Sunday, March 8, 2015

ARC Book Review: "Positively Beautiful" by Wendy Mills

9:23 AM

Title: Positively Beautiful
Author: Wendy Mills
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 368
Publication date: March 3rd 2015
My rating: 55 stars

*I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley.*


Jodi Picoult for teens meets Lurlene McDaniel. Beautiful written, beautifully moving, a vivid contemporary story of a girl’s unusual but terrible dilemma - and the love story that springs from it. 

16-year-old Erin is a smart if slightly dorky teenager, her life taken up with her best friend Trina, her major crush on smoky-eyed, unattainable Michael, and fending off Faith, the vision of perfection who’s somehow always had the knife in for Erin. Her dad, a pilot, died when she was very young, but Erin and her mom are just fine on their own.

Then everything changes forever one day after school when Erin’s mom announces she has breast cancer. And there’s even worse news to come. Horrified, Erin discovers that her grandmother’s death from cancer is almost certainly linked, the common denominator a rare gene mutation that makes cancer almost inevitable. And if two generations of women in the family had this mutation, what does that mean for Erin? The chances she’s inherited it are frighteningly high. Would it be better to know now and have major preemptive surgery or spend as much life as she has left in blissful ignorance?

As Erin grapples with her terrible dilemma, her life starts to spiral downwards, alleviated only by the flying lessons she starts taking with grumpy Stew and his little yellow plane, Tweetie Bird. Up in the sky, following in her dad’s footsteps, Erin finds freedom chasing the horizon. Down on the ground it’s a different story, and facing betrayal from Trina, humiliation from Faith, and a world of disappointment with Michael, Erin knows she must discover the truth about herself. Sure enough, she’s positive for the gene that’s slowly killing her mom.

Suddenly, Erin’s life has turned into a nightmare, and the only person she can truly talk to is a girl called Ashley who she meets online. But when, in a moment of madness, Erin flies away with Tweetie Pie to find her new friend, she finds herself on a journey that will take her through not only shock and despair - but ultimately to a new understanding of the true meaning of beauty, meaning, and love.


If you couldn't already tell from the synopsis, this is a cancer book. Personally, I don't have the best history with cancer books. And I mean that in the sense that they tend to really get to me. I've had people who are very dear to me battle this disease and I have lost people to it. So when it comes to books like these, I can be very picky. 

This book follows a Erin, a girl who lost her father and lives with her mom. One day after her mom gets home from work, she delivers some heart-shattering news to Erin. She tells her that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. And on top of that, she tells her that she might be prone to having too. Thus the madness and roller-coaster of emotions ensues. We basically get to see how this affects Erin and her whole life. We get to see how this influences her daily life choices and how it really just breaks her inside. Not only that, we also get a very in depth insight of the disease itself and how it can affect the people suffering from it. 

I think that the author stayed very truthful to the whole topic. Nothing really seemed understated nor exaggerated. And I really appreciated that because it made the story very believable. So much so that before I knew it, I found myself getting very attached to these characters. Which ultimately lead to a sea of used tissues in my bedroom (gross I know). I think the characters were so well-written and developed. At first the main character seemed a little bit childish at times, but then some of the best character development happened. 

This book is divided into parts. And I think that this really played a huge part in the story itself because in each part we get to see different phases of her mom's cancer. And they were significantly far apart. And by that I mean that some time passes from each part to the next. At first I was worried about this because I thought it would make everything feel rushed. However, it was quite the opposite of this. To me this elongated the story in a necessary way. If that makes any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we got to see a lot of things that you don't really get with many books that deal with this subject. And none of it felt like it dragged on. There wasn't a time were I found myself bored. In fact I really couldn't put this book down. Like I said, I got really attached to the characters and the story. I was completely engrossed in this book and I owe a lot of that to the writing, which also played a big part in my enjoyment of the book. It was absolutely eloquent and it delivered humor while remaining poignant. 

I also wanted to mention that there are some romance aspects in this book which I adored. I won't discuss that any further cause I don't want to spoil anyone! 

Overall, I think everyone should pick this book up. As soon as you start reading it will evoke interest in you and you won't be able to put it down. 


  1. I love the review! I'm thrilled that you liked it, Sophie.

    1. Well, thank you for writing such a wonder book! :)

  2. I just stumbled upon your blog through Bloggers Commenting Back, and I adore this review! I haven't had too much personal experience with cancer, so I'm not quite as picky as you are in that sense, but you make this book sound fantastic. Positively Beautiful seems so well-written, from eloquent word choice to great story development. What really appeals to me is the dividing of the story into parts. I love it when stories are divided up this way, and the technique works especially well for emotional stories where you can see the different stages of grief.

    Thanks for the review - I may have to add this one to my TBR now!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! It really is a fantastic book and I seriously encourage you to read it. You might shed a few tears though! :)


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