During her senior year in high school Elizabeth Ryan transforms from a slightly overweight, frizzy-haired, naïve student into a striking, perfectly coifed beauty that has no problem command male attention. This lifestyle makeover gives her the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams, Aidan Mitchell, and snag the attention of Spencer Hayes.
It sounds like the setup of a perfect New Adult novel, right? Well, if you know anything about high schoolers, their lives are FAR from perfect. In BEAUTIFUL ONE Mrs. Cope gives readers an opportunity to see how parents’ choices can have a lasting effect on their children’s actions and their relationships.
BEAUTIFUL ONE asks readers to look deeply into the characters, beyond the surface love triangle.
Elizabeth (a.k.a. Liz) is a fraternal twin that spent a lot of her overweight, high school years envying her brother, Mason’s perfect relationship with her friend Melissa. They’re the type of teens that have no problem kissing in front of their friends and when Mason’s band groupies get overzealous they laugh it off because their relationship is build on love and trust. From what can be gathered from this story, Liz, Mason and Melissa come from supportive, loving families and each teen as have a strong ideal of what a healthy relationship looks like.
On the other side of the spectrum is the background of Aidan Mitchell and Spencer Hayes. Both young men are dealing with their parents’ baggage and it colors the way they handle their responsibilities and their relationships. So when you place a beautiful, shy, compassionate girl (Liz) in between them it makes for an eventful academic year.
I really enjoyed the way Mrs. Cope layered her characters. There wasn’t a clear-cut hero or a villain. I could easily tell you the reasons you should be Team Aiden or Team Spencer because both of these young men are inherently good guys. The way this novel is written makes you feel like you’re right in high school with these students. Emotions are raw and complex as they learn more about themselves and the repercussions of their choices at the close of senior year.
This novel is clean fiction that focuses on how teenagers deal with reinventing themselves, pre-martial sex, the toxicity of controlling relationships, vehicular manslaughter, and the repercussions of parental drug abuse. It also showcases how healthy relationships will push you to be a stronger person to reach your goals (i.e. conquering shyness and tackling hard subjects to improve your GPA).
Mrs. Cope created beautifully flawed characters determined to live by their own rules. She makes readers feel like they’ve stepped into the lives of the teenagers surrounding a budding Indie-Alternative California band.
Everything about this first installment was perfect. I love the relationships, the second chance, the misunderstandings, and the tender kisses. The characters are so well developed that by the end of the novel you’ll feel like you know them personally.
I’m looking forward to the other books in this series and I highly recommend BEAUTIFUL ONE for all New Adult readers.
Mary Cope is a first time author with Astraea Press. Her book, BEAUTIFUL ONE, is the first in a planned trilogy. She is currently writing the sequel, BEAUTIFUL MESS.
Mary enjoys spending time with her family, baking, listening to music and taking long walks with her yellow lab, Maggie.
You can learn more about Mary at her website, marycopeauthor.com.
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