"Some minutes, it’s possible to forget how much has changed. And in my dreams, I always have real hands."Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is a retold fairy tale loosely inspired by The Beauty and the Beast. In this case The Beauty is Aurora Belle, a girl who everyone judges and immediately accepts based on her outwards beauty, never stopping to notice the hurt that lurks beneath after the recent death of her mother. The Beast is Lucius Wolfe, a young man who blew off his own arms in an explosion of his own making. Going for the cheapest, most obvious option, Lucius choose hooks instead of prosthetic hands. Lucius is prepared for the world to be reject him, be repulsed by his deformity, but when he meets Aurora he begins to want more for himself, he begins to want her.
It was definitely curiosity about the premise of Crazy Beautiful which drew me to the book, but unfortunately as interesting as the initial premise was, the novel's flaws far exceeded its merits. Crazy Beautiful lacks the rich and believable characters that make exciting, and since you recognize from the beginning that Aurora and Lucius are likely going to end up together (at least if you've seen the Disney film) then what becomes more important is how they get to that stage. I also thought the names of the characters were absolutely terrible and obvious choices. The narrative of the story switches from Aurora's viewpoint to Lucius', but even though the reader gets inside the character's head there just isn't much there. Baratz-Logsted tells the reader that Aurora is heartbroken from her mother's long struggle with cancer, but you never really feel it. Similarly, Lucius apparently hated life at his old school, but the back story is vague and incomplete. There are also a lot of flaws when it comes to making this book believable from a teenage perspective. Everyone in the novel are either very good or very bad, with no room for the middle ground, and this is especially true of Aurora.
Crazy Beautiful is a short little wisp of a novel, not even two hundred pages, and it felt more like an outline than a complete book. There was just so much more that could have been done with the story, but instead it is rushed to the point that it almost entirely lacks character development. A few bright moments exist, I really enjoyed the relationship between Lucius' and his little sister especially when she took him shopping and I appreciated the concept of showing how normal a teenage boy Lucius is despite his disability, and how it is still possible for him to find love. Ultimately though, a positive message and an intriguing premise aren't enough to save Crazy Beautiful from becoming a predictable story with one-dimensional characters.
Release Date: September 7th, 2009
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