The Great Lakeside High Experiment was a teenage paperback written
back in 1982 by one Neil Selden, who is apparently a playwright,
movie director, and life coach as well as an author.
The book mines the plain-girl-gets-a-makeover trope with a little
more depth than usual. Maude Harris (yeah, he didn't pull any punches
with that one) is our wallflower plain-jane and Jen is the stylish and
popular lady who, along with her entourage (her boyfriend and another
fella) take Maude under their wing to see if they can bring her out of
her shell a bit. Of course, she gets the physical makeover, and both of
the boys become enamored with her, and there is a falling out between
her and Jen, and she runs away with a bad boy on a motorcycle and gets
into a horrible crash. She is gravely injured and they all work out
their differences by hospital bed. To be fair, it's not a perfectly
happy ending where everyone is the best of friends again, and it
depicts their pastimes and relationships in a much more realistic and
sophisticated way than one usually finds in teen books.
It was later adapted as an ABC Afterschool
Special entitled 'The Great Love Experiment' starring, among others,
Esai Morales and Jennifer Grey, where
"everyone learns a lesson about beauty and friendship."
There are certain odd similarities between this
novel's protagonist and Laney Boggs, that of the 1999 teen movie, She's All That
(besides the horrible makeover
trope), who, for example, also lives with her younger brother and her
father, who cleans pools for a living. Of all the things...