Parents' Guide to

Beautiful

By Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Good-girl-goes-bad tale packed with adult content.

Beautiful Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 15+

EVERYTHING is Educational.

The first review of this book may be true, but the contents of the book hold much truth as well. Maybe those evangelical over-protective parents don't want their kids reading it, but there are enough people who can relate to Cassie and her story very well. If every book was written to have a positive message and avoid all evil in the world, literature in its entirety would be absolute bull. All literature, art and music are reflections of what their artists see in the world, this is why reading is important. I read this book at age sixteen, a time when I had already gone through a lot of the same situations as Cassie, and found that this book was an accurate description of what teenage life had become for my friends and I. Not quite to the same extent at thirteen, but it was comforting to read this and look back on my own experiences, and feel a little less alone and guilty about the things I'd seen and done. Those people who want to label this book inappropriate and criticize its contents are the ones who cannot understand them because they can't find a way to relate to the main character and the circumstances she gets caught up in. Those who can are both lucky and unfortunate, for they have a little more life experience and a little less innocence. Nonetheless, there will come a time in everyone's lives where there can be some value found in reading this book. With that said, all of you who will continue to bash the art that Amy Reed has created will have to admit to themselves that these things can and do happen, no matter how hard they try to convince themselves otherwise. P.S. GloryGirl, you obviously understand very little about the world. No one "made" drugs, they have been around for thousands of years. The only manufactured drugs include things like crack, meth and most pharmaceuticals.
age 14+

I think it has good messages because although the girl has to go through a lot of tough situations, she ultimitley decides to do what she thinks is right and knows that's what she should have done in the begining. Its a great book to read as a teenager, its fun and entertaining.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (20 ):

This book has been compared to Go Ask Alice, one of the first novels to graphically describe a teen's life on drugs, but BEAUTIFUL is more shocking. It's about young teens abusing all kinds of drugs under the nose of neglectful parents who range from poor to affluent, with no apparent lessons learned. The main character is smart, pretty, and middle class. It's never clear what her motivations are for choosing a dangerous lifestyle other than a desire to be "beautiful." It's hard to say what teens are supposed to take away from this book; without consequences for such self-destructive behavior this is simply a voyeuristic look into the lives of some of the other characters who do suffer great abuse. Consequently Cassie's story remains blurred.

But writer Amy Reed has style, even when her prose sounds too sophisticated and articulate for a young teen, particularly one who is disturbed. The authentic narrative voice almost never slips, and may make a story about a 13-year-old still appeal to older teens ready for a very edgy read.

Book Details

  • Author: Amy Reed
  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: October 6, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
  • Number of pages: 232
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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