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Crazy Beautiful Hardcover – September 7, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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
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" . . . 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


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547223072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547223070
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was an independent bookseller and buyer for 11 years before deciding to take a chance on myself as a novelist. While trying to sell my books, I worked variously as a Publishers Weekly reviewer, a freelance editor, a sort-of librarian, and a window washer. My first novel, The Thin Pink Line, about a woman who fakes an entire pregnancy, was published by Red Dress Ink in 2003 as their own first-ever hardcover. It was published in 11 countries and was the first book from any Harlequin imprint ever to receive a starred Kirkus review. I've since had over 20 books published for adults (Vertigo), teens (The Twin's Daughter) and children (The Sisters 8 series, created with my husband and daughter). Recently, I've published a few ebooks as well, including a comedic romance for adults, The Bro-Magnet. I live in Danbury, CT, with my wonderful husband Greg and my equally wonderful daughter Jackie.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer P. on August 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
For me, a romance needs to work--and be realistic--when the two main characters INTERACT with each other. Lucius and Aurora hardly interact at all. She feels sorry for him; he idolizes her. They have dinner together once and it seems Aurora and her father do all the talking. And the whole Gallowglass thing had me rolling my eyes so vigorously, I thought I'd sprain them.

Aurora's character is very simplistic. She's sweet to everyone whether they are sweet back or not because her mother told her to be. Lucius is just plain confusing. Why (SPOILER!!!!) would he want to do harm? Because his dad never played football with him? Please give me a break.

This book is inoffensive, for the most part, but really lacking in any character development or realistic dialogue, scenes, plot development--you name it. The characters are only 15, yet (Lucius, in particular) they speak so very formally. I realize this is supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but if you retell a story in a modern setting, I think the characters should reflect that setting. The ending is incredibly abrupt and the whole story is less than 200 pages long. Many books I've read have hardly even gotten into the heart of the story by the 200th page.

If you still have to read this, check it out from your local library. Really the only thing I found mildly interesting was the book's cover under the dust jacket--a violent pink that was far more vibrant than anything within the pages. For a MUCH better retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, pick up Alex Flinn's "Beastly". Now THAT is an awesome book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kristin on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Crazy Beautiful, Lauren Baratz-Logsted revisits Beauty and the Beast, adapting this tale of love and transformation to a present-day setting. First meet the Beast, Lucius, who lost his hands in an explosion of his own doing. As an act of self-punishment and to keep others at a distance, Lucius chooses to live with hooks rather than prosthetic hands. Now meet Aurora, absolutely radiant, not to mention talented, but unhappy after losing her mother. Both new kids at school, they go in different directions: Lucius becomes a brooding loner while Aurora's beauty and clothing instantly attract the popular crowd. Nevertheless, small waves and smiles exchanged between the two quickly add up as Lucius realizes that not even his hooks will scare Aurora away. Together, they learn how to forgive, accept, and love.

To start, the cover of Crazy Beautiful is to die for. The stark contrast of the black and white, the unique font, and the smoke give the cover an edgy look that will instantly attract young adults. This fairy tale retelling is fast-paced, with short, to-the-point chapters. Unlike the original tale, the weight of the story is told from Lucius's point of view. Still, the chapters alternate perspectives, providing the reader with insight from both sides of various situations. Crazy Beautiful is full of raw emotion, as both narrators reveal their fears and insecurities, just like those any teenager tries to hide. Lauren Baratz-Logsted adds a nice touch by complicating the story with the high school's production Grease and Jessup's role as a parallel to Gaston. Though I couldn't pull myself away from this book, I found that the climax resolved itself too quickly. As a result, the end conflict was rather anticlimactic and difficult to believe. Overall, Crazy Beautiful is a well-done modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast that will captivate its readers. 8 of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paulskiy2k on June 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
Finally getting around to writing this post. Book has been done for weeks. Been meaning to write this review, but now after these past three weeks I still don't like the book. Sure Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted had a great concept that hasn't been written about. No, one ever has had a character like Lucius, who blew off his arm in an experiment. What was the experiment? Don't know wasn't told. It was just explosive and a part of him wanted it to be worse than it was. Why did he want that? Don't know. What was this great beauty that was so crazy? Apparently it was just Aurora and how she liked him. Sure that could be really sweet. To me though I feel like since this had to do with something so tragic such has having a guy blow up his arms, I feel like it should be more powerful. I don't want to give anything away, but I feel like the book in general and the ending could have been more powerful. I want author to go back and rewrite it and make it longer. Go into more about the characters relationships with their family members. What made them do what they did. You see a glimpse of this, but I believe not enough.

The ending sure it was cute, I'll give her that, but it was very weak. Not going to say what it was, I will say though it was about 3o words or less. Not really sure. It was short, to short. It rushed through the climax, I was hoping then at least the ending would give you more closer. It just went, yea it over! Pretty lame in my opinion. But, it was good enough for me to finish, so at least it had the cuteness factor.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kate B. VINE VOICE on November 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Crazy Beautiful has one of the most interesting twists on the tale of Beauty and the Beast that I have ever read. And to be honest, if I did not know that this was suppose to be a retelling, I would have never made the connection between the two tales. The novel was very well paced, and highly creative. Told in alternating points of view, the reader really gets to know each character, and it makes the romantic aspect that much more special. There is an emotional connection with the characters possible for the readers, which I find can be quite rare. Throughout the novel, I found myself cheering them on, and wanting things to ultimately work out for the best.

My only complaint about the novel is how realistic Baratz-Logsted tried to make the male perspective. For the most part, there was no doubt that she got Lucius figured out. His narration sounds like some thing a male would say. His actions were that of many males I know. Yet, there were a few scenes that I felt could have been left out completely. I felt like they had no real purpose besides the author trying to convince her readers that she understands the male mind. While not completely distasteful, I just did not see the point to them.

Due to a few questionable scenes, I would not recommend this novel to anyone maybe less than 14 years old. While they do not take away from the novel, I think that some parents might not approve of their children reading that material until they are a bit older to understand it. Despite a few issues, I really liked the novel. It was incredibly creative. I loved Aurora's character, and I felt like Lucius had a lot of redeeming qualities. I think that for a mature reader, this a great retelling that can be read and again.
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