A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review: Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted


Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (September 7th 2009)
Language: English
Buy at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc
Lauren's Official Website

Crazy Beautiful is a contemporary re-visioning of Beauty & the Beast, told in he-said/she-said fashion, about a boy with hooks for hands and a gorgeous girl who meet on their first day at a new school.

The tale of Beauty and the Beast has been retold numerous times, but never as exquisitely presented as it is in Crazy Beautiful.

Lucius, a boy who blew off his hands after an experiment gone awry, meets the beautiful and smart Aurora on the school bus. Both are immediately drawn to one another. All the other kids are intimidated by Lucius' hooks and the rumors circulating about the explosion he caused. For the most part, they treat him like the plague; avoiding him or calling him “Crip” or “Hooks” if they converse with him at all. Except for Aurora. She’s not intimidated by the hooks—in fact, they seem to draw her to him even more. But Lucius is certain that someone as beautiful and popular as Aurora would never be interested in someone like him. When she does speak to him, he shies away from her, assuming she must be only pitying him. Will Lucius and Aurora ever be able to get beyond all the cliques and cruelty of high school to see what’s really important, and realize they were meant for one another?

I devoured this book in one sitting. The story was narrated through the alternating viewpoints of both Aurora and Lucius in short, evocative chapters. This was a smart choice on the part of Baratz-Logsted. Being able to discern how differently Aurora and Lucius perceived the same situation added greater insight into their characters and a deeper meaning to the book for me. The suspense of not knowing what Lucius’ true motivations were when he concocted that deadly chemical mixture really drove me crazy though, and I found myself anxious to understand his motivations. I couldn’t help but like Lucius, he was so witty and so strong minded. Though he was relegated to using hooks in place of hands, he exhibited such an amazing amount of dexterity in mastering the technique, that I really admired his spunk and wanted so badly for him to find friendship and love. I also loved how there was more to Aurora than just being beautiful. She had a maturity and sensitive nature that was I really admired in her character. I loved how she was able to look beyond the surface and see there was so much more to him than a disfigurement.

Bottom Line- Crazy Beautiful is a love story, but it’s so much more than that too. It deals with profound issues of loss, friendship, healing and second chances. The raw emotions of both the main characters are often painful—Lucius wasn’t the only person coping with trauma in his life. At the beginning of the novel, Aurora was just getting over the loss of a parent; the pain of which was all too raw. But Baratz-Logsted punctuated their story with moments of sharp humor, making sure Crazy Beautiful never detoured into a sappy love story. I’ve read a lot of reviews that said Crazy Beautiful “will keep you coming back for more” and after reading this novel, I understand why so many people felt that way. Crazy Beautiful is a smart, compelling novel that stays with you long after you have finished it, and I am certain that I will also be going back to it again and again.

Lauren Baratz- Logsted began writing for adults, but has also written for teens and for tweens. Greg Logsted, husband of Lauren, has written one novel.

Jackie Logsted, daughter of Lauren and Greg, is making her literary debut. She is eight years old.

The Baratz-Logsted/Logsted family lives in Danbury, Connecticut.


a flight of minds said...

Wow, great review! Crazy Beautiful sounds really good and I cannot wait to read it. Plus, how gorgeous is that cover!

- Alex

Anonymous said...

Oh, I think it's the first review of it I read! It sounds amazing! Lucky you :) I'll definitely watch for this one - I love a great love story, especially when not sappy. This really is my kind of things!

Fantastic Book Review said...

Fantastic Review! I'm glad you enjoyed and I can't wait to read it!

Heidi Ayarbe said...

GREAT review. Gotta put it on my list.