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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

Currently reading

Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci

Crazy Beautiful

Crazy Beautiful - Lauren Baratz-Logsted If there are few YA books with black, Hispanic or Asian protagonists, and even fewer with gay protagonists, the disabled barely make an appearance. I don't mean Nora-I'm-aenemic-so-that's-why-I'm-pale Gray, or Dice-my-psychic-powers-were-diagnosed-as-rare-epilepsy. I mean people who have actually lost something and have learned to deal with it.So when I heard the basic premise of Crazy Beautiful, I was hooked... pun not intended. I really wanted to see how the author worked with such a serious issue, and wanted to see how the love story would turn out. And while I was reading it, it was fantastic. I couldn't put it down. Aurora and Lucius were lovely characters, and I liked how mature for their ages they were.So why is it that when I put the book down, I felt like I'd been ripped off (pun not intended...again)? The following is me trying to take Anila's approach and enter a conversation with the book:Me: Ok, so I'm done reading. What did I get from this experience?Book: Aurora and Lucius are finally together! Their love conquered prejudice and painful past experiences and they will be loved and accepted by all!Me: O-kay... why?Book: ?Me: Why are they accepted?Book: Because Lucius proved to everyone how bad Jessup is and how fake the popular clique is and how loners are actually awesome!Me: Fine, the populars are bad. But what about Lucius?Book: ??Me: He blew his hands up in an attempt to make a bomb which he wanted to have in case he wanted to blow his old school up. Shouldn't he... I don't know... try to explain to Aurora? Show her that he's a different person? That he learned from his mistakes and will not go down that road again?Book: But he did! In his monologue! Just before he showed how bad Jessup is and kicks ass!Me: He showed it to us, the readers. Not to Aurora, the girl he supposedly loves.Book: Isn't it self-explicatory that he's changed, because he helps Aurora's dad?Me: If he loves Aurora, wouldn't he want to help her dad no matter what his inclination is? In fact, isn't this what anyone with a drop of decency would do if they discovered what Lucius did? Try and make things right? Book: ...Me: Now that I think of it, why are Lucius and Aurora in love? Book *releived we're back to familiar territory*: Because Aurora is beautiful and kind and compassionate and patient and unprejudiced and Lucius is flawed and crippled and repenant - just enough to be putty in her hands, so she can fix him!Me: ...Fair enough. But why are they IN love? I mean, do they actually spend a lot of time getting to know each other? Do they have common interests? Are they shown doing anything significant together, working as a team, building trust? No - they don't. And when their love is put to the test, it crumbles like a house of sticks!Book: But they fell in love at first sight...Me: AAAAARGH!So yeah, my problem with this book just stems from the fact that authors can't distinguish between love and lust. Now, don't get me wrong - lust at first sight is great, too. I love lust at first sight. I bet it would make a great premise for a novel (or a play, see: Romeo and Juliet )Ok, I'm not being fair - the book takes place in the span of a few months. Clearly, Aurora and Lucius had had plenty of time to get to know each other. However, they are barely shown having an actual character-to-character interaction - sure, they think about each other a lot, and obsess about each other a lot, and go behind the other's back a lot, but there is barely any actual conversation going on between them. For all I know, Aurora could have just ben attracted to Lucius because him being emotionally damaged gives her the upper hand in the relationship. Of course, this isn't all there is to the book. In fact, it's really well-written, and it has some really valuable life lessons in it. I just wish it would focus less on the lessons and more on the story. I mean, that's what the entire point of writing is - to deliver the story and let the reader draw his own conclusions from it. Otherwise, it just gets confusing.