I picked up Beautiful by Christina Lauren for $6.00 at my local bookstore. For that little money, I wouldn’t have minded if the book was a 3-star, or even a 2-star, read. Imagine my joy and surprise when I realized very early into the novel that I would have to give it 5 stars.
I have to digress for a moment here to say that my rating system for books has become very emotional in recent years. Some people have a strict, rigid set of criteria they use to rate books (my best friend, CV, has one of these and I am in constant admiration of how consistent her ratings are), but I somehow can’t manage to write a list for myself. I always seem to rely on my feelings and sentiments more than anything to help me in rating a book, and I base my rating entirely on the emotions I feel, and how strongly I feel them, when I close the back cover. Some books make me feel giddy and elated and like I can’t imagine ever feeling that excited about a book again…those are the 5-star reads. Some books leave me annoyed and frustrated and like I want to shove the character into a wall…those are the 2-star reads. And as for the novels I feel pretty indifferent towards or just don’t feel all that passionately about…those fall somewhere in between. (Sidenote: I’ve found it nearly impossible to give a book a 1-star rating because I generally can find at least one or two redeeming qualities.) This isn’t an organized rating system by any means, because sometimes I’ll feel very strongly about a novel that maybe I know I really shouldn’t, but I do allow myself to give into sentimentality and nostalgia and the warm and fuzzies because, for me, reading is a pleasant and fun pastime more than anything, and I feel that my ratings should reflect that.
So, with all that said, Beautiful by Christina Lauren feels, in this moment, like a 5-star read to me. Is it even close to the standards of my ultimate favourite novel of all time, Jane Eyre…heck no! For Jane Eyre, I require infinite stars! But did Beautiful make my heart feel warm and occasionally bring tears to my eyes, and did it serve as the perfect companion for me over a long weekend here in Toronto…yes, ma’am! Beautiful was cheesy and cliché enough to make this Hallmark movie lover blush, but it was also strangely deep in moments, and made me hug my husband a little tighter and be even more grateful for him and for the life adventures we get to go on together, whether those involve travel or hanging out with our friends or one day having a family of our own. Not a single one of the characters in Beautiful annoyed me, and I actually felt myself wishing that I had read the other books in the series so that I could get to know some of the characters, particularly Hanna and Will, better. Beautiful made me want to pick up other books by Christina Lauren ASAP, which was a pleasant surprise considering that I was not impressed with their novel Dating You / Hating You, which I read a few months ago. What can I say? Beautiful made me smile and laugh and it found itself a spot among some of my favourite chick lit. books of all time. So for all those reasons, this very second, it’s getting 5 stars from me.
I’ll be recommending Beautiful to some of my besties for sure, because hopefully it will make them long to take a couples’ retreat as much as I do. I’ll be chatting about scenes from it to my husband for days, I’m sure, because they’ll strike me as so cute and domestic and romantic that I’ll want nothing more than to share them with him. And, probably sooner rather than later, I’ll be picking up the other novels in the Beautiful series because I just have to know how Ruby and Niall finally got together and how Hanna managed to quiet her workaholic mind long enough to fall in love with Will. All in all, I’d say my $6.00 read, which provided me with a whole load of new fictional friends, was an unequivocal success!
❥❥❥❥❥ (out of 5)
Girl with a Green Heart