Her friends once thought she was perfect. Now she must face the mirror--and herself--to discover what true beauty is.
Ellie Summerfield has everything a girl could want--she's beautiful, she's Senior Class President, has a calendar full of social engagements, volunteer commitments, and church activities. In short, she's perfect, according to most of the students at West Redding High School. But something is bothering Ellie, like a loose string on a dress she can feel but can't see. Does she really love her boyfriend, Ryan? Who are her true friends? And is she really happy in her picture-perfect life?
Then in the course of a few minutes, the loose string in Ellie's life completely unravels. Forever changed, she must face herself as she discovers what it really means to be beautiful.Book links to and photo from The Book Depository and teaser from Goodreads
Published in US: Nov 3rd 2009
Source: Interlibrary loan
**My rating: 5/5**
Beautiful is a heartbreaking realistic young adult novel. The characters show growth, originality, personality and are easy to relate to.
Ellie is in a horrible accident and we see the transformation not only of her looks but of who she is. She fights for her life and to realize what true beauty is. She doesn't completely lose who she was before the accident, but she realizes a lot of things about herself, and her family and she makes it all into something better. I connected better with Megan though because of her personality type. She is funny, sarcastic and tells it like it is- she also is learning a lot about herself in this book, and walks away from a negative relationship because of it. She is a bit of an outcast, and I relate with that.
There are two quality guys in this book and they both support Ellie through it all. I like that Ellie tries to be selfless about them in her life, and how she handles things. It is not a love triangle persay, because even though it shows a glimmer of possibility for relationship with one of the guys, he is really just mostly a friend, and I like he keeps it that way to preserve their friendship, knowing that differences would probably tear them apart if they were more. So I really appreciate how that is written because it is not often that you see a quality friendship in YA with opposite sexes without him being gay or being romantically involved.
Beautiful is well paced, and has a wonderful driving plot, with supporting and interesting sub-plots. I didn't ever feel like there was too little, or too much going on, it is very well balanced. It explores hope, healing, friendship, and religion. Don't let that turn you off though, it flows very naturally and I never felt like it was preachy. It was brought up at appropriate times and it was always personal opinion and not saying what should be believed.
Though we are taken on Ellie's journey of healing, I really appreciate how nothing is magically fixed- it is planted in reality and there is no magical pill. There is lots of hope, and she grows, changes and heals, but nothing is overnight. It has a great ending but it is not all tied up and handed to her. I would recommend this to my readers who like contemps, realistic ya, or if you want an emotional read that will make you think.