Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Starting a new high school can be brutal. Lucius knows his first day might be a bit more rocky than others' since he's never really put any effort into fitting in. Lucius' parent's are hoping this new school will be a fresh start not only for him but for the entire family but Lucius knows having two hooks for hands will automatically label him as the 'crazy' kid. Add in that he blew his own hands off in a chemical explosion of his own creation and you've got yourself a social misfit. What he doesn't expect on his first day is to make an instant connection with the lovely Aurora Belle, another transfer student, who is so nice and pretty that the other students welcome her with open arms. Even though he doesn't expect it, Aurora continually goes out of her way to become friends with Lucius, drawing him out even thought the other students are mystified as to her reasons for doing so.

This compact little book (only 193 pages) was a quick read - full of little surprises that kept me turning the pages. Both Lucius and Aurora are trying to navigate their new lives while dealing with very personal struggles while ultimately learning about second chances and the empowerment that comes from looking past appearances.

It was also fun to note how much emphasis Lauren Baratz-Logsted placed on the names in this book. Knowing Crazy Beautiful is intended as a retelling of beauty and the beast, the names Lucius Wolfe and Aurora Belle take on a whole additional meaning. Aurora Belle is such an obvious princess name: Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, anyone?) and Belle, naturally for beauty - fits her to a tee. Lucius Wolfe: now that's just a beastly name altogether don't you think?

The story was light and fun and there were little details to make it stand out (like the names) but just didn't deliver in some aspects. For starters, the ending felt rushed and not as well thought out as it could have been. There was so much buildup and I felt that Lucius' motives for setting the explosion in the first place were never sufficiently explained.

That said, even though Lucius fairly leapt off the page at times, Aurora never really solidified into a real character. She was just a little too squeaky clean. Not that that's bad: I love a good girl as much as anyone, but you just want some depth to go along with all that innocence and kindness. Obviously, Aurora is beautiful and would never judge by appearances - not to mention the fact that her mother passed away from cancer = instant empathy points - but where's the flaws? the quirks? I hate to pick on the nice girl, but she just needed a little more oomph.

One thing I did love however was the actual book itself. The black and white cover: a little edgy and with that ever-so-important dash of instant attraction. It also didn't hurt that the book itself is a nice, bright unmistakable hot pink. Contrast, contrast - thy name is perfection.

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book source: borrowed from a friend

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