Posted by Izzy G. on Thursday, July 1, 2010
Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her.
But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.
Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does.
Details: "Crazy Beautiful" by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, 204 pages, 4 stars on Amazon.
My Thoughts: Now, I happen to like retellings of fairy tales in modern contexts. I also like romances when they're done well and realistically, especially when one of the love interests is made unattractive to most people for whatever reason, so I really thought I was going to like this story. It sounded quite intriguing and the cover was genius. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
Overall, "Crazy Beautiful" was written well. Lucius sounded, well, like a boy, which is a good sign considering he is, in fact, male, and I thought that Lauren Baratz-Logsted did a pretty good job of not making his brooding-loner-style too cliché.
However, there were some aspects of the story I didn't like so much. For example, Aurora was meant to be a nice girl who thinks well of most people, but she came off sounding naive or "perfect", like when she narrated, "This school really is just the nicest place!" There was also the part where she was discussing her allowance. Aurora said that she got a set amount of allowance each week, and if she wanted more, she could do chores, but of course, she's just an incredibly nice, sweet girl who loves her dad very much, so she does chores. For free. For the fun of it. Also, she never wants anything or asks her dad to buy her something.
I just have a lot of trouble believing that someone would do chores just because. Maybe once in a while to help out or something, but all the time, every single day? Combine this with the fact that when she saw Lucius had hooks for hands she barely gave it a passing thought because she's just that nice (no, seriously, everyone would have some thoughts about that, be it of pity, sympathy, wonder), Aurora appears to be suffering Character Perfection Syndrome.
One thing that sort of annoys me is when two people that fall in love are utterly attractive. Despite the fact that Lucius blew himself up, and his chest/stomach suffered seriously scarring and he lost his lower arms and hands, his face magically remained completely untouched and as beautiful as ever. I think the story could really have been interesting if Lucius's face became deformed or mutilated or something, which makes me think of a book I read a long time ago (probably five years?) about a girl who was seriously burned in a fire and she was definitely horribly mutilated.
What's hard for me to believe is that people would treat Lucius the way they did at his school. At my school, at least, kids that are disabled to his extent (something sort of noticeable but not really that bad - nothing that makes you eye-burning-hard-to-look-at) are pitied at first, but people usually get over it. In fact, they would become nicer rather than meaner, and sometimes too nice in an effort to not be insensitive. Kids don't usually make fun of disabled kids (in my experience) unless the disabled kid has some sort of mental affliction, in which case s(he) is generally avoided while a few jerks make fun of her or him. It's plausible that Lucius would isolate himself with his brooding personality, but I didn't really get a sense of this while reading.
I also would have liked more detail. Some scenes - especially the one at the party when Lucius tells Aurora exactly what the explosion was - seemed almost rushed, and the author never really explained how Lucius handled everyday things. The secondary characters also seemed rather flat to me, like Deanie and Jessup.
All in all, "Crazy Beautiful" was fairly good and it was entertaining. I may have been over-critical in this review (I did just finish reading "The Handmaid's Tale", so this wasn't very good in comparison), but I give it 2 out of 5 smilies.