Beautiful Girl is one of those books that has been on my TBR forever, mainly because I got so intrigued by the synopsis I knew I had to read that. Moreover, would you look at that beautiful cover? After reading it, I’m sorry to say the book fell a little flat for me. Here’s why.
A MYSTERIOUS STORY
“Nicole is running. Every day, she pushes herself farther and farther to get the best time score, to get better. Nicole is running away. From Zach, her ex she can’t quite forget. From her past, who seems to be catching up with her, no matter how quickly she tries to outrun it. But what happens when she can’t run anymore? Thrown down and attacked in the woods one night, Nicole starts to get anonymous threats. No mattter where and how fast she runs, things are catching up with her, and maybe so is her attacker. What happens when she stops running, and finally face the truth?” This is what caught me from the start : this intriguing synopsis. I loved the twist of mystery with the anonymous threats and figuring out who that is: to me, it seemed a little Pretty Little Liars to me, but with a whole different setting, and hopefully, this had to be good. I’m not used to reading New Adult, and not used either to reading books that are set in College. That’s really something I loved in the story, this whole new setting and way of life.
… BUT A LACK OF SUBSTANCE
If you read some of my reviews by now, you certainly know that main characters are very important to me. I guess they are for you, too? I couldn’t quite relate to Nicole very much. Usually, that doesn’t stop me from sympathizing with what the main character is going through. Honestly, with Nicole, it didn’t work out that well. I had a hard time getting attached to her, so I read this story like an outsider, at first. Reading, seeing the events unfolding, but not really feeling part of it all. We get little hints of what happened in Nicole’s past, hints of her relationship with Zach, but never the whole picture, and that’s what annoyed me. But I was curious, to know more about her, to finally understand what happened to her and what happens now. I was eager to get to know more the other characters, too. Well, let me tell you know, I’m sorry to say that fell flat. Beautiful Girl got a panel of characters that caught my attention, at first. It’s filled with different people, with different aspirations and ways of lives. I’m sad to say that I would have liked to know them a little bit more, and I didn’t. I felt like we went only on the surface of who they were. The interactions between the character could have been so much more interesting if it weren’t for that little lack of development. Let me put a pin on that, though : Henry was a really nice characters, that we got to know a little bit more, and that I really enjoyed.
I wanted to see what would happen, I wanted to know how the whole story would turn out. However, I didn’t get all the mystery and suspense I was looking for. I quickly guessed who the attacker could be, and turns out, I was right! So, why keep on reading, you’ll ask me? I couldn’t stop. The writing style wasn’t one of a kind, really, but pages flew by quickly as I got more and more curious by what would happen next. I still wanted to see if I was right, and I still wanted to figure out what the heck the problem was in this story. Because there is, and it’s pretty interesting to see it develop, and try and understand it. This is what I found the most appealing, too, in the story : how it managed to talk about many different, interesting and important issues. Substance abuse, anorexia, schizophrenia, are all important parts of the story.
Maybe with a little more suspense, with characters with more substance, this would have been a must-read for me. It was entertaining, fast-paced, and certainly made me curious, but it was missing this something more to be really great. Beautiful Girl was beautiful outside. It just needed a little more substance to be perfect inside, too.
Final rating: 3 Drops
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of this book. This didn’t in any case influenced my opinion on this work.
Would you like to read Beautiful Girl? Why, or why not? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!
Lida James, Beautiful Girl, Published by The Studio, a Paper Lantern Lit Imprint, October 26th 2014.
Darkness has a way of catching up…
Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love, Zach. As the changing leaves fall on the stately Hudson Valley campus, she takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. With the wind blowing through her hair, she can almost convince herself that she is beautiful, that she will find love again.
So when Nico runs, quite literally, into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Luke.
But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.
All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up…and only one boy can save her.