Book Review: Beauty by Nancy Ohlin

Author: Nancy Ohlin
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Retelling/Fantasy
Released: May 7th 2013
Review Source: Simon Pulse
Available: Amazon

Summary: (from goodreads) Looks to kill for...
Ana is nothing like her glamorous mother, Queen Veda, whose hair is black as ravens and whose lips are red as roses. Alas, Queen Veda loathes anyone whose beauty dares to rival her own—including her daughter.

And despite Ana’s attempts to be plain to earn her mother’s affection,
she’s sent away to the kingdom’s exclusive boarding school.

At the Academy, Ana is devastated when her only friend abandons her for the popular girls. Isolated and alone, Ana resolves to look like a true princess to earn the acceptance she desires.

But when she uncovers the dangerous secret that makes all of the girls at the Academy so gorgeous, just how far will Ana go to fit in?

In this re-telling tale of Snow White being beautiful is quite dangerous. Nancy Ohlin takes a classic fairy tale and completely makes it her own. We see Queen Veda and Ana's mother/daughter relationship throughout the book. All her majesty wants is to be the fairest of them all and all Ana wants is her mother's love. And in order to have her mother's love and approval she has to be ugly. So she doesn't bathe, eats unhealthy and doesn't take time to groom herself properly. But the beauty consultant still says that Ana will surpass the queen. So Queen Veda fabricates an elite school to where she invites the most beautiful girls. And it seems as though their beauty is only enhancing. The question is, will Ana cave in?

It has been quite a long time since I've read a book written in third person. I had to get into the groove for the first few pages. I did like Ana's character very much. Especially in the second half where she stands her ground and doesn't budge on certain issues. All the characters were neatly developed. There was only one character I disliked and that was the beauty consultant. He was very strange and I wish I had more background on him. But other than that I enjoyed this story and it's underlying message. Having beauty isn't everything, it could destroy you.

I love Ohlin's take on this classic tale. It is very different from what I've grown to know, yet similar in certain aspects. Completely re-telling a story that has been told time and time again and making it your own, I believe, is a difficult task. Nancy Ohlin has excelled! It was a fast paced read. And by fast-paced I mean it will keep you very intrigued and anxious for what is to come.

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