by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Young adult romance. Lucius Wolfe is about to start the first day of his sophomore year of high school. The year before, he caused an explosion that left him a DAE amputee, and destroyed his parents' house. Now they have moved to a new house in a new town, and he has to adjust both to his disability and to being the new kid. Aurora Belle is also a new kid at the same school; her mother died of cancer the previous year. Although Lucius and Aurora feel an immediate attraction, they are social opposites--he's a dark, brooding loner, while she is gorgeous, smart, and kind, and also instantly one of the popular kids. Even worse, Lucius is convinced that once Aurora learns the truth about his accident, she will run in fear.
I was really intrigued by the premise of this book. There are so few amputee characters, and to make the accident unquestionably his fault was a bold move. But ultimately the book was much slighter than the heavy premise would indicate. The biggest problem was the alternating narration, with chapters from both Lucius and Aurora's point of view. This is almost always deadly, since we see every scene twice so the plot takes forever to get going (I'm looking at you, gay-elf-romance Unseen Paths). Here at least the author eventually cuts back on the repetition, but the fact is while Lucius' voice is really compelling and original, Aurora's is not. She's a bland, boring, impossibly perfect character, and the way she just drifts along with the popular kids made me want to smack her. When half her chapters are only a sentence or two, it's evident her point of view was not necessary.
Also the ending is really rushed, which was a letdown. Yes, the plot points are all resolved in a satisfying way, but it all happens so quickly. I really wished it had been longer, and we had more scenes of Lucius and Aurora together. Oh and this is supposed to be a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but that didn't really seem to add anything to a fairly standard high school romance.
I found the dev-factor to be only moderate, which surprised me, since the premise seems super-devvy to me. The author handled his disability in a pretty realistic way, there is no magic or miracle cure or anything. There are some really good scenes of Lucius thinking about how his life has changed. But even though he talks about his amputation and prosthetics all the time, the author doesn't really linger over the details of his everyday life. In other words, the author clearly isn't a dev. But oh well, I can't really blame her for that.