Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: My Life In Black And White

My Life In Black And White
Author: Natasha Friend
Published: June 28, 2012
294 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

What if you lost the thing that made you who you are?

Lexi has always been stunning. Her butter-colored hair and perfect features have helped her attract friends, a boyfriend, and the attention of a modeling scout. But everything changes the night Lexi's face goes through a windshield. Now she's not sure what's worse: the scars she'll have to live with forever, or what she saw going on between her best friend and her boyfriend right before the accident. With the help of her trombone-playing, defiantly uncool older sister and a guy at school recovering from his own recent trauma, Lexi learns she's much more than just a pretty face.

The concept of this book pulled me in. A girl who has grown up being cherished for her looks, being told she's beautiful, and than losing the one thing she though defined her. Yes, it may be hard to relate to Lexi, since she seems to have it all: beauty, popularity and a hot boyfriend. But even before she goes through the windshield of a car, we get a glimpse into a life that isn't as perfect as it seems. She learns that both her best friend and her boyfriend have betrayed her so she makes the mistake of getting into a car with a guy who just wants to hook up with her. Even if you aren't the girl with the pretty face, you'll be able to relate to Lexi with the feelings and thoughts that run through her after the accident.

For the first time in Lexi's life, people look at her differently. She looks at herself differently. She doesn't want to leave the house, she doesn't want anyone to see her new face, and she certainly doesn't want to see the people who put the whole thing into effect. So she throws herself a little pity party, and you certainly can't blame the kid. Ruth, her older sister, will have none of it and she is the voice that gets Lexi out of her rut. This book is about finding out who you are when what used to define you is gone. Lexi thinks all her friends have betrayed her, but most people just don't know how to act around her anymore. While trying to avoid everyone she used to know, she finds peace with Theo, a senior who looks past her face and sees who she really is. But it seems everyone can look past her face but Lexi, and as the novel progresses, we see how she finally comes to terms with the way she now looks.

The writing in this book is perfect. Lexi's voice is young and naive, but not in a sense that makes you cringe. Friend does not use slang very often, but we never forget that a fifteen year old is talking. The way she deals with things are childish and she has a lot to learn. This makes Lexi a believable and loveable character. Most of the secondary characters don't have much depth, but Ruth is there to make up for it. She is Lexi's polar opposite but she's the only one who ends up getting though to her. Lexi and Theo's relationship doesn't seem forced or rushed, though Friend does spring some things into it that don't really add much to the story. I wish I had seen more interaction between Lexi and Ryan, as Lexi claimed she was in love with him, but they never really showed why. 

I think Friend captured trauma perfectly. Each stage of grief is there, but it's not point out directly. We see Lexi evolve throughout the story, progressing as she becomes the girl she needs to be in order to keep going. I devoured these pages and wanted more when I finished the last one. Emotions run high in this one, and they don't stop until the very last sentence. 

“Well, you're not [fat]. You have, like, the ideal balance of fat and muscle. ...If I were a cannibal, I'd eat you.” 

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