Wednesday 12 March 2014

Book Review - Searching For Beautiful

Searching for Beautiful
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Genres: Contemporary | Young Adult, New Adult
Release Date: 4th March 2014
Publishers: Entangled: Teen
No. Pages: 304
Source: Review Copy - Entangled Teen
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Before it happened..
Brynn had a group of best friends, a boyfriend who loved her, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And then…she had none.

After it happened..
Everything was lost. The boy she now knew never loved her. The friends who felt she betrayed their trust. The new life just beginning to grow inside her. Brynn believes her future is as empty as her body until Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again.. sort of. But letting someone in isn't as easy as it seems.

Can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

My relationship with Searching for Beautiful was quite a bumpy one; at first, I disliked this book hugely, rendering the book a waste of my time, my spirit and generally a waste of paper; it's completely besides the point that I read this on my laptop, yet once I'd gotten myself through the first third with quite a big shove, I found myself invested, intrigued and most all, connected to the leading lady Brynn. After having spent around twelve chapters annoyed with her voice, her attitudes and her whiney character in itself, I could relate to her and an unbelievable amount of ways, physically, mentally and emotionally. Searching for Beautiful definitely turned out to be something I never expected.

The first third of this book consisted of the main character, essentially, having about a million- okay, maybe not a million, around five different, difficult, tough subjects in today's society thrown at her; it's not really a spoiler if you can take hints from the synopsis, but teenage pregnancy isn't exactly on the lower side of the scale right now, and I seriously wish this subject had had more coverage in the story, I mean, it was mentioned, and covered to an extent, but overall, I think this subject could have been featured much more. The other really big features which are, kind of spoilerish were also covered well, in some cases, better than I've seen it covered before and I have to commend Nyrae Dawn on that; it takes  a good author to take a tough subject and delve in deep, but to take numerous and blend them so easily into one another, takes a very very good author, maybe even a great one. On an enjoyment level, the first third was quite, well, distressing, uninteresting, not very well written and generally quite boring. I was quite close to throwing in the towel at this point, but something kept me glued, and I personally think it was the characters development.

Brynn, as a main character and the main voice of the story was at first naive, immature, quite annoying and a little temperamental, but with time and more pages, she grew and began to become a character I could enjoy listening to and hearing from; it was almost pleasant to hear about her stories, past and present, even if the switching from now and then was sometimes a little chaotic and some things were seriously not relevant, and by the time I had returned for the latter third, I was excited and proud of her, as if she was a real person in my life, and considering she'd started as a character I would have gladly throttled, this was an accomplishment. I found her journey and development both realistic and touching, the pain she suffered, the nightmares, the grief involved and her paranoia thoughts also rang so true to me on a personal level which I could really understand. Yes, she wasn't the strongest of characters I've ever read about, and nor was she the worst; she and most of the characters in this story were in some way affected or damaged by what life threw at them, or in some ways, how they reacted to what life threw at them. I also especially liked the aspect and feature of parents who weren't AWOL, I seriously respected that. Only too often do you find parents who have vanished off the face of the earth, or who don't take an interest in somebody's life, or who only thinks of themselves, yet the parents in this story don't, especially Brenda; she was the support network that Brynn needed to help her find her feet, and even though it seemed Brynn's Father was AWOL, he wasn't, he was the outsider needed to help Brynn on the inside. It'd be practically impossible to not mention Christian too; brave, charismatic and stubbornly sarcastic, he was the fresh breath of air I, Brynn and everyone in this story needed, the calm in the storm.

There were things I didn't quite find appealing in this story though, or gel with, those being the constant use of 'love', although it is a big feature in this story, the switching from past to present and how selfish Brynn was on occasion, but I'm guilty of that myself. On the love aspect, I get that how Brynn felt about Jason was a huge part of this story, it stemmed into her getting hurt, struggling to trust people and let them in again, yet it was milked almost too much, so much I ranted in my notes: 'excuse me love, no, you just like him, lets not get ahead of yourself here, you've already thrown your 'love' at someone keep a hold of yourself a little bit', but on a personal level, I could so understand having a crush on Christian, I think I developed one myself. The switching from past to present, I admit, was okay near the end, it cleared up questions and helped me close doors onto subjects in the story, but during the beginning, it really affected how attached I was to the characters, and when you're trying to connect to whiney, mopey and very annoying character, you want a helping hand; this wasn't that hand of help.

Searching for Beautiful is a story of grief, of misplaced trust and pushing people away in a time of need, feeling like you have to be something or someone else for someone else, losing yourself, who you used to be, and not knowing where to start to get it back and I can relate to that, in a deep, hard hitting way I can relate to that, and I'm really glad I gave this book a shot and carried on with it, because within the sadness and the memories, I could see it, Brynn, growing, becoming someone else, her old self, the little things, the smiles, the memories, the positivity, it all became so powerful and so, overwhelming, I just couldn't help it. Okay, so the cover isn't brilliant, the model is nothing like Brynn, and the romance is heavy and the heavy subjects are weighty, but in the end, finding yourself and the beauty inside of you, that's what this story is about. You're worth more than that cheesy pick up line, you're better than those people who talk trash about you. Not everything is your fault, and you're not the reason behind every bad thing that's ever happen to you. If there's a moral I would take from this book it's this; sometimes, your biggest enemy is your biggest fear, but you can only be of help to others if you first help yourself.


  1. I wasn't a fan of this book at first either, but as it progressed I became so invested in the story and ended up really enjoying it! Great review, thanks for sharing!

    1. It's definitely one of those books that improves with time isn't it? Thank you for stopping by! :)

  2. I love Nyrae Dawn (Charade!) but I'm still not sure if I want to read this book. Maybe I'll just go back and reread my favorites of hers instead.

    1. I didn't know she'd written any other books! I seriously need to check out some of her other work if I can, if you like them, chances are I will too :)


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