Sunday, 2 March 2014

Review: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn

Title: Searching for Beautiful
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Release date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format: eARC
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.

When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.

But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

Searching for Beautiful is the second YA book I've read by Nyrae Dawn, the first being Out of Play (co-written with Jolene Perry). And I've got to say that Nyrae writes some great protagonists. They're clearly flawed in some ways, but they have a great inner strength. Which is what I saw in this book with Brynn.

Brynn's boyfriend Jason isn't the amazing guy she thought he was, and after she tells him she's pregnant, he totally blows up and tells her to 'get rid of it'. Brynn's obviously in a very panicked and confused state, and the fact that she's only sixteen makes her even more vulnerable in her situation. Brynn is ostracized at school, and even her father is distrustful of her. Her life is quickly spiraling down. But when Christian, an old friend she used to know, moves back to town next door to her, she begins to find something inside her worth being proud of.

At first, Brynn seems really weak and spineless. She's made stupid decisions regarding Jason, and even after everything that happens, she doesn't seem to have learned from her mistakes. I was actually surprised to find myself liking her later! But she does step up, and her character develops a lot over the course of the book. I was definitely rooting for her towards the end.

I loved Christian, of course. He's very easy-going, and he's an incredible pillar for Brynn to lean on when she's going through the worst times of her life. He brings the life back to her. I loved seeing them slowly become friends again after the years apart, and then something more. There are a lot of clichés in this book though, especially regarding the romance. They're hard to ignore, but Christian was so adorable that I decided to overlook them.

The romance is slow in developing, because Brynn doesn't want to give her heart to someone so easily after Jason. But it's worth the wait. Though you'll definitely feel the frustration I felt whenever they were about to get somewhere!

Regarding Brynn's friends, there are some good ones and some bad ones. Mostly bad ones. I hated her friends from school - you can't even call them that. They completely ditch her after the Jason incident, and though everyone can see she's having a hard time, her supposed friends treat her like crap and ignore her. Honestly, I would've said good riddance and I can't believe she tries to give them a chance. I really did like a friend she made at the centre she goes to, though - Emery. She's been through a lot, just like Brynn. But way more broken. Basically, there's a lot of growth in both of their characters by the end of the book.

For the most part, this book didn't really speak to me too much, and I didn't connect to the story very well. But I did enjoy reading it, and it has a great message. I guess the flawed nature Brynn demonstrates just shows us that everyone has it in them to take control of their life no matter what.

So if you're into YA contemporary and Nyrae's writing, you should definitely check this one out. But even if you don't necessarily like much YA contemporary like me, you might still want to give this a chance. Despite a lack of originality and some heavy content, Searching for Beautiful is worth picking up.

*Thank you to Cameron at Entangled Publishing for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5


  1. I also got this from the publisher and it would be my first Nyrae Dawn book. Now I want to read one of her "best" first because I want to love her writing and this might not do it. But I have faith since you enjoyed it. Although I don't think I can read it before the pub date. Sigh. Thanks for the comprehensive review, Richa!

  2. I'm going to be reading this book soon, and your review has lowered my expectations a little, but I hope I can connect to the characters, because I've been struggling with that lately.. still, great review Richa :D


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