Big Mouth and Ugly Girl Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

Ursula and Matt become friends after he is accused of making a bomb threat at their surburban high school. Ursula is a misunderstood all star female high school athlete whose friend Matt is picked up in class by police accusing him of some serious crimes. Rumors circulate among the student body. Matt had a gun, a bomb, a weapon of some sort. He was disgruntled over a test grade, angry at teachers, and determined to take out as many people as possible. Ursula comes to Matt's defense refusing to believe any of it. Due to her lack of popularity among her peers it doesn't matter that she's standing up for Matt. No one is listening to the girl with big mouth who stands up to teachers when others cower in fear.
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Even with Ursula defending his name Matt is not able to stop the detectives from looking at him and asking questions meant to trip him up and get him to confess to something he knows nothing about. Save for the fact that he was joking around with a few of his drama and writing classmates about what he would do if his play wasn't selected for school festival he was being framed. Ursula had heard him say he would “blow up the school” because he knew his play should be picked. It was just a joke, a fly-by-the-seat-remark. With his dad away on business in Atlanta, and his mother by his side, (even though she questions his involvement) he feels utterly alone. His few friends won't respond to his emails and the family attorney and child welfare worker seemed as confused as his mother.

Suspended for three days from school while the incident is “under investigation” Matt feels doomed. He receives an email from Ursula with her begging him to get in touch with her immediately. She leaves her phone number, but since they aren't really friends he doesn't call her right away. After a couple of days of not hearing from his buddies who have been advised by their parents to steer clear of Matt and the entire messy situation he phones Ursula. She has his back and promises to go to the principal to share what she overheard Matt say, and to assure the school authorities that Matt's comments had been blown out of proportion.

Matt's parents decide to file a lawsuit against everyone who has slandered their son's name. Ursusla's parents don't want her involved and are a bit upset that she has gone to the principal against their wishes. Ursula won't be stopped. She and Matt start an email relationship where he shares his feelings and Ursula listens.

When Matt's family dog Pumpkin is kidnapped it looks like retaliation for the lawsuit that is extends across the small suburban community. Ursula and Matt team up and go to the guy they know has something to do with Pumpkin's disappearance.

The dog is returned that evening, and Matt convinces his parents to drop the lawsuit. He's no no longer a suspect thanks to his friend Ursula. Matt and Ursula share their first, but very awkward kiss with hopes of becoming even better friends.
Best part of story, including ending: I like that the Ursula stood up for justice even though she and Matt were not good friends.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Pumkin was returned to her owners.

Opinion about the main character: I disliked that Matt would not stand up for himself on his own.

The review of this Book prepared by C. Imani Williams a Level 13 Blue-Winged Teal scholar

Matt Donaghy is "Big Mouth." A high school junior, he makes jesting remarks to friends in the cafeteria about blowing up the school and killing a million people. He is reported to the principal by unidentified students. The principal calls the police. He is interrogated but released and not charged. This is thanks to Ursula Riggs "Ugly Girl." Against the wishes of her parents, she tells the principal that she also overheard the remarks and that they were in no way meant seriously. Ursula is actually very sensitive, but projects a tough exterior to protect herself.

Thanks to rumors and media coverage, the incident is not forgotten, and Matt struggles to deal with the suspicions and avoidance from peers, teachers and even his family. He reaches out to Ursula via e-mail and phone calls. She must overcome her own fear of getting hurt to connect with Matt so that a friendship can develop. Together they are able to deal with and overcome the hostility of their community, and one family in particular, as Matt's parents pursue a law suit.
The review of this Book prepared by Susan Coffey

Chapter Analysis of Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Wild kid(s)?    -   committing crimes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York) Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Big Mouth and Ugly Girl

Joyce Carol Oates Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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