Reviews and Awards

Beautyshopforrent 150x224Nominated for:

South Dakota State Library’s 2009-10 YARP Reading List
Missouri Association of School Librarians 2009-10 Gateway Readers Award
New York State Reading Association’s 2010 Charlotte Award
Eliot Rosewater 2009-10 Award
Volunteer State 2009-10 Book Award
The Kentucky 2009 Book Award

Publisher’s Weekly *Starred Review*

“… Teens will find Abbey’s emotional turmoil rings true, as does the reason behind her final act of forgiveness. But it’s the multigenerational friendships-the feisty, sniping conversations with Granny Po and her close circle of friends, “The Widows,” brim with humor-that make Bowers’s first novel a delight.”–starred review, Publisher’s Weekly

School Library Journal

“… This deceptively simple book reveals Abbey as a wonderful character who will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. Her quiet, almost folksy lifestyle demonstrates the powerful impact of a loving family and good mentors.”—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY


“Beauty Shop for Rent by Laura Bowers is fully equipped with quirky, memorable characters. Inquire within and you’ll find a heartwarming story about a lovable teenage girl, her feisty great-grandmother, and the many people who love them.

The beauty is in the writing. The beauty is in the plotting. The beauty is in all of the characters, especially the protagonist. Readers will root for sweet, savvy Abbey, who is trying desperately not to follow in the tragic footsteps of the three generations of women before her. … Step into this BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT for a good, clean read that will tickle your funny bone, massage your mind, and warm your heart. Highly recommended for teens and adults. …” Bildungsroman

Teen Fiction at Suite 101

“…Author Laura Bowers sets this story among the ancient hairdryers and outdated styles of Polly’s Parlor, and uses generation gaps to great effect in this fresh, spirited tale of a young girl trying to find security in a world she doesn’t yet understand. Can money be the key to long-term safety and happiness? Or, will Abbey find that her plans must be altered to include the desires of the heart, as well? Read the book and find out—I did, and I absolutely was not disappointed!”–Mechele R. Dillard

“There is nothing like Polly’s Parlor, where a free dose of gossip comes with a manicure. … BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT is the story of a girl growing up and trying to find a place in the world. Realistic, yet
humorous, this is a satisfying novel that I’m sure many readers will be able relate to.”–Teens Read Too

Book Loons Reviews

“The teenaged years can be fraught with insecurity as adolescents try to find a place for themselves in the world. Laura Bowers creates an uncannily realistic depiction of the ups and downs of this turbulent time in her debut novel . . .”–Book Loons Reviews

Washington Parent

“… Each character emerges as a distinct personality, but it is Abbey, with her fierce and sassy voice, whom readers will take to their hearts and cheer when she finally confronts her mother. The book has a strong sense of place, which local readers will recognize immediately as the state of Maryland. Well-drawn details include Ocean City during Senior Week, the Frederick Keys minor-league baseball team and a University of Maryland Terrapins sweatshirt.”–Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Parent

A YA Lit Chick

“I loved this book! I loved Abbey, Granny Po, the Gray Widows, and Gena! And I loved the lesson Abbey learned about family!”–Annie Hall

The Book Muncher

“There is something so down-to-earth about Beauty Shop for Rent that makes the story so likeable. The characters have no shame, which was sometimes a little shocking but mostly refreshing because of their honesty. I loved how all of the characters were nicely developed, especially Abbey and Granny Po, who were my favorite characters. I also loved watching Abbey mature through the story. All the characters’ connections were easy to understand. I really loved Abbey’s family of friends, because though each contrasted another slightly, they all fit together perfectly. Laura Bowers wrote this story in a way that even though specific years and locations are given, it seem that this story could happen anytime and anyplace. I had a hard time believing Beauty Shop for Rent was a debut novel because it was so incredibly well-written.

Fans of Stephanie Kuehnert’s I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone will also enjoy Abbey’s coming-of-age story in Beauty Shop for Rent. I definitely recommend this funny, cute, and beautiful story to all readers.”–The Book Muncher

Weaving Librarian

“…Bowers creates a character and family that I found believable. Life is tough for Abbey, but in the course of the book she grows and learns about life. And by the end the reader is involved enough to be pulling for her. This is funny, sad and ultimately wonderful book.

I plan to share this book with some of the YAs in my life and I am looking forward to Laura Bowers’ next novel.”–Weaving Librarian


“Beauty Shop for Rent is a down-home, whole-heart story. It’s about a strong girl bolstered by love, shaking off lies, and finding the courage to take chances. It’s about the wrong dream, the right guy, righteous gossip, and the power of a good spa treatment. Funny, aching, and authentic, Laura Bowers’ debut is one of the finest, most entertaining I’ve ever read.” –Cynthia Leitich Smith, author of Tantalize and Rain Is Not My Indian Name.

“Bowers gets all the emotional details right in this warm-hearted story. These are the kinds of characters you hate to leave behind when you finish the last page.” –Ellen Wittlinger, author of Hard Love and Heart on My Sleeve.

“As homey, gossipy and charming as a small-town beauty shop, Laura Bowers’ first novel will soothe your mind, cleanse your pores, and make your hair curl with laughter.”– E. Lockhart, author of The Boyfriend List and Fly on the Wall.

“BEAUTY SHOP FOR RENT represents what’s missing in a lot of current YA fiction – good old-fashioned storytelling that doesn’t need some sort of gimmick to make it stand out. The quirky cast of characters feel like real people, and not devices created to perform the plot. Abbey’s voice sparkles right from the get-go, and her relationship with Granny Po and the rest of the gray widows is both hilarious and moving. This is more than just STEEL MAGNOLIAS for the younger set – this is a lovely coming of age story that stands on its own two feet, just like its heartwarming and headstrong protagonist.”–Lara M. Zeises, author of Anyone but You and Bringing up the Bones.

JustFlirt 150x224

A “sweet and lively summer read,” Publishers Weekly.

Amidst summer’s onslaught of dystopian thrillers and paranormal romances, it’s refreshing as a dip in a cool, blue pool to read this sassy novel.”–Washington Parent Magazine

Bower’s fun read about flirting – and the fun/disastrous consequences it can bring – is enjoyable and has a positive, unexpectedly feminist message. I loved it and so will teen girls!”–Lauren, Goodreads

“When I picked up this book, I was honestly just looking for a fluff piece, something that I wouldn’t get too emotionally attached to. I didn’t give it enough credit. I LOVED this book, I read it within eleven hours, basically all day, and it was great. Fantastic character development, interesting plot twists, touching on themes such as assumption and a woman’s role in society, but sort of sugarcoated. It was funny and not too serious, which was exactly what I needed. The author really does well in making the reader empathize with the “evil” characters. By the end, you love them. And it’s got a happy ending, all loose ends tied up. Would 10/10 recommend it to anyone looking for a cute, fun read.”–Reilly, Goodreads

“Just Flirt” by Laura Bowers is five stars. Even though it’s a high school girls story, the events that the main character and her friends and enemies go through let her see how strong she is. They also get a lesson on life, the good and bad people, and the consequences of their actions. It is realistic so you understand and believe the series of events and leaves you wondering if they can mentally survive it.”–Read For Your Future

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