Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Review: Beautiful by Amy Reed
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
13-year-old Cassie moves to Seattle from a small town and decides to embrace a darker, more grown-up lifestyle. However, falling into sex and drugs and being called beautiful by older boys doesn’t seem to ease the pain that Cassie carries inside of insecurities and a dislike for her dysfunctional family. As she becomes more and more wrapped up by her manipulative “best friend,” others’ ideas of her, and her own helplessness, there seems to be no way out for Cassie.
There is something disturbingly haunting about BEAUTIFUL. Debut novelist Amy Reed writes Cassie’s dark story in a prose that stuns and lingers.
BEAUTIFUL is similar to edgy movies like Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen in terms of content, but it is nearly poetic in its descriptions. Reed’s writing allows Cassie to distance herself from all situations she doesn’t want to be in, while simultaneously letting readers into Cassie’s mindset. The result both characterizes Cassie and effectively draws us into her frightening world.
My main issue with this book was the lack of information we were given on Cassie’s past, which would’ve acted as a comparison to and justification of Cassie’s current behavior. Throughout the book Cassie hints at an unhappy life in her old town—but is she a former good girl rebelling against her past? What is her motivation for falling in with the crowd she does? It is unclear to me what drove her to engage in the lifestyle she does, which made connecting with the story a little difficult.
Even so, BEAUTIFUL is a great read if you can stomach the material. It’s eye-opening, gut-churning, and exquisitely written.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cover discussion: 3.5 out of 5 - It's beautiful and bold, disturbing yet mesmerizing.
Simon & Schuster / Oct. 6, 2009 / Hardcover / 240pp. / $16.99
Won in a contest, asked to review by author.