Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Release Date: September 7, 2009
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Aurora is starting her life again at a new school after her mother died. Lucius has also moved, but he was forced to do so after intentionally causing an explosion that cost his parents their house and him, his arms. With their paths destined to cross, are either of them ready for it?
Lucius purposely blew his parents house up--and both his arms--in an explosion he concocted. Instead of getting prosthetic arms and hands, Lucius got hooks. His hooks are cheaper, harder to out grow...and scarier. He no longer wants to be the mild-manner guy that everyone picks on, but wants to be the one that everyone is scared of and stays away from. But when he meets Aurora, he feels something awakening in him. He feels a connection to the beautiful, sincerely kind girl, but has no idea how to get close to her. Has he become too much a beast inside now?
Aurora is kind-hearted, beautiful, and the new 'it' girl when she arrives at her new school. Everyone wants to be her friend, including Jessup, a cute guy. Aurora feels like she's looking for more and something 'real,' since most of her new friends seem rather superficial. But her new group has no such qualms about her, and Jessup is quick to pursue Aurora. But Aurora senses a lack of true honesty and sincerity from Jessup, and feels drawn to Lucius instead. But why is it so hard to approach the one guy who Aurora actually wants to get to know?
A modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Crazy Beautiful tells the story of Lucius and Aurora as they try to find themselves and each other. But with his seclusion, dark past, and hooks, has Lucius become too much of a beast to change? Is he truly crazy? Or can Aurora bring out the best in him again?
I only wish more of Lucius' back story was given, and more about the two main characters in general. It would have been really interesting to read their stories and better understand their motives and characters. It seemed like things wrapped up a little too nicely at the end, but was still relatively realistic. Crazy Beautiful is a tale of compassion, finding forgiveness, and love. I think YA readers will be able to connect to the two main characters as they are struggling with dilemmas similar to those that teens face today--finding acceptance, issues at home, trouble with friends, and past grievances. Nothing is entirely perfect, and Lucius and Aurora's relationship certainly is not, but sometimes it is the struggle that makes the rewarded even sweeter.
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