*I received this book for free from NetGalley/Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
For the second day in a row, I've finished reading a book by an author that was new to me in Nyrae Dawn. March is turning into the month of new discoveries, and new authors, and I really appreciate the fact that Entangled Teen allowed me early access to Searching for Beautiful.
Dawn's Searching for Beautiful follows 16-year old Brynn De Luca as she experiences the life and times of being a teenager in high school. Brynn lived the life of a happy child. Her parents adored her, and they in turn, adored each other and made it a happy home by providing Brynn with the means to enjoy her pottery. Although Brynn is adopted, she was the De Luca's daughter even without the blood and DNA link. She has two best friends in Diana and Ellie who adore Brynn's mother and are nearly inseparable even with their own boyfriends hanging around all the time.
After Brynn's mother is taken away from her, Brynn nearly throws away her entire life and future by giving away her love to an immature and pathetic liar who only wanted one thing; sex. Thrown into depression by her father's perceived lack of compassion for her situation and another unexpected personal loss, Brynn is forced to relearn how to be a good person with the help of new friends, an old flame who comes back to town searching for the girl he loved, and discovers new realities, revelations, and experiences that allows her to regain respect for herself and others.
Brynn is far from the perfect character but there is room for growth. She gets herself into situations where she keeps secrets from her best friends, turns her back entirely on them after she believes they abandoned her, gives up her pottery because she blames herself for her mothers death, and keeps everyone else, including her father, at arms length worried that if another person breaks her heart, she won't be able to go on.
As for Brynn's love interest Christian Medina. I loved the fact that he didn't forget about Brynn even after he left town for a few years after dancing with her once. I loved that Christian had his own difficulties that he was trying to over come but didn't really let him fall into a funk like Brynn. I loved that he really tried to get her to open up and look at the situation in a different way including the use of his guitar to break Brynn's bleakness and depression.
I adored his brilliantly written mother Brenda who has a lesbian partner. I think Brenda's choice to open her heart to Brynn when she had her own bumpy road to happiness, went a long way in Brynn's recovery. I also liked Emery the girl Brynn meets along the way to healing. I loved that Brynn found a way to let someone new into her life, and really cared what happened to her. I also respected Emery who makes a very brave choice that in this day and age, would be considered abhorrent by some.
In closing, as readers/reviewers, we are often exposed to writers who fall into the habit of not exploring characters of their own skin color or nationalities and maintain the status quo with writing only about white characters. Dawn had the perfect opportunity to write her story about a person of color, but instead she chose a white character, with a Hispanic love interest to carry her story. Perhaps Dawn would consider using her own race as a background for her next writing project.
Author - Nyrae Dawn
Title - Searching for Beautiful
Published by Entangled Teen
Released March 4, 2014
Genre - Contemprary
Format - E Book, 304 Pages