the first section of the book talks about what we often place our value in such as our friendship groups, boyfriends, our appearance and achievements. She covers beauty, the role of the media and its impact and body image. The final section of the book covers purpose as it considers our experiences, what makes us significant, what makes us happy, fearful, worried or anxious and Jessie offers some practical advice to address this.

What I love about this book is that it tackles some heavy issues head-on and then goes through each section again looking at it from a biblical perspective. However, Jessie is writing to ‘the girl of no faith, the girl of the Christian faith and the girl of another faith’ – her message is for girls from all backgrounds so the tone of the book is not preachy, but encouraging. She doesn’t hide her own faith in God, but shows how God speaks into the everyday situations that teenage girls go through. This is a tricky balance but one I think she does well.

It’s beautifully personal as Jessie shares her own struggles and heart throughout and this is encapsulated brilliantly towards the end of the book where she shares a letter she wrote to her younger self from her older self. It is encouraging and she wants girls to ‘play a key part in creating a society that we live in today as well as in the future’. and includes a life-kit of useful resources such as websites, books, music and organisations to help along the way. She concludes:

‘Imagine what kind of world we could create if we all stepped up and passionately and courageously sought after value, beauty and purpose for every girl, from every neighbourhood, in every nation and beyond.’ (pg 116)

Although this book was a quick read and aimed at a younger group, I found the themes relevant for me even today. I still carry difficult memories from my teenage years, often look in the mirror and talk negatively about myself and still place my value in my achievements at times. This book is a fresh reminder to look at value, beauty and purpose through the lens of God and how He sees me. That is so important for every girl or woman of any age.

You can purchase ‘More Than Just Pretty’ from your local Christian bookshop, Eden or Amazon. Published by SPCK.

Jessie Faeber is the founder of Belle Ministry, an organisation who lead workshops on identity, self-image, purpose and worth within schools. Jessie recently graduated from St Mellitus where she studied Theology and Youth Ministry.

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