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young adult book reviews & more

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

Ever since the death of her mother years earlier, Riley Rose has been on the fast track to self destruction, choosing to muddle her way through life with the aid of drugs, alcohol, and sex. Against her will, Riley’s father and his girlfriend Norma force her to go to Spirit Ranch, a religious prison in the middle of nowhere, as Riley sees it. Riley prepares herself to loathe the experience, the annoyingly religious campers, everything that just doesn’t fit with Riley’s personality. But Riley never expects to find the possibility of a kindred spirit, especially in Dylan Luck, a dark and sullen boy confined to a wheelchair. And then Riley realizes that she just might have faith after all, even if it’s where she least expected it.

Everything Beautiful is a beautifully written story that draws readers in with its complex and unique characters. Riley seems to play the stereotypical fat girl, drowning her woes in this substance or that, but in reality, she is so much more. Weight barely plays a role because Riley’s sarcastic yet cautious personality is larger than life, no pun intended. Readers can’t help but like Riley and hope she finds whatever she’s looking for because she’s so lovable even with some of her mean qualities. Dylan’s character is also compelling to read about, and I loved how he played the hero in the end. A big disappointment was when Spirit Ranch ended, because it is left up to the reader’s imagination if Riley and Dylan ever meet again. With quirky characters, Everything Beautiful is a sweet romance that spreads a message of faith, if not in a religious way.

Fans of Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan and All About Vee by C. Leign Purtill will fall in love with Everything Beautiful’s unforgettable main character. I hope I get a chance to read Howell’s Notes from the Teenage Underground so I can sample more of her realistic writing and well drawn characters.

Rating: 4.5

Review copy from publisher Bloomsbury USA

11 munch(es) :

Polo.Pony said...

That looks like such a good book! Wow. Thanks for the review!

Steph Su said...

Mmm, nice high rating. I wish the model on the cover looked more like Riley's character, though. There seems to be such a fear of using models that are "different" from the norm.

Liviania said...

This sounds really cool. Yeah, the girl on the cover just looks like they photoshopped a bit of a belly onto her.

stargirlreads said...

yay looks good

mfleurisca@hotmail.com said...

My children's novel below was just released about 3 weeks ago, check it out.

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I really loved this book and for some reason I don't think that Riley and Dylan ever met again.

Adele said...

I loved this book and was lucky enough to have Simmone do a reader's snapshot and interview about the book on my blog. You should definitely have a read if you have the time.

Just Listen said...

I'm so glad you liked this book! I loved it as well! :)

Em said...

Sounds good. I'll have to check it out. :)

Vanesa said...

I got so many great suggestions from you...so many great stories! I’ve read! Thanks!. Now I wonder if you have the time for any reading suggestions on a long trip…I’m going on a long fly to Europe and need some really good material to keep me going. Thanks for all the great reference. I just wish I have more time to read them all!!

Charlotte said...

I liked this one too!

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