Tuesday, 1 September 2009

THE BOOK CLUB REVIEW SEPT - Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Barazt Logsted

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub. Date: September 2009
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: ARC
Source of copy: from publisher - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

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.

It's quite out of the question to sum up what I think of Crazy Beautiful in just a few words. Actually, it is a bit of this and a bit of that. Did the book turn out as I wanted? No. Did it disappoint me? Nonsense. Do I love it? Definitely. But I wish that I could love it even more.

Ever since I saw the cover of Crazy Beautiful as well as reading its synopsis I've been deeply in love with it. Not until recently that I found out that it was a retelling of my favorite fairy tale ever - Beauty and The Beast and it just made me want to grab the book and devour it in seconds. There were a lot of things to praise about the story but the coolest thing was, to me, that it was divided, in a skillful way, into two separate worlds. Readers will feel like they're reading two different books at the same time because Lucius's and Aurora's lives were nothing alike. Once was dark, gloomy and quiet to the point of insanity; while the other was bright, lively and full of hope and happiness. Reading from two perspectives gave you the chance to follow every step of both characters. Even though it might spoil the fun of guessing what the other was feeling/thinking, it was an essential move for such a story without many dialogues like Crazy Beautiful.

Lauren Baratz Logsted's writing was effortlessly clever. It was my first time reading something by her and I already knew that I'm going to look forward to her next book. I loved how she created the characters. As the rulers of their worlds, their images were clearly portrayed in contrast. Aurora resembled a princess with a big heart, who was positive and never wanted to judge people. If Aurora was sunlight then Lucius must be darkness, a guy with a hatred towards the world, destroying himself only to sink lower to depression and regret. But they were not perfectly carved people. Lucius had flaws, apparently. Aurora knew how to be annoyed and how to stand up to the evils too. That explained why, as fairy-tale-ish this book appeared, it was still believable, considering that Aurora loving someone who lived with hooks and wanted to scare everyone away wasn't something naturally persuasive.

What came in between me and Crazy Beautiful, loosening up our strong connection was that Aurora and Lucius hardly had any interaction. Staring, watching from afar, thinking of each other was okay too but I felt that those weren't enough to build a kind of steady relationship. If they could hang out together once or twice and had more conversations, it'd be much much greater I'm sure. Also, the ending (seems like I'm having trouble with endings all the time =.=) was so unexpected. I was on the verge of concluding that someone must have stolen a few last chapters off the book. I knew that Crazy Beautiful was short but I never thought it would end that way. It would be okay if this book was the first of a series, not an individual one.

Generally speaking, Crazy Beautiful was a gorgeous though not flawless book that I enjoyed and would love my readers to pick up as well.

Rating: 4/5


Kathy Holmes said...

Lauren Baratz-Logsted is one of the most clever, creative writers around. But I'm not into her YA as much as her adult books. And while I love the Beauty & the Beast story (because Beauty is a smart girl - not because of the Beast), this sounds too much like Edward Scissorhands for me. I really don't like to see the YA market so focused on paranormal - not my thing.

I think you approached this in a fair, balanced way, and the book will probably appeal even more to others.

Marie said...

Great review- I have heard a lot of mixed feelings about it ... the book has such a BIG build-up to it's release date!

Beth Yarnall said...

I love the title of the book and what a great cover, too bad it didn't live up to its promise. I'll take Kathy's advice & check out her adult books, they sound more my speed. Thanks for a great review!

prophecygirl said...

Nice review Thao! I have this on pre-order.. it sounds pretty good.

Sarahlynn said...

I love modern retellings of fairy tales!

Barrie said...

Thao, I really enjoyed this review. I love the notion of a book that is divided into two different worlds. For that alone, I'll read it. :)

one shelfish blogger said...

Great review! Thanks for that. I didn't know it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast until now. I'll definitely have to buy it!

Keri Mikulski said...

Great review!

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. Love Lauren. :)

Bookgeek said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this book although I too was left wanting more. Nice review

kaye said...

sounds like a good read. I've read several retellings of Beauty and the Beast. My favorite was "East" but I can't remember the author.

my review is here