Monday, March 17, 2014

Beauty - Nancy Ohlin

Beauty Nancy Ohlin
Beauty by Nancy Ohlin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Paperback

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? (from Goodreads)

Beauty, a retelling of Snow White, is the kind of novel that can easily be read in one sitting. It’s not only because of its length (175 pages, give or take), but also because the writing is incredibly easy to read. Even though it could have used a little more development, it was still enjoyable.

The two most important Snow White characters are written into Beauty as Queen Veda and her daughter Ana. Both are incredibly beautiful people, but it is their response to their beauty that makes them different. Queen Veda does everything in her power – treatments, concoctions, massages – to stay young and beautiful, hoarding beauty like it’s her birthright. 

Ana, on the other hand, simply longs for her mother’s approval and love, and so does everything in her power to disguise her beauty – eating lots of junk, barely passing the proper levels of personal hygiene, wearing frumpy clothes. However, Ana is kind, smart and has a loving heart underneath her not-so-appealing exterior.

Initially, I preferred Queen Veda because she was interesting, even with the dark heart that lingered under her seemingly polite, beautiful countenance. But over time, Ana begins to morph into the girl she was always meant to be – confident, wise and beautiful – and it was easy to learn to like her.

In Beauty, Queen Veda is jealous of anyone said to be more beautiful than she is. In an effort to remain “fairest in the land”, she sends all the prettiest girls off to a boarding school in a remote location – including Ana. It is while she is at the boarding school that Ana finds self-acceptance, even as she learns of the danger that surrounds her and her friends.

If you know the story of Snow White, then it’s easy to see all the similarities in Beauty. Even though it plays out as it’s meant to, I still enjoyed the few things that made it a little bit different. Beauty might not be the strongest Snow White retelling I’ve read, but it’s certainly got a few twists that make it unique. If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings, or of Snow White, then you’ll probably want to check this book out.

4 comments:

  1. I am TOTALLY a fan of fairytale retellings and Beauty sounds good, like I like the idea of sending the girls to boarding schools.

    Queen Veda does sound more interesting than Ana, but for me, usually the villain is the more interesting one. I'll have to add this to my TBR stack.

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  2. This has been on my TBR forever. Glad you liked it!

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  3. I actually haven't read many Snow White retellings, but I love fairytale retellings in general so this really made me excited to read it. I'm so happy you liked it and I actually find it fun to see myself progress from liking one character to liking another more. I think it's because it shows that the 2nd character grew and changed and there always needs to be character growth!

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  4. I enjoy fairy tale retellings. Since I just finished Cress (the Rapunzel story) by Marissa Meyer, I'm really looking forward to Winter which will be her Snow White story.

    Joy's Book Blog

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