Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

Published: June 14th, 2011
Publisher: MTV Books
Rating: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

How can you make someone love you when they won’t?
And what if that person happens to be your mother?
Sayre Bellavia grew up knowing she was a mistake: unplanned and unwanted. At five months shy of eighteen, she’s become an expert in loneliness, heartache, and neglect. Her whole life she’s been cursed, used, and left behind. Swallowed a thousand tears and ignored a thousand deliberate cruelties. Sayre’s stuck by her mother through hell, tried to help her, be near her, be important to her even as her mother slipped away into a violent haze of addiction, destroying the only chance Sayre ever had for a real family.
Now her mother is lying in a hospital bed, near death, ravaged by her own destructive behavior. And as Sayre fights her way to her mother’s bedside, she is terrified but determined to get the answer to a question no one should ever have to ask: Did my mother ever really love me? And what will Sayre do if the answer is yes?

**This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). The final text/cover may be different.**

Wow. Just...WOW.

I've heard of Laura Wiess' other book Such a Pretty Girl but never any other book by her. I have to repeat myself. W-O-W. This book was so richly detailed and horrifyingly beautiful. It's so painful to read, but I HAD to find out what happens to Sayre in the end– and the ultimate question: did her mother ever really love her? Through flashbacks and a journey to the hospital comes the story of her childhood and all the secrets, lies and abuse.

This book touched several delicate topics, the biggest is the one which lands Sayre's mom in the hospital: drug and alcohol addiction. It's pretty scary to see what Sayre has been through since she was a small girl and how it torments her to this day forth. Every chapter alternates from present to past and back to present, as she makes her way to the hospital. I found it a little slow in the beginning, but I was SO glad I didn't stop reading!
Sayre's character shows a strong, independent girl who just wants love, which she never received her whole life. She had to deal with her mom and her mom's horrible best friend (who ACTUALLY tried to kill her!), moving around, child abuse, being exploited to drugs and alcohol and trying to find a way to fit in and go with it. I feel so sad for her! She's such a brilliant character who shows the realistic side to life and what it's really like for someone who's been pushed around by family and never loved.

There are a few happy moments for our heroine in this book a few times, like the foster family, when her mom meets someone which Sayre actually likes and stuff like that, but then things don't always turn out to be like that. I love how there's the constant theme of hope throughout the novel, and that we can't give up on her story, and need to hear it out. It's really sad how those who show affection to Sayre end up going away in the end. This girl sees no end to the misery! :(
I really find that Ordinary Beauty looks at the hardships of teens in broken homes (ie. the product of Teen Pregnancy) very effective, as it brings more personal tones to readers and what really happens out there in this big world. Every character really adds up to the setting and mood of the story (HATE HATE HATE the mom) and it's just so dreadful how it can all actually happen.

Ordinary Beauty is a story for those who've suffered through alcoholic family members, substance abuse, child abuse, and any other sort of pain. Realistically terrifying and sparklingly hopeful, Laura Wiess is DEFINITELY an author I would love to read more of.

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1 comment:

  1. Great review! This book sounds amazing. I am adding it to my TBR list now.


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