Friday, August 30, 2013

Beauty by Nancy Ohlin

Title: Beauty
Author: Nancy Ohlin
Pages: 175
Publisher: Simon Pulse
My rating: 3 stars
Goodreads rating: 3.34 stars
Published: May 7th 2013 (first published April 1st 2005)


Looks to kill for...

Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own—including her daughter.

And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain to earn her mother’s affection,
she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school.

At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires.

But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?

I sat down to read this yesterday, and I honestly didn't get up until I was done {very engrossing + shorter book + Little D was taking his long nap = getting stuff done!}.  Beauty combined newer YA with {dare I say it?} a bit of classic Disney.  The story was great, and the plotline was really good, but there are some "buts"... I'll get to that in a minute.  First, characters!

Ana is a love-starved young woman when she's first introduced.  She craves her mother's love and affection, and has seen the only way she can obtain that is by trying to be as hideous as possible {think Snow White and her stepmother type of relationship, if Snow White was aware that her stepmom }.  And the author does describe her as being pretty hideous {boils, zits, pock-marks, green and black nails, no personal hygiene whatsoever}, so it is a little weird that she can go from that to absolutely stunning within a short period of time when she goes to the Academy and starts actually cleaning herself up.  But its also kind of interesting that Ana {our Snow} knows her mother resents her for the beauty people saw in Ana when she was young {before she started to make herself physically repulsive to earn her mother's love}.

Ana craves her mother's love like its a drug.  She will do anything for it, which is evident by the way she treats herself.  Its a little sad to read a story about a girl who will pretty much harm herself to make her mother not hate her {I honestly can't write that her mother even likes her... I just can't...}.  Thank goodness she goes to the Academy, because she finally gets some self-worth and starts to value herself and treat her body like something she cares about {no more junk food 24/7, taking baths, just overall learning decent hygiene}.  Too bad for her, that also makes her look more and more beautiful {beauty from the inside is able to blossom on the outside as well!}.

We all know the premiss of the Snow White story: girl is beautiful, stepmother is jealous when girl becomes more beautiful than her, stepmother hires someone to kill girl.  The twisted part to this story is the stepmother is her actual birth mother who eventually wants her dead.

I enjoyed this book, but it was a little too anticlimactic for me.  I had to read the ending twice just to be sure I didn't miss something, it all happened so fast.  It was only 175 pages, and I think the first 145 or so felt like it was just the beginning of the story {not in a bad way}.  Some of the characters could have used better development, but I am also used to read slightly longer books, so 175 pages doesn't seem like enough to do a really in depth story.  Overall it was a nice read, but for such a quick read I think I would go with something a little "fluffier".

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