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.