April 28, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

Forget for a moment how annoying she was on MTV and try to imagine the nerdette adolescence that was responsible for molding Lisa Kennedy Montgomery into the brazen VJ she became. Bucking conventional perceptions of beauty, the bespectacled and outspoken Kennedy is a welcome respite for teenage girls ceaselessly subjected to images of picture-perfect media babes. In a series of humorous essays, she waxes candid — and often touching — on everything from Bob Barker to her mom’s bout with breast cancer. And while the tome is unnecessarily peppered with cutesy happy faces, the gawky teen pics of the tie-dyed and feathered-haired author are priceless.

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