Review: Ordinary Beauty

Posted 8 June, 2011 by Danny in Book Review, Kristen, Uncategorized / 20 Comments

Here’s a blurb, thanks to Gallery Books:

From the author of the critically acclaimed novels Such a Pretty Girl and Leftovers comes ORDINARY BEAUTY, the compelling story of a girl whose life has been destroyed by her mother’s drug addiction.

Seventeen year old Sayre Bellavia grew up knowing she was a mistake, unplanned and unwanted. She’s been neglected, used, and left behind. Taken away and put in foster care, then returned to her mother who, for one miraculous year, got sober, found love and became pregnant. When unspeakable tragedy struck, Sayre sacrificed all and stuck by her mother, tried to help her, be important to her even as her mother slipped away into a violent haze of addiction, revealing a heartbreaking betrayal and destroying the only real family Sayre ever had.

Broke, homeless and alone, Sayre struggles to survive and wonders if her mother has ever, even for a moment, actually loved her and if, after a lifetime of being blamed for ruining her mother’s life, she still loves the woman who hurt her so badly. Needing the truth, Sayre embarks on an urgent, terrifying journey to reach her mother, who is near death, ravaged by her own destructive behavior, and who alone holds the answer to Sayre’s desperate, unspoken question.
A haunting, beautifully written journey of a girl determined to break free from the cycle of self-destruction, and who continues to hope and search for a future—ORDINARY BEAUTY is a gripping and gritty novel that will have both teens and parents talking.

Product Details
MTV, June 14, 2011
Trade Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1439193967
ISBN-13: 9781439193969

Thank you for the ARC!!!

Greta’s review:

I adored this book! It painted a world of unspoken darkness with tiny pinpricks of hope lighting the way as we hear the life story of Sayre Bellavia, a 17 year old girl who had to grow up too soon.

This book read like a Smashing Pumpkins ballad with a Nine Inch Nails chorus and an Everclear encore. It sucks the reader in with its unforgettable characters, remarkable eye to detail, and original plot.

I will warn you, Ordinary Beauty will make you cry, it will make you gasp, and it will make you sigh with warm fuzzies. It has every little thing you could ask for.

There is a bit of romance in the book but that’s not the center of attention. The main focuses of the book are the hardships young Sayre endures in her short life watching her mother kill herself slowly with drugs and alcohol.

It’s definitely not one of your cute little lip gloss black eyeliner gothy emo-pop books. This book is real. It will make you see that the ordinary beauty of the world is not just what the blinking neon signs point to. It’s the little things in life we take for granted. The starry nights, a freshly painted room, or a flower with a weed’s name. Ordinary beauty is closing your eyes and listening to everyone breathing around you. It’s your home, your heart, the people you treasure. It’s a song you can only hum because you forgot the words. It’s not letting go of what matters and what you can remember. It’s a beautiful memory and hope for tomorrow. No matter how you try to explain it, the ordinary beauty of life will always leave you with a loss for words.

Kristen’s Review:
Greta has a knack for finding some of these awesome books. I have to be honest – it was a really hard start for me because I’m a bit of a wuss. Thankfully Greta was sending me a play by play that it will all turn out ok and the pain and suffering is so worth it. Luckily my life has been pretty darn easy, but as a former teacher I could relate a lot with Sayre because of the lives of some of my students.

It’s amazing to me, that something so real and upsetting could also result in something so beautiful. I loved the author’s back and forth past/present telling of the story. Throwing in pain with gut-wrenching detail and then leaving you completely sobbing when things would start looking up. It’s hard to not spoil the book, but really – once you hit page 40 or so things startclicking along and you cannot pull yourself away from this story.

Greta’s Bottom Line:
I loved this book! I dug every little thing about it and am happy that the Bookworms have given me a chance to spread the word about this author. She is definitely a brilliant storyteller and I can’t wait to see what she writes next. Check out my review on How It Ends too!

Kristen’s Bottom Line:
Yes – everything Greta said! I loved it! This story gripped me in a way I haven’t felt in such a long time. I even had to explain to my 6 year old why it’s ok if a book makes you cry because I was literally snot-sobbing on the couch. Life isn’t wrapped up neat in little packages. The gamut of emotions I felt while reading Sayre’s story pretty much leaves me speechless.

Greta’s Final Notes:
I am a 32 year old teenager and this is a book I would have wanted to read back when I was in my brooding years (aka – high school). It totally gets the Greta Stamp of Approval.

Kristen’s Final Notes:
Don’t be a wuss – read this book! Fall in love with this amazing girl and better yet – fall in love with this amazing writer!

Keep your eyes peeled! We will follow up this review with an interview with Laura Wiess who will send one lucky follower of our blog a signed copy of Ordinary Beauty. Isn’t Laura the coolest??

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Obsessive Reader by Night - Scientist at Day! You can also find me on goodreads. I'd love to get to know you so, don't be shy and say Hello!

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20 Responses to “Review: Ordinary Beauty”

  1. nymfaux

    Ok, LOVED the review!!!–Hadn't heard of the book, but now I *WANT* it!!!!

    2nd thing–I'm confused–Greta is that *you*?–Or is there more than one super-awesome Greta roaming the blogosphere…I suppose there very well could be…???

    Anyway–LOVED the review and will be back for more! 🙂
    My recent post Daddy Long-Legs The MOVIE

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  2. hrose2931

    I have this one pre-ordered because I'm not a wuss. Well, I am, but I'm not afraid to cry. That was the best review I've seen from the two of you ever! It was beautiful. Thanks for that image of the "snot-sobbing" I'll remember not to take this one to the out to read so people won't think I really am crazy!! This is an at home read. All the boys will come in to check on me. They're sweet like that.

    Heather, not from your blog
    My recent post IMM I Need to Stop the Madness!!!!

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  3. Laura Wiess

    Hi guys, it's me, Laura. I wanted to thank you, and to tell you that this review knocked my socks off, and I'm not kidding. I read it, immediately called my family and read it to them. Ah, the celebrating! And never mind the book, they're in awe of the reviewers! A very deep curtsy to Kristen and Greta. I'm so glad you enjoyed Ordinary Beauty, and How It Ends.

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  4. Oh my! Heart Attack! Thanks so much for checking us out and commenting! It's so fun to read a great book and not only LOVE it, but LOVE the author! Can't wait for your next one – and give me a holler if you're around for a signing sometime!

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  5. Greta is Erikasbuddy

    Squee to the squees! I'm so curious what you next book will be. Thanks for giving us a chance to read your latest and greatest early… And REMEMBER… 'Greta' is always a fabulous name to use for an extra awesome character… What? Too far? Kristen, quit looking at me like that 😉 .

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  6. nymfaux

    or maybe *you* are a highlander!??!!? 🙂 Awesome-sauce!–This post totally made my day–'cause not only did I love the review, and while I always love Kristen–I was super-surprised to see you guest-staring on another show!–LOVE!!!! 🙂
    My recent post Wednesdays Weekly Word

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