Ellie Summerfield has everything a girl could want–she’s beautiful, she’s Senior Class President, has a calendar full of social engagements, volunteer commitments, and church activities. In short, she’s perfect, according to most of the students at West Redding High School. But something is bothering Ellie, like a loose string on a dress she can feel but can’t see. Does she really love her boyfriend, Ryan? Who are her true friends? And is she really happy in her picture-perfect life?
Then in the course of a few minutes, the loose string in Ellie’s life completely unravels. Forever changed, she must face herself as she discovers what it really means to be beautiful.
Ellie is that girl. You know the one I mean: the one with the hot boyfriend; the one with the flawless grades; the one that everyone admires; the one that is most likely to succeed in life. There’s one in every school, and although you’d love to hate her, there just isn’t anything about her to hate.
But then something happens, something bad. Ellie and her friend Stasia are involved in a car accident. Ellie suffers a lot of injuries and winds up in the hospital with severe burns to one side of her body.
Stasia doesn’t even make it out of the car alive.
The doctors assure Ellie, that after a few years and a whole lot of surgery, that she’ll recover and the scarring will almost definitely disappear. But a few years is a long time to walk through life looking like a mutant, and suddenly Ellie decides there is plenty about herself that’s worthy of hating.
In a fit of depression, she cuts herself off from her friends. Every single one of them, including her boyfriend, Ryan. She’s no longer beautiful, so what’s even the point?
Ellie spirals further and further into a pool of depression and self-pity until one day, an old friend from way back in her past, someone that she sees as imperfect and flawed in his own way, walks back into her life.
Will has always had a crush on Ellie, even when they were little kids, and nothing has changed now. Just because her face isn’t the same as it used to be, doesn’t make her any less beautiful, in his eyes. For Will, beauty isn’t something that’s just on the outside. For Will, beauty comes from within.
Will he be able to save Ellie before she hits the bottom of the barrel? You’ll have to read for yourself to find out.
Although Ellie’s horrible self-pity was hard to endure, it was not unrealistic. As a character, I found the way she responded to the events and issues thrown at her to be very believable. I felt sorry for Ryan and her friends when Ellie simply cast them aside, but I never once thought that she was being unfair, or that her character was unrealistic.
Of all the characters within Beautiful, I admired Will and Ryan the most. Although Ellie pushed Ryan away with everything she had, he never stopped loving her, and just like Will, believed that her beauty went far deeper than the scars on her face.
A solid read that I’m sure the girls will love.
Publication Date: 2009