Contemporary, YA Fiction

Ugly by Margaret McHeyzer

I feel like I have been suffocating under the pressure of exams because I have literally had no breathing room for two whole weeks! Being in my last year of school has made me extremely tense because I have no guarantees for what I am going to be doing in my future and the only thing that seems to make me happy is escaping into books. I was given this novel to read as an advanced copy but this novel is already published and out there for your perusal. So, here is my review:

Lily cannot remember the last time she was happy. Her father hates her and her mother is dead. Every day, she is told that she is ugly and useless and stupid beyond belief. It doesn’t help that she has no friends at school. Life is all about just trying to get by and survive for another day without getting beaten by her father. But one day Lily is approached by a handsome young student named Trent at a bus stop. And he seems to see something wonderful in her, something that makes her feel beautiful and wanted and ALIVE. Lily cannot believe that someone like Trent could ever be interested in her and is happier than ever… but is there more to Trent’s interest in her than what meets the eye?

When I first began reading this novel, I found it to be extremely sad and graphic in its depictions of the abuse that Lily endures. It was compelling and disturbing and heart-breaking to read and I had to put the novel down a few times. The character of Trent was introduced quite quickly and although I was first very happy to have him be a part of Lily’s life, there were enough hints for me to realize that he was not a good addition to it (SPOILER ALERT: he’s a bad guy!).

The second half of the story is where I found myself really not getting into the novel. There was a lot of cringe-worthy cheesy plot movements and it was just a bit too easy for everything to go Lily’s way. Suddenly, there are a whole host of amazing people in her life who do ridiculous amounts of good work for her. And she is doing better than okay, and is really moving on and happy and all of that other good stuff. On the one hand, I was cheering for Lily’s happiness, especially after all of the trauma that was described in the first half. On the other hand, why did it have to be so unrealistically cheerful and positive? It almost seemed to ruin the whole seriousness of abuse that was poignant in the beginning. This book started off with a lot of potential but it lost the mark for me with its cheesiness. However, I will say that when I finished the novel, I felt inspired to grab life by the horns and be more grateful. So… I guess there was something positive that came out of the novel!

If you still decide to give this novel a shot, do remember that it is out already and available to read at any time!

Happy reading ~

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