Summary: Molly Davis is tired of being an awkward sophomore with extremely frizzy hair and too many pimples, so when she runs into an eccentric portrait artist at the local fair, she sadly confides that her wish is to be the most beautiful girl in the town of Miracle. When she wakes up the next morning, she is surprisingly and inexplicably exactly that—gorgeous. Life seems only to get better as more people pay attention to her and vie to be her friend. She gets the boys, the clothes, and the popularity she always wanted. But she just might be losing herself.
Review: In the first stages of the story, Beauty begins exploring an interesting topic—how people who are physically attractive seem to be treated so much better than those who are not. Molly goes from being the girl the popular kids laughed at to getting almost everything. People actually talk to her. Teachers are easier on her. Boys fight to be the one to do nice things for her. Waiters, baristas, and ticket sellers give her things free. All this is really great commentary on how life can sometimes be very unfair.
But then Daily goes overboard. Molly is not just beautiful, she is mysteriously powerful. She literally has hordes of children chase her down the street solely because her face is so pretty. …How does that even make sense? Boys appear to be magically attracted to her, as if they could not ignore her if they wanted, and the other girls will do absolutely anything she says because she is simply that popular—even if she tells them to paint their knuckles with nail polish.
Because this is so unrealistic, it seems as if there must be some sort of magical explanation. After all, there is magic at work in the book if Molly can wake up one day and suddenly be stunning. She measures and her facial features actually moved. Yet an explanation for Molly’s apparently magnetic aura is never offered, and this is a huge failing. The book borders on the absurd with the caricature of popularity that it presents, but whatever magic is at work creating it is never fully integrated into the story.
Beyond this, the story is typical. Ugly girl becomes pretty. Newly pretty girl starts acting like a jerk. Newly pretty girl realizes she has lost all her friends and decides to go back to being her former ugly yet pleasant self. Unfortunately, Daily does not put enough of a spin on this plotline to make her version truly stand out. Beauty is a decent, yet standard take on a common tale.
Published: May 10, 2012