Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com
Ana wants to be ugly. She has worked very hard at it, ever since she was twelve years old. Ever since the day a man complimented her on her beauty and she saw the look of hatred, jealousy, and anger in her mother's eyes. Now she doesn't bathe, doesn't trim her toenails, doesn't brush her hair, and eats nothing but pastries, bread, and moldy cheeses. Her nutrition has left her body pudgy and her face blemished. She is happy because she seems to have her mother's favor; however, staying ugly takes a lot of effort.
Queen Veda, Ana's mother, is a calculating ruler. Vanity is her main focus and she is never without her strange Beauty Consultant. He is a creepy little man that is always lurking around. His eyes turn red whenever he approves of the way the Queen looks. He mixes beauty potions and creates creams out of ingredients like spiders and leaves for the Queen to use to maintain her beautiful appearance. It is Queen Veda's jealousy that leads her to devise her most diabolical plan ever.
The Queen creates a new Academy for the best and brightest girls of the land. About fifty girls receive personal invitations to attend this prestigious academy and Pell, Ana's best friend, is one of them. Ana is heartbroken, thinking that she will lose her best friend forever. But on the advice of the Beauty Consultant, Queen Veda sends Ana to the Academy, too. Pell and Ana are thrilled to be attending a school that will provide rigorous academics, while at the same time being roommates. However, a sinister plot awaits all the girls that attend the Academy.
BEAUTY is a fast-paced fairy tale that pulls at your heartstrings. The reader will cheer for Ana when she finally realizes the truth about her mother. The sinister plan could have been more sinister and the ending a little more complex, but overall this is a fascinating story, definitely one for fans of queens, princesses, and fairy tales.