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Another title from the Mock Printz list – I’ve only got two more to read, The Eternal Smile and All the Broken Pieces.  Review of The Miles Between coming soon.

Crazy Beautiful Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

I was expecting something slightly different – I’d heard the premise, and I expected lots of darkness, and more fairy tale overtones, and more longing and angst and romance. Instead, some of those elements became secondary to a high school story about choosing who want to be, how you will face the world, etc. Sure, that corresponds to the Beauty and the Beast story in some ways, but this is more a story that happens to have those dynamics than a book that I would press on anyone who loves fairy tale retellings.

So then the question is, does this succeed at telling a good coming of age, high school story? On some levels it does – the alternating points of view paint a picture of high school in all its cruelty and shallowness, as well as those moments where you see the light and connect with someone. There were a few times when the dialogue or details pulled me out of the story, and I found myself was wishing the story had gone a bit darker, because a more melodramatic tone in the story makes me more forgiving of not-quite-believable dialogue. The characters are sophomores, and it’s really a story more about first love than passion.

I was left wanting to know more – about what Lucius was like before he lost his hands, because I never got a solid feel for that. Still, I think this would appeal to kids who don’t really want a dark story, but want just a hint of darkness and tragedy and self-destruction, and I think it would appeal to both boys and girls, because Lucius came across to me as a bigger character despite the balance between the two points of view.

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December 2021

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