Crazy Beautiful

Crazy Beautiful

3.6 49
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
     
 

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In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t

Overview

In an explosion of his own making, Lucius blew his arms off. Now he has hooks. He chose hooks because they were cheaper. He chose hooks because he wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly. He chose hooks so that everyone would know he was different, so he would scare even himself.

Then he meets Aurora. The hooks don’t scare her. They don’t keep her away. In fact, they don’t make any difference at all to her.

But to Lucius, they mean everything. They remind him of the beast he is inside. Perhaps Aurora is his Beauty, destined to set his soul free from its suffering.

Or maybe she’s just a girl who needs love just like he does.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" . . . a powerful story about recovery and friendship."—Kirkus Reviews

"The story is told in alternating chapters...Baratz-Logsted does a deft job of weaving the perspectives together to show events from both points of view ...the pacing is energetic and the topics current." - School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Baratz-Logsted's modern take on Beauty and the Beast is told from the alternating points of view of two sophomores as they begin class at a new school. Beautiful, kind Aurora is immediately absorbed into the popular crowd; she and her father, the school librarian, are especially close following the death of her mother a few months earlier. Lucius's family is more troubled: since he exploded chemicals in his basement last year, blowing up part of his house as well as his forearms, his father will barely look at him. Lucius brings his past with him to the new school, both externally (in the form of the hooks that he chooses to replace his hands) and on the inside. Lucius quickly attracts the attention of Jessup, a student who harasses him and nicknames him Hooks, but also that of Aurora, who is as drawn to Lucius as he is to her. Both Aurora and Lucius are remarkably resilient given the events of the preceding year, and following the highs and lows of their blossoming relationship makes for a fast-paced and intense read. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
After blowing off his hands in a chemical explosion of his own doing, Lucius is on a quest for recovery and acceptance which results in an unexpected friendship. He chooses hooks as prostheses for his lost hands since they make a statement for him that he is different. Will these prostheses scare others off? A friendship emerges with a popular classmate, Aurora, because she is not scared by the hooks. Can she relieve his suffering, or is he destined to a life of pain and suffering? Or is Aurora already in her own life of pain and suffering after the loss of her mother, and seeking a recovery of her own? Perhaps this friendship can help both of them to survive. Their journey gives a new perspective to the classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. The author's use of multiple viewpoints allows the reader to connect with Aurora and Lucius from their respective viewpoints and see their relationship develop. This alternate viewpoint usage shows the family dynamics well, too. The author also establishes a realistic high school setting and demonstrates the students' interactions to keep the reader engaged. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
VOYA - Barbara Johnston
In this modern version of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast, goodness triumphs and a kiss promises a "happily-ever-after" ending. Aurora is the fifteen-year-old beauty who is in a new school after her mother's death from cancer. Aurora, sincere and compassionate as any heroine could be, even has a wonderful relationship with her school librarian father. Having a more difficult time trying to fit in is Lucius, the beast who blew off his own hands while practicing a chemical experiment to do some future vague harm to the world. Now changed and remorseful, his hook hands repel most of his classmates but not Aurora or security guard Nick. When fellow students Jessup and Celia plot to make Lucius the villain in phony charges against Aurora's father, the truth prevails and Aurora and Lucius join hearts in a perfect kiss. This story, told in the alternating voices of Aurora and Lucius, is set in a contemporary high school. The supporting cast—the handsome but unsavory Jessup and the cheerleader type girls—is stereotypical as is their involvement in the musical Grease. Aurora and Lucius, however, become authentic as they reveal their inner thoughts on the loss of a parent, bullying, and teen romance. Both demonstrate heroic behavior as Aurora treats Lucius as a whole person rather than a "Crip" with a handicap, and Lucius helps Nick achieve his NFL dream. Is it believable? Well, it is a fairytale. Young readers will love its straightforward narration and happy ending. Reviewer: Barbara Johnston
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sophomore Lucius Wolfe lost both hands in an explosion of his own making, and now he is left to pick up the pieces—with steel hooks. The story is told in alternating chapters by Lucius (Crazy) and Aurora (Beautiful). Baratz-Logsted does a deft job of weaving the perspectives together to show events from both points of view. Lucius chooses a bus seat so as to be left alone and is immediately called "crip"; Aurora gets on the same bus, smiles at people, and hears a voice call "New girl! Come sit back here with us." It doesn't help that Lucius has an air of arrogance about him and has changed schools to find a new start. The author spends equal time on several plotlines: Lucius, the brilliant loner destructo-kid, his amusing sister and his dysfunctional family; Aurora and her newly widowed saintly father; Nick, the good-guy security guard with dreams of the NFL; a school play; a false accusation; and Cecelia and Jessup, the scheming spurned lovers. Resolving everything makes the final chapters feel rushed and too perfect. However, the pacing is energetic and the topics current. Readers who have outgrown MJ Auch's One-Handed Catch and aren't quite ready for Harriet McBryde Johnson's Accidents of Nature (both Holt, 2006) might enjoy Crazy Beautiful.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Lucius Wolfe and Aurora Belle are both new in school, but their situations couldn't be more different. Aurora is instantly popular. Lucius, on the other hand, is an antisocial double amputee with hooks for prosthetics-to replace the hands he blew off in a reckless chemical accident. While Lucius makes only enemies among the usual crowd of stock high-school nasties, Aurora effortlessly becomes the social queen. Yet sweetheart Aurora is fascinated by Lucius, and the two orbit one another despite his pariah status. The tale's structure (a not-particularly-successful "Beauty and the Beast" retelling) at first creates impressions of an unsubtle and offensive disability-as-beastliness metaphor. But as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that it's Lucius who believes that disability is beastly, and his coming-of-age involves his learning that he's wrong. Somehow, this romance transcends all of its potential pitfalls to create a powerful story about recovery and friendship. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547223070
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/07/2009
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

LUCIUS

My arm rises toward my face and the pincer touch of cold steel rubs against my jaw. I chose hooks because they were cheaper.
I chose hooks because I wouldn’t outgrow them so quickly.
I chose hooks so that everyone would know I was different,
so I would scare even myself.

"Lucius!" I hear Mom call from the bottom of the staircase. "If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss the bus. You’ll be late for your first day!"

She sounds so excited.

Like I’m in a hurry to start sophomore year at a brand-new school. Like I’m in a hurry to be the new kid, especially looking like I do, when everyone else in my class will have already established themselves, their friendships and their cliques, back in freshman year. Like this will be something good, like it’ll be anything other than the pure awful I know it will be.

Time to get dressed.

My room is like a white-walled cell. Oh, sure, it has the basics — bed, dresser, desk — but none of the frills my old room had. I have no CD player, no DVD player. I’m not allowed to have a computer, and I’m sure not allowed to have any science stuff anymore. Even the walls are bare.

I lost everything in the explosion — my father would say we lost everything — so a lot of what I don’t have is punishment for that. Also, because we can’t afford to replace a lot of things. Also, self-punishment. We could of course afford at least a few posters, but I don’t want them. I want to be reminded all the time. I know the world won’t let me forget, so I can’t let myself forget either.

The dresser at least contains some decent new clothes, but the jeans I pull out are stiff with their newness, the long-sleeved black T-shirt I pull out stiff as well; I always wear long sleeves, even on the hottest days of summer, to cover my synthetic arms, which extend from just above where my elbows should be to my "wrists," where my hooks begin. When I pull on my socks, I think about how when I was younger I loved the feel of new socks against my skin: not faded or stained, never been washed or worn. But now everything feels too new, like I’m being forced into a costume for a play I want no part of. At least my sneakers, which I’ve been breaking in all summer, have the feel of something I know. It took me two weeks of solid practice to learn how to tie my own laces again, but I refused to get Velcro, and once I mastered those tricky laces, it was like everything else fell into place. In the beginning, I couldn’t even pull on my own underwear without scraping my skin with the hooks, but now I can do it all, and do it fast; briefs instead of boxers, just in case anyone’s curious. Some minutes, it’s possible to forget how much has changed. And in my dreams, I always have real hands.

Down in the kitchen, Dad is in his usual spot (hiding behind the newspaper), Mom is in her usual spot (doing something at the counter), and my younger sister, Misty, is in her usual spot (being a pain wherever she is). Some days, I think Misty is okay, but mostly it’s like she got the memo that kid sisters are supposed to be incredibly annoying and she follows those instructions religiously.

Misty is a smaller version of Mom — tiny, cute, and blond — while everyone has always said I favor Dad. Seeing as Dad is balding and paunchy, I always hope people understand when I say I just don’t see it. But maybe they just mean the eyes are the same. Or maybe the nose. It’s amazing how people can take just one small part of a person and draw massive conclusions.

"Pancakes, Lucius?" Mom offers, her back to me as she does some stuff in front of the microwave.

"No," I say, taking my seat at the kitchen table, "I’m good."

The cushion of the seat feels funny beneath my butt. It’s as though the cushion of the seat at the table in our old kitchen, in our old house, knew my butt perfectly, but this cushion doesn’t know my butt at all. It’s the same as with the jeans and T-shirt, I guess: I don’t know any of it, and none of it knows me.

I suppose it’s not surprising.

The old house, we lived in it all our lives, all my life and Misty’s, at least. This place? We’ve only been here a few months.

How long, I wonder, does it take a thing or a place or even a person to feel like home?

Mom puts a glass of orange juice on the table in front of me, fresh from the carton, even though I didn’t ask for any. Dad still hasn’t said a word. Misty, even though she’s only twelve to my fifteen, is spending all her time checking out her own reflection in a handheld mirror. I think girls call them compacts. Or maybe only moms call them that. Or maybe only my mom. I wonder sometimes: Every time Misty looks in that mirror, is she expecting her reflection to have changed from the last time she looked? Who is it she’s hoping to see? I could tell her, if I thought she’d hear me, that the thing about herself she wants to see change the most probably never will. The universe knows that’s the case with me. I am an expert on that.

In the beginning, I used to look at myself in the mirror all the time, repulsed at what I saw, trying to surprise my own new image by jumping out at the mirror from the sides. What I saw never changed. Now I know it never will. I look like what I look like and except for getting gray and wrinkled will look like this for the rest of my life. It’s not like I’m ever going to be able to do something simple, like diet or pluck my eyebrows — two of Misty’s favorite activities — to ever change the way I look. It’s not like I’m a starfish, able to generate new limbs.

And yet I accept what I’ve done, what I’ve become. I accept who I am, and what my future will undoubtedly be.

Mom must notice that I don’t touch my juice, because she says, "You’re not even going to drink anything, Lucius? Are you that nervous about your first day?"

"No," I say. "I’m not nervous at all." And I’m not — nervous, that is. It’s pointless to be nervous when you know what the outcome of a thing will be. Nervous is only for when you don’t know. "If I pull this switch, what will happen?" "Will the doctor tell me I won’t make it?" "What will adding this one little chemical do to the potion?" "Does the pilot really know how to fly this plane?" No, I’m not nervous. I’m just not exactly looking forward to any of this. "I’m just not hungry," I tell my mom. "Or thirsty. That’s all."

"Well," Misty says, "isn’t anyone going to ask me if I’m nervous?"

"Of course," Mom says. "Are you?"

"No," Misty says, with even more arrogance than I had at her age. Then her expression changes, as if she can’t stop herself from feeling whatever she’s feeling. "Well, maybe."

"You’ll be fine," Mom soothes. "Just be yourself, and I’m sure everyone will like you."

It’s such a Mom thing to say. If everyone in the world would just be themselves, then everyone else in the world would like them. As if it’s ever that easy. If this were a year ago and Misty was angsting about starting something new, I’d tease her. I’d say, "Of course no one will like you, especially if you ‘just be yourself.’ " I’d say it because just like Misty got the memo that she’s supposed to be a brat to me, I got the memo saying that as the big brother I am to make her life miserable. But I can’t do that to Misty today. I know how much I’ve cost her already.

Of which she wastes no time reminding me, as she leans across the table after Mom pokes her head into the fridge, and hiss-whispers, "This is all your fault. If it weren’t for you, we’d never have had to move in the first place."

Mom’s head is still in the fridge and Dad’s head is still behind his newspaper, so I don’t think for more than a split second before raising one of my hooks and holding it over Misty’s head. It’s a menacing way to hold the hook. I know this. I’ve had too much practice this past summer.

I watch as Misty recoils from me, her brother, in horror, as I knew she would. It’s its own brand of scary, seeing someone you’re related to look at you with such fear in her eyes. It’s a look I’ve seen before.

But I don’t care, in the moment. In the moment, I just want to stop being reminded, if only just for a second. I want to take a break from being told that everything in our lives, all the millions of little changes, is my fault. It’s all because of me me me.

Before Mom gets her head back out of the fridge, before Dad peeks over the top of the newspaper, I take my menacing hook and place it back on the table.

I try to smile at Misty, really smile — It was all just a joke, my smile says, begs her to believe, you know? — but she’s not having any.

She doesn’t trust me, and I can’t really say that I blame her. Misty may be an annoying little sister, but she’s not stupid.

So I try to pretend nothing out of the ordinary just happened. I reach for my juice glass with both hooks, but instead of using the hooks I use the plastic wrists of my prosthetics to grasp the glass and raise it to my lips. This is how I drink sometimes. I’m adept with the hooks for fine motor stuff — meaning grabbing or holding on to small objects — but for something like a glass I sometimes resort to this. The doctors told me that later I’d get used to holding on to bigger objects, but that in the beginning mastering the pincer grip would be enough, and that it would all come in time. But first, baby steps. And sometimes I regress. Better to regress than digress, I always tell myself.

I go to put the glass back down on the table, but something goes wrong. I make a misjudgment in spatial relations. Maybe it’s

because the glasses in this house are different from the ones in our old house. Maybe it’s because the table is different. Maybe it’s because I really am, no matter what I say, nervous; nervous about starting over in a new place. Whatever the cause, I misjudge, put the glass down too abruptly or too harshly, and can only watch as it totters, in that excruciating slow-motion way of forthcoming disaster, and then tumbles, sprawling a tiny sea of orange in the direction of Dad’s beloved sports pages.

That finally gets his attention.

Gee, if I’d known spilling my orange juice was this effective, I’d have spilled it in Dad’s direction every day when I was younger. Then maybe he’d have made time to do things with me like, I don’t know, play catch in the yard. Not that I’m complaining or playing the neglected child card. I’ll never do that. I know what I’ve done. I know who’s responsible for everything in my life, past, present, and future. Still, a little catch would have been fun, when I still had hands.

Dad does a little jump in his seat, but maybe the cushions of these chairs still don’t feel right to his butt either, because his reaction time and reflexes are off, and he can’t save the Mets’ scores from being drenched.

This can’t be good. He always reads the paper in a particular order: front page first, because he says it’s irresponsible not to; followed by sports; followed by whatever else he has time for. He won’t like reading a soggy sports section.

You’d think a guy who likes reading the sports pages so much would have found time to play ball with his own kid.

But now I really do digress, and with good reason.

I’m sure he’s going to yell.

All I wanted was a moment, just a second in which I could take a break from being reminded.

But Dad doesn’t yell.

There have been times, many times before today, when I’ve wished he would.

He folds the sports section up in a ball and tosses it to the middle of the table, away from him. It’s a good toss; there’s something athletic about it. Then he snaps the front section as if he’s opening it for the first time that day, as if nothing has happened.

I let out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding.

That’s when Dad peers at me over the top of his newspaper and issues one of his trademarked glares.

"Whatever you do today," he says, "don’t louse it up. This is your last chance."

Meet the Author

Lauren Baratz-Logsted has written books for all ages. Her books for children and young adults include the Sisters Eight series, The Education of Bet and Crazy Beautiful. She lives with her family in Danbury, Connecticut.

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Crazy Beautiful 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
A beautiful girl meets a boy with hooks for hands in a modern re-telling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I devoured this story. CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is one of those books you want to curl up and read in one sitting. The cover is gorgeous, but I was expecting a more intense story, I think, with older characters. (The characters are 15.) Instead, we get a look at a sweet story of love and friendship between two fractured people. Lucius experimented with chemicals from school and caused an explosion which cost him his hands. He's chosen hooks and has set himself up to be an outcast at school - which he is, except when it comes to Aurora. Aurora has recently lost her mother to cancer and now she and her father are starting over in a new town. She's genuinely nice and I really did feel like she was a wonderfully sweet person - she wasn't annoyingly perfect and nice - she was real. I loved Aurora's relationship with her father - I love seeing strong family dynamics in books and Aurora and her father have a great relationship. This contrasts with Lucius and his parents, who have lost trust in him. Yet, I can't say theirs is a negative family dynamic, as their family is struggling to recover from the accident and it's written so perfectly - you feel their struggle. I really liked the relationship between Lucius and his younger sister, Misty - the scene at the mall is one of my favorite sibling scenes ever! There's so much in this one - it's a tale of friendship, romance, jealousy, and starting over. It does justice to the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST story and it reads like a lovely fairy tale. It's told in alternating viewpoints with each chapter, and I liked how things from each chapter would bleed over into the next character - both are served orange juice for breakfast, both characters will use the same word. It was very clever and I liked looking for the things that connected them. I'm most impressed with how author Lauren Baratz-Logsted could manage to say so much without going into great detail. She doesn't need to write long descriptive paragraphs about what's happening. Some chapters are only a few sentences long - but the characters have depth and their relationship is believable. The only complaint that I have was that I wish it would have been a tad longer - the ending felt a little too rushed. Overall, though, CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is definitely one to look for. Side note - As a librarian, I really loved how Aurora's dad was a librarian and Aurora was a book lover. It's always good to see librarians get a shout out in books. For some reason, he reminded me of Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which made me smile as I was reading it. Gotta love librarians!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely not worth the six bucks. The writing was awful I was questioning the grammar all the way through the book. There are spelling and punctuation mistakes everywhere! The story was unimaginative and predictable, the grammar was elementary, and this book is in dire need of editing, spell-checking and revising. Try reading a Beauty and the Beast type book that is actually worth reading.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
Sophomore year should be a piece of cake -not quite the upperclassmen, but no longer the underdogs - but for new boy Lucius, the cake may very well end up on his face. His parents thought a new school would give him a fresh start, but if his hooks don't scare his classmates away, Lucius expects his closed-mouth personality would do the job. On the other hand, he cannot help but envy new girl Aurora who seems to be getting cake served on a platter. She is like a Disney princess with bluebirds singing and silverware dancing, and what's more is that Lucius wants to be her Prince Charming for no other reason except that deep down he knows her even though they've never crossed paths before. The only problem with the whole thing is: Will he ever get sha-la-la-la close enough to kiss the girl before she runs away screaming at the sight of him? I remember when crazy beautiful was first making the rounds through the blogosphere (has it really been 2 years?!) and falling in love with the cover - but after reading it now, I have a small wish that the hooks had been included somehow. They symbolize so much for Lucius - the boy he had been, the anger, the turmoil, the reminder of all he has to live with and come to terms with - shouldn't that be cover-worthy? The dual perspectives worked for the story. It was mostly Lucius's story - but I think that Aurora's interjections softened up the story, and it helped to make her more relatable and less "vision of perfection." crazy beautiful was crazy-short, crazy-sweet, and crazy-simple - but it totally works and makes me want to cuddle with it for a while longer!
BookwormAF More than 1 year ago
Omg this book could have been a great noverl but about a hundred and fifty pages? Not worth it. It woukd have been greater if more juice was in it
ReadergirlReviews More than 1 year ago
This is an older book, but I was so intrigued by the idea of a guy who has hooks for hands that I had to pick it up and read it. I wasn't disappointed. This was a slightly darker story, emotionally, and I was really drawn in by it and by Lucius. This is a character who chose to have hooks instead of prosthetics because he wants to remind himself of something bad he did, and remind himself how bad it could have been, all because of him. It would have been very easy, if the author had been less talented, for this character to come off as being self-pitying, wallowing in his misery. But this author handled the situation perfectly. Add Aurora to the mix and things got very interesting. I loved Aurora! She was so sweet, and she didn't let Lucius' reputation or his hooks, which can be rather scary, to put her off or scare her. It was a beautiful thing to watch her love him out of his darkness. This was a very good book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was very touching.
Casey88 More than 1 year ago
I just adored this book. I read it in one sitting. It was gripping from the beginning to the end. From first reading the summary, I thought that this was going to be mostly a romantic type of story. But it was more about Lucius learning to recover by accepting what he had done. Also, it's about the kind of friendship that is meant to be treasured forever. Her writing was brilliantly done. Loved the way she intertwined some good information that teens and adults could take into consideration. And I felt the overall plot was quite original. You don't hear to much about characters with hooks for hands (except for Captain Hook off Peter Pan LOL!) I personally loved Aurora's character. I can see so much of myself in her. Especially her attitude towards making fun of people who are different before ever getting to know them. I agree with her 100% on that subject - it's only fair to get to know someone before you judge them. The only problem I had with this book was that it was too short. Also, I wish there could have been more interaction between Lucius and Aurora. Overall, it was a good read and I do recommend this book to those of you who are looking for something short, simple, and cute to read.
Dannil_24_24 More than 1 year ago
it was an okay book but i think it was a waste of my time reading... the characters are very bland they need more...idk..descriptions or something but it definatly needs more to it.
SeeMichelleRead More than 1 year ago
Starting a new high school can be brutal. Lucius knows his first day might be a bit more rocky than others' since he's never really put any effort into fitting in. Lucius' parent's are hoping this new school will be a fresh start not only for him but for the entire family but Lucius knows having two hooks for hands will automatically label him as the 'crazy' kid. Add in that he blew his own hands off in a chemical explosion of his own creation and you've got yourself a social misfit. What he doesn't expect on his first day is to make an instant connection with the lovely Aurora Belle, another transfer student, who is so nice and pretty that the other students welcome her with open arms. Even though he doesn't expect it, Aurora continually goes out of her way to become friends with Lucius, drawing him out even thought the other students are mystified as to her reasons for doing so. This compact little book (only 193 pages) was a quick read - full of little surprises that kept me turning the pages. Both Lucius and Aurora are trying to navigate their new lives while dealing with very personal struggles while ultimately learning about second chances and the empowerment that comes from looking past appearances. It was also fun to note how much emphasis Lauren Baratz-Logsted placed on the names in this book. Knowing Crazy Beautiful is intended as a retelling of beauty and the beast, the names Lucius Wolfe and Aurora Belle take on a whole additional meaning. Aurora Belle is such an obvious princess name: Aurora (Sleeping Beauty, anyone?) and Belle, naturally for beauty - fits her to a tee. Lucius Wolfe: now that's just a beastly name altogether don't you think? The story was light and fun and there were little details to make it stand out (like the names) but just didn't deliver in some aspects. For starters, the ending felt rushed and not as well thought out as it could have been. There was so much buildup and I felt that Lucius' motives for setting the explosion in the first place were never sufficiently explained. That said, even though Lucius fairly leapt off the page at times, Aurora never really solidified into a real character. She was just a little too squeaky clean. Not that that's bad: I love a good girl as much as anyone, but you just want some depth to go along with all that innocence and kindness. Obviously, Aurora is beautiful and would never judge by appearances - not to mention the fact that her mother passed away from cancer = instant empathy points - but where's the flaws? the quirks? I hate to pick on the nice girl, but she just needed a little more oomph. One thing I did love however was the actual book itself. The black and white cover: a little edgy and with that ever-so-important dash of instant attraction. It also didn't hurt that the book itself is a nice, bright unmistakable hot pink. Contrast, contrast - thy name is perfection. seemichelleread.blogspot.com
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
Okay, there is a hint of a retelling or a re-imagining as they call it nowadays. Yes, Lucius has lost his hands to a chemical explosion, but it's more the reasons behind that explosion that make the book and Lucius such an interesting character and not the shallow topic of his appearance. For someone who's just entering his sophomore year at a new high school, he seems very emotionally mature...but it's a hard-earned maturity, most of it gotten from his stay in a hospital bed, one imagines. And beautiful Aurora, the girl he instantly fixes on, could be easily dismissed as the lovely princess who seems to effortlessly inhabit all fairy tales. But she's had her own trials with the loss of her mother who - along with one of the best Dad's in young adult lit - raised her daughter to look below the surface and so sees the shining...something in Lucius that instantly draws her, too. We have the requisite high school villains recognizable to all: the brainless pretties, the mean jocks, the in-betweens who go along to get along. We also have the interesting addition of the once heroic jock whose dream crashed and burned in a big way and who now finds himself at the lowest point of his existence - serving as a security guard in the halls down which he once strutted as a young god. I loved the point-counterpoint of the interchanging chapters, he-said, she-said, the doubts of both characters showing that the seeming loser and the popular beauty don't really think that much differently. I loved seeing how Lucius has to try and win back a relationship with the family he nearly destroyed, building a new sibling bond with his little sister, earning the trust of his parents. I loved seeing his growth from a bullied and desperate young man who was willing to ...well, I'm not throwing out any spoilers, but seeing him change into a young man who helps his friend try to recapture his dream even while knowing it means he'll lose the only ally he has at school offers a powerful lesson. Also seeing his willingness to watch Aurora turn to Jessup, the boy who is seemingly a better match (but of course is just a teen with anger issues and a really nasty piece of work), during her time of emotional turmoil was pretty poignant. I don't know many grown-ups who could give up their chance of happiness for that of someone else, so it was very touching to watch Lucius at least try to step away from Aurora. I find it a little odd that Lauren Baratz-Logsted abandoned the traditional name of "Belle" from the Beauty tales and substituted "Aurora" which is linked to the Sleeping Beauty tales. Although there is that part of the story where after the death of her mother, Aurora acknowledges that she's just been going with the flow, sort of coasting; and it takes the popular crowd's callous treatment of Lucius to cause her to wake from dreaming and really look around to see what's happening. So maybe Lauren was just combining her fairy tale heroines to get the best of both! A lovely book and one that I wish could go on...I'd love to see a sequel where the reader got to look in on how the school treated this pairing of the self-crippled loner and the wise-eyed beauty, but for now we'll just have to hope for happyily-ever-afters. Recommended for teens who like a little realism in their stories. Read also Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Patricia McCormick's Cut, Laura & Tom McNeal's Crooked, Neil Connelly's St. Michael's Scales.
djsfoxylady More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to get the chance to read and review this book! I fell in love with everything about it from page one until the final page. The book flowed nicely, and the characters were perfect. Books like this one is what the young adults should be reading! It teaches people that just because someone has a disability, doesn't mean they don't have feelings or dreams for life and love. I beautifully written teen novel that should be required reading at schools for life lessons. I personally can't wait to see what the author comes up with next! I am proud to say that this book is one of my favorites of the year!
TheBookResort More than 1 year ago
Lauren Baratz-Logsted's exposition is breathtakingly beautiful. I found myself aching @ the raw emotion & losing myself in the sheer creative brilliance that is Crazy Beautiful! I didn't read Crazy Beautiful, I devoured it! I must admit, I started to drag my feet as I was reaching the end. Why? Because Crazy Beautiful is so hypnotic (thank you my GH lovin' literary angel, Lauren Baratz-Logsted)! Crazy Beautiful is an unparalleled fairy tale. Baratz-Logsted's interpretation of Beauty & the Beast is absolutely arrestive. Told w/ a modern twist, Crazy Beautiful will have you believing anything & everything is possible thanks to Baratz-Logsted's striking & charismatic prose. Crazy Beautiful is told in alternating point of views, which is not only refreshing but allows readers to experience the deeply intense emotions that cover Lucius & Aurora like second skin. Baratz-Logsted weaves an enthralling tale of fractured teens who are destined to be. Not in some mushy/gushy/eye rolling/syrupy/words on paper/teen heart tripping/"who are you again?" /third rate/ straight to DVD nightmare! Baratz-Logsted's scribes a cultivated novel resplendent in exquisiteness! Lucius & Aurora are soulmates. You will become enchanted, bewitched & ravenous for more. Baratz-Logsted's provocative duo are extremely well written, you can't help but wish them to exist outside of the pages she skillfully crafted. Every player in Crazy Beautiful is vital to the story ~ the novel just couldn't propel smoothly w/o every cast member sustaining the life Baratz-Logsted created for this remarkable tale. Crazy Beautiful is rich w/ a sense of strong family dynamics. Aurora's relationship w/ her father is well orchestrated & a breath of fresh air. Lucius' place in his family is realistic & well developed & the author deserves kudos for not sugar coating his role. I absolutely loved the mall scenes w/ his sister. Misty is a dynamic character & I'd love to see her get her own story. Crazy Beautiful is a fast, emotional read w/ a unique take on a classic tale. Now since Baratz-Logsted lightly touched upon Lucius' back story, I am hoping visions of a prequel dance in her head. Hint ~hint! I wouldn't mind if it was told in alternating perspectives as we experience life w/ Aurora's mom. I loved Lucius! He was such an enthralling character; he simply jumped out of the pages. He was absolutely a three dimensional player. I adored Aurora! She was authentic & not so sweet you develop sugar shock. Aurora popped out of the pages, too. It was watching a play. Despite some of the dark undercurrents, Baratz-Logsted shines w/ humor. As much as I wanted to add a seashell w/ my 5 rating, I didn't. Why? I wanted more. Much more. I wanted to see Lucius & Aurora outside of the school environment & was spoiled by the time they had dinner. To me the end was a bit rushed & I felt a bit cheated because I fell in love w/ these mesmerizing characters, I wanted more Lucius & Aurora. I know there is more to these two & I hope Baratz-Logsted doesn't forget to tap into a prequel & a sequel because this defintely showcases characters worth knowing! Now, let's talk about the cover ~ GORGEOUS! Absolutely STUNNING! Hurry! Grab your copy of Crazy Beautiful!
JoanneLevy More than 1 year ago
WOW! I just devoured this book in one sitting. Being that I'm a sucker for tortured guys, this book was perfect for me and I've been waiting ages for it to come out. And it didn't disappoint. Lucius lost his hands in an explosion of his own making. Aurora lost her mom to cancer. Both are learning to live with what they've lost, but are still searching for something while they make their own way in a new school where neither knows anyone. In the end, they realize what they are searching for is love and ultimately, each other. If you like love stories, especially different and fresh takes on the classics (this is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast) CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is for you. I can't wait to see what this author does next!
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
Crazy Beautiful is told in two points of view: Aurora and Lucius. Both are new to the high school they're going to. The difference? Lucius has no hands, due to a chemistry concoction gone wrong. So instead of hands, he has hooks instead (which freaks out the entire school population) except Aurora. In a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Crazy Beautiful explains love, redemption, and forgiveness. It's a short read. About 200 pages long. I absolutely loved this book. I immediately sympathized with Lucius and hated those that just assumed these whirlwind stories about him were true. Just because of his disability he's immediately an outcast in the cruel world of High School. Both main characters were very well liked by me. I loved Lucius for being strong despite being a social outcast the minute he stepped on school grounds. I loved Aurora for standing up for what she believes in and even has the courage to stand up and tell her peers they're wrong about assumptions they have made. Both characters are very strong, brave, and mature which makes them even more likable. I couldn't stand Jessup (I can't stand his name either). I just absolutely hated him and I was glad Aurora could see through his actions and was able to fend him off. (Yet another reason why I liked Aurora so much). The plot is very short and doesn't take too long to go through. It's almost as if you're watching a half hour TV high school show. Which isn't that bad, mind you, although I would have like the story to develop a little more. That's just me, as I'm used to reading longer novels. It seemed to just go a little too fast but at least there's enough going on in this novel to make it flow and to keep the reader interested. There were parts that actually got me laughing out loud. Lucius has charming wit that enhances his personality and character, also his bravery in standing up against the most popular guy in the school also makes this an entertaining read. Overall a good quick read. It does have certain parts that would qualify as a modern fairy tale. I enjoyed it very much and just wished it was just a bit longer as I thought there could be more to it. Lucius and Aurora made a wonderful couple and it seemed they were made for each other so it gave the romance a nice cozy feel to the story. Pick this up if you feel like reading something quick but also a light hearted read.
Fantastic_Book More than 1 year ago
Crazy Beautiful is a delightfully re-imagined twist on a modern day fairy tale. The characters in Crazy Beautiful are quite enjoyable. We have Aurora, the "Beauty" who everyone is instantly drawn to. She's such a nice girl and overlooks the drama that comes with every day high school rumors and gossip. She's also fair and believes in second chances. Then we have Lucius, the "Beast" who everyone distances themselves from due to his hooks for hands. He's the outsider trying to make-up for his past mistakes while trying to fit into a new school. I enjoyed that this book was written from Aurora and Lucius's alternating viewpoint which provided insight to how each character felt about being at a new school and ultimately how their feelings for one another progressed as the story went along. Lauren did a great job in having readers connect with the characters through their views on high school popularity and family. Crazy Beautiful was a quick and enjoyable read with only 187pgs and by the end of the book, I only wished there was more. I would have loved to see more of Aurora and Lucius outside of the school setting. I look forward to reading more of Lauren's work.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
This book had me hooked right from the first sentence. All cheesy jokes aside, I devoured this book in one sitting. Could not stop reading, had to keep turning the page. CRAZY BEAUTIFUL is an all-too-familiar lesson in cliques and high school cruelty, but it is one everyone must learn. Jealousy among girl "friends". Rumor spreading that is turned on you. Sticking up for yourself and others against a bully. The one catch? Lucius does it all with hooks for hands. It was fascinating to read (and then think) about life without hands. How normal, every-day things are completely taken for granted until you find yourself unable to perform them anymore. Plus, the super sweet relationship between Lucius and Aurora will make you say "awwwwwww". With alternating chapters between Lucius and Aurora's point-of-view, the plot is able to go deeper and show you the thoughts and emotions from both important characters. Lauren Baratz-Logsted will have you believing in the power of love at first sight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bbbbbbbbbbbbeeeeeeeeessssstttttttt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! I like the storyline and the growth of the characters. The only part I wish was different was the ending. It seemed abrupt and needed an epilogue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book! Totally worth the time!! At first it seemed kinda boring but I really loved it!!! I read it for my summer reading assignment because it has an amazing meaning behind it!!!! Take the time time to read it!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is lovely without to mamy nasty makeout scenes, it also thankfully lacks most of the annoying stereotypical chessy teen novels!very good, i would say buy it!
Group1Nook 157 More than 1 year ago
I really liked it :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago