Sophomore year at Dutchess College has just begun, and Nicole is still haunted by memories of her first love. She takes solace in running—pushing herself to go harder, faster, to be the best. So when Nico runs into the maddeningly elusive Justin, she’s convinced she’s found the guy to make her forget her ex—despite the warnings of her friends and her straight-edged running partner, Henry.
But when Nico is attacked in the woods after a wild night of partying, everything changes. Suddenly, Nico begins receiving anonymous threats, and she no longer knows where to turn for help—or whether even her close friends can be trusted.
All she wants is to be one of the beautiful girls—the ones who never have to chase perfection. But in order to uncover the truth, she’ll have to face a past she had hoped to leave behind forever. She thought she could outrun the darkness, but darkness has a way of catching up…
With echoes of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Rebecca Donovan's Breathing series, Beautiful Girl is a romantic and thought-provoking mystery perfect for readers of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls and J.Lynn's Wait for You. This book contains mature topics including sex, drug use, and strong language. Recommended for ages 17+
4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Teen
Nicole is starting her sophomore year at college trying to keep herself together. She has not binged/purged in 4 months, despite her urge to do so. She joined the track team to keep her in shape and give her a goal to strive for. She is also trying to stay away from her old life filled with partying, cocaine and her hurtful ex-boyfriend. One night on the way home from a party, she is attacked and almost killed. She doesn’t tell anyone, but then she is left threatening messages and being watched. She does not know who or why someone is after her, but it feels likes she can’t trust anyone.
So I started reading Beautiful Girl without remembering what the plot was suppose to be about, so I had no real idea what I was going to be reading. What I got was a book about a severely damaged girl trying not to drown while away at college while some crazy attacked her and she is now being stalked. This was a mess of a book, but in a really good way. I was intrigued by everything that happened, so wrapped up in her world and how she viewed everything, including herself. The book is very dark and full of awful topics such as rape, drugs, abuse, eating disorders, mental disorders and hard choices. It was hard to read about, but a good read with a really compelling character.
Nicole has some serious problems, but man I rooted for her. Every set back and poor choice made me cringe for her and worry. I wanted her to become a healthy person with a normal body image, I wanted her to find a boyfriend who would be good for her not the druggie she was hooked on, I wanted her to make her running goal, I wanted her to get into the writing program. The author had a way of sucking me into Nicole’s life so much so that I became invested in her. There were a few times when she did stupid things like drugs, and I wanted to smack it out of her hands or do an intervention. I found Nicole to be a very nice compassionate person who wanted to help others but could not help herself.
I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story also. There were so many freaking characters in the book, all who had something shady or a misgiving to put them into my potential suspect category. Seriously, almost every minor character I suspected at one point of being Nicole’s attacker. I became almost as jumpy as Nicole was while I was reading, flinching at sounds around me, increasing paranoia. This is the kind of thriller/mystery I really enjoy because this is real life stuff, regular people become unhinged and do stupid things. Moral of the story, people are scary. By half way through the book I was convinced that I knew who the stalker was and exactly what would happen. Well, let me tell you that I was wrong. Nicole and I both were completely convinced as to who was stalking her (I came to the conclusion soon than Nicole, but we still ended up in the same place) but we came to the wrong person. The stalker was someone I never even expected and mainly that is because I could not find a motive for said person. Even when the story ended, I was still not sure why they attacked Nicole. It made no sense to me, but it was well executed anyway.
I really enjoyed the story, even the dark parts, and I will most certainly read more form this author in the future.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange from my honest review