Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Lucias Wolfe is starting a new high school; he has to, really, after what happened. After the explosion that blew off his hands, his family moved, changed towns. They have to start over, but it is hard to start over in the same general area when your story has been in the newspaper. Of course, what boy with hooks for hands is going to blend in at high school anyway?
Aurora Belle has a different reason for starting a new school. Her mother has recently died after a long illness, and she and her father need a new start in a place where they would not be haunted by her memory at every step.
Regardless of their reasons for coming to their new school, Lucias and Aurora have their first day on the same day, and they immediately recognize each other. No, they have never met, they recognize something deep in each other and, although Aurora is an instant ‘cool kid’ and Lucias an outcast, they both feel somehow drawn to the other.
First and foremost, this is a modern, young adult retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I think it works best as a sketch of a modern Beauty and the Beast, rather than as a complete stand-alone novel. I loved the character of Lucias. I thought that, overall, he was very well-drawn with an appropriate level of complexity, although I thought his reasons for mixing the chemicals could have been better explained. Aurora, however, got on my nerves. She was sweet, but really almost too sweet, to the point of naiveté. I also wondered where the grief was for her mother, neither she nor her father seemed much affected by the death of her mother.
The plot, for the most part, was quite well done. The story was both similar and dissimilar enough to the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast to really work. It was certainly a recognizable story arc, but approached in a fresh light. The ending was perhaps a bit rushed, I would have liked the conflict to be drawn out a little bit more.
If you are interested in modern retellings of fairy tales and approach this thinking of it as more of a sketch, this is quite an enjoyable read, although I would have been happier if the characters had been a little more fully fleshed out.
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