Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Beautiful Girl

Author: Fleur Philips
Genre: Modern Fiction, Young Adult
Type: Advanced Reading Copy
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: SparkPress
First Published: June 9, 2015
First Line: "Clarissa sees Decker Bail before I do."

Book Description from GoodReadsSeventeen-year-old Melanie Kennicut is beautiful. Her entire life revolves around this beauty because her overly controlling mother has been dragging her to casting calls and auditions since she was four years old. According to Joanne Kennicut, Melanie was born to follow in her footsteps. But Melanie never wanted this life. 

When a freak car accident leaves her with facial lacerations that will require plastic surgery, she can't help but wonder if this is the answer to her prayers. For the first time in her life, she has a chance to live like a normal teenager at least for a little while away from the photo shoots and movie sets that have dominated her entire existence. But after Melanie allows her best friend to come to the house to see her, Joanne decides to hide her daughter in Montana for the remainder of the summer. There, Melanie won't be seen by anyone they know, and her face will heal in time for the scheduled surgery in late August. Joanne’s plan backfires, however, when Melanie meets Sam, a Native American boy hired by the home's owner to tend to the property. Sam is nothing like the Hollywood boys Melanie know she's poor, his father's a drunk who possesses a bizarre gift inherited from a Kootenai Shaman, and his only brother disappeared into the mountains after the death of their mother eight years before. What transpires over a mere 36 hours after Sam and Melanie meet changes both of their lives in ways they never thought possible

My Review:  Beautiful Girl had a good premise -- seeing a spoiled and beautiful teenage girl go through the process of self-discovery and self-identity.  I love books that empower teen girls and this book had the makings of one that could highlight the process of coming into one's inner strength. 

The downfall of this book is the pace.  Whoa Nelly! Usually I like a fast paced book but this book was so rushed that not enough time was given to delve deeper into some of the issues (which could have had some great emotional depth to them).  Instead they felt too easily resolved and rather weak.  

The pace also left little time to connect with Melanie (and other characters) and didn't give them enough time to develop leaving them to feel very one-dimensional.  That's not to say that I had no feelings for the main characters.  Both Melanie and Sam had horrible childhoods and I felt bad for them but the way that they connected so quickly didn't feel realistic and the book went downhill for me from there.  

I'm not a fan of 'Insta-Love' but I do like good romance -- if it's realistic.  I have to believe the relationship/issues for me to love a story line or character.  I just cannot buy into the idea that Melanie falls in love with a boy she's talked to casually twice.  There's also one scene between them later on that came out of left field and felt totally out of character for Melanie.  It felt like the scene was added to quickly 'tell' the reader that they had a deep connection.  I'm not a fan of the 'tell instead of show' type of writing.

The author added in a semi-decent twist at the end to explain some of the behaviour of one of the characters but I never felt like it was a good enough reason.  It felt like a weak and last minute excuse for this person to have treated Melanie so horribly most of her life.  I honestly didn't need that character to be redeemed.  In fact, it would have been more believable if that person had stayed the same and Melanie's character had developed more.  Unfortunately there just wasn't enough character development for any of the characters throughout the book and that was really disappointing.

Overall, this book had some good ideas but suffered with weak character development and an overly rushed pace.

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to SparkPress and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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