PJV’s Quickie POV: Beautiful Creatures paints a captivating picture of young love and heart-break that had me engrossed from the beginning. The tone is rich and wet and full of southern elegance. While not the best YA novel I’ve read all year, it did live up to the hype. Very much enjoyed this book and you definitely should mark this as a must read if you haven’t already.
Review: Ethan Wate is stuck in a world that he desperately wants to be rid of. The world is Gaitlan, small-town, small-minded Gaitlan. Where he has been put in a box, a box where you have to date this sort of girl, you have to play this sort of sport and you have to think these sort of thoughts – or else.
Ethan can’t wait to leave, he can’t wait to break out of his little Gaitlan box and head to college, yet in the 2 years he has before college he knows he has to play the game – or else. That is of course, until a new girl comes to his small town and breaks down Ethan’s little box with a bang.
Lena Duchannes does not fit in at all. Everything about her screams different, but Ethan can’t help himself, he is drawn to Lena and he believes the feeling is mutual. His classmates and what he thought were his friends do not feel the same way as Ethan. Lena is different, Lena is weird, Lena is not right for Gaitlin. Ethan, doesn’t care, he knows one thing – he belongs with Lena and he will give up everything and anything to belong to her. Just how much will he be asked to give up though???
The tone of the book is very rich and descriptive. I have to say that was the best part of the book. Descriptions were heavy and real. The entire novel breathed southern depth, reading this book I could almost taste the humidity the tone was so well brought to life. The love development was well-done, not one of the best I’ve read, but I could empathize with the emotional struggle. Characters were wonderful, even the secondary characters had rich development that had me enjoying their plights. The plot was compelling and original. Some side plots were dropped but nothing that was so obvious.
My only dislikes about this novel was that it might have been a bit much at times. When I read heavily descriptive novels sometimes I have to skim through the scenes, which I found myself doing in the middle of the novel, so some of that could have been left out and still maintained the integrity of the book. Some of the plot was also predictable, I had the “bad-guy” pegged early on. I also found all the secrecy very frustrating, I mean why would they lie to Lena sooo much?
The stereo-typing in this novel was also very frustrating. The novel oozed a message of closed-minded intolerance, but I think it was a testament to a reverse message of intolerance to small town southern conservatives. I believe yes, small towns can be a little behind in forward thinking, but I don’t believe that in general they are as intolerant as they were portrayed in this book. The good guys were the liberal minded youth – the bad guys the religious conservatives, in life it is never that black and white.
Recommendations: I would pass this on to teens and adults. The story has an innocence to it that is suitable for young teens, yet it has a depth that adults will enjoy.