Title: Searching For Beautiful
Author: Nyrae Dawn
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: March 4th 2014
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review
Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.
When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.
But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?
When it comes to Nyrae’s books, I’ve come to expect certain things from them. First there is Nyrae’s brilliant writing. She has this way of telling a story in a beautiful, honest, gripping way. Next there is the characters that are realistic and flawed in the most spectacular ways. And then there is a sense of peace, hope, and happiness I get at the end of each book. She has this way of tearing your heart out throughout the course of the book but somehow manages to piece it back together by the end. Searching for Beautiful, while it may be different from any other Nyrae Dawn book I have ever read before, had all of these characteristics and so much more.
Brynn’s story is one that I think everyone should read. It will likely break your heart but regardless, it is an important message, one that Nyrae portrays beautifully. Nyrae split this story up into “Before” sections an “Now” sections so we got to see the person Brynn used to be and the way Brynn is now. Hearing about how vibrant and care-free she was when her mom was around to how lost her and her dad became after her mom’s death, then how dependent she was on Jason, a boy who had bad news written all over him but she failed to see, and finally to how broken, scared, and lonely she was when she was left without her mom, without Jason, and without anyone to rely on but herself.
Brynn’s problems only seemed to be doubling with every turn of the page and she was slowly unraveling, which is why I was so grateful when Christian entered in all of his advice-giving, friend-being, candy-chewing, guitar-playing glory. Christian was there for Brynn when it felt like no one else was. He was there to listen and give her advice when she needed it most. What I liked most about Christian was not these other great qualities he had but it was because he was not always likable. Now I know that sentence might come as a shock to you but allow me to explain. Christian can sometimes be judgmental and harsh, he sometimes says things to Brynn without thinking of how she will take it, and his temper gets in the way a few times. So why is it that I like this most about him? IT MAKES HIM REAL! I loved that Christian seemed so incredibly realistic. Guys, well people in general, don’t always say or do the right thing, they aren’t always overly kind and thoughtful but at the end of the day, a good friend tries their best to be there for someone else and this people is exactly what Christian is, a good friend to Brynn.
I also really appreciated the characters of Brenda, Christian’s mom and Emery, a girl who Brynn meets at the community center. Brenda is such a loving, kind, supportive person. This is the first person that Brynn really talks to after her life falls apart. No one could ever take the place of her mother but I think Brynn was in desperate need of a mother figure of some sort and Brenda helped fill that void. As for Emery, she was a good friend for Brynn when Brynn’s friends weren’t there for her. Like Christian, she was a flawed character but despite these flaws, she was honest and there for Brynn when Brynn needed her.
Even though Christian, Brenda, and Emery were there for Brynn, this story isn’t really about leaning on people when life gives you piles and piles of lemons. It’s more about learning to be strong, realizing you are more than your mistakes, and seeing just how amazing, beautiful, and strong you really are. This is a lesson that Brynn learns throughout the course of Searching for Beautiful with some help from these other awesome characters yes, but mostly, it is a lesson she learns on her own. This is why this book was so different from any other Nyrae book I’ve read before. Usually there is a beautiful romance involved and for this book, the romance didn’t really take the lead. It was more of a story of a girl learning to love herself, flaws, mistakes, and all.
Do you see what I mean now? Searching for Beautiful is a story we should ALL read.
If this book had a song, it would be…
This is something new I am going to try to add to all of my reviews. If I don’t do an entire playlist for a book, I am at least going to pick a song to go along with it!
Nothing Stays The Same by Luke Sital-Singh
This song is brilliant and I feel like it fits the book for many reasons. The whole heartbreaking-yet-hopeful feeling I got while reading Searching for Beautiful is the same feeling I get when I hear this song. Also, the lyrics are so fitting with the book. So much is changing for Brynn through the course of the book and the lyrics of this song definitely nail that message home.