Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn

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Searching for Beautiful
By:  Nyrae Dawn
Release Date:  March 4, 2014
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Source:  Publisher

GR's Summary:

Before, Brynn had a group of best friends, a loving boyfriend, a growing talent for pottery. She had a life. And after…she had none.

When Brynn lost the boyfriend who never loved her, the friends who feel she betrayed their trust, and the new life just beginning to grow inside her, she believes her future is as empty as her body. But then Christian, the boy next door, starts coming around. Playing his guitar and pushing her to create art once more. She meets some new friends at the local community center, plus even gets her dad to look her in the eye again…sort of.

But can Brynn open up her heart to truly find her life’s own beauty, when living for the after means letting go of the before?

My Thoughts:

Nyrae Dawn is a very talented author.  I have read and treasured every book in her Charade Series, and was excited to read Searching for Beautiful.  However, it should be said that the Charade Series and Searching for Beautiful are vastly different reads.  Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn, was a profound story full of depth, and meaning.  It's about the pains and struggles of growing up, as well as dealing with very painful losses.  This story was very slow paced, well-developed, and touching.  My heart broke for the main character, 16 year old Brynn, as she told us her story, and flashed between her past and present.

Brynn had an amazing relationship with both of her parents.  She had such a wonderful mother that she was the envy of all of her friends.  Her father was loving and supportive.  She has grown up with her best friends, Ellie, and Diana, and the three of them had always been inseparable.  She had a typical on and off, long term relationship, with her boyfriend, Ian, and a very happy life.  Then, tragedy struck, and Brynn's life was turned upside down.  She gave up pottery, a hobby that she was passionate about, stopped hanging out and talking with her best friend's and boyfriend, and completely withdrew into herself.  She was then taken advantage of by an older guy, who lied about his age, and made her feel loved when she needed it most.  He used her for sex, and she became pregnant.  Her life spiraled even more out of control when he told her to abort the baby, and her friend's wanted nothing to do with her anymore.  Brynn was left alone and heartbroken.  Then, Christian Medina, her childhood crush, moved next door and began to break down her walls.  

I absolutely adored Christian!  He was so patient, caring, and compassionate towards Brynn.  He was a fun person, who found a way to pull her out of herself, when no one else could.  Christian was good looking with his blue eyes, longish dark hair, and had a sparkling and very charming personality.  Yet, it was his big heart that drew me to his character.  He had faced his own trials and tribulations, and was very persistent, when it came to pursuing a friendship with Brynn.  He offered an unconditional friendship, wisdom from his own experiences, and was always willing to listen.  His mother, Brenda, was a great source of comfort to Brynn, and I loved her character as well. Ellie and Diana really got under my skin, and I did not think that they were good friends to Brynn.  The "not believing Brynn," shunning her, and their selfishness, frustrated me.  Jason, the man who impregnated Brynn, made me angriest of all.  The way he took advantage of her innocence and used her was abominable!  I liked how Brynn was able to help her new friend Emery.  Emery was pregnant and dealing with a very unhealthy relationship. Brynn managed to use her experience and growth to help her new friend.

Bynn's story was heartbreaking.  Her feelings of extreme sadness, loneliness, and guilt were palpable throughout the entire story.  Ms. Dawn nailed the teen voice, and this story was painfully realistic, filled with trials and tribulations that we go through in life.  Whenever Brynn reflected on her past, there was such happiness, innocence, love, and a wonderful childhood.  Then, when she reflected post tragedy, we saw a completely different person.  She made some huge mistakes along the way but that's part of growing up.  She learned many life lessons, and the tremendous growth that she experienced throughout this story, took her from a child to an adult. This was about her journey and I believe many teenagers will be able to identify with different aspects in this story.  Whether they identify with her tragic loss, best friend's shunning her, memories of first love, being naive, or finding the strength to take control of their life, and find their own beautiful, there's something for everyone.

My Rating:

Searching for Beautiful was a meaningful read with depth, tragedy, and life lessons.  It was slower in pace, while we experienced a lot of Brynn's memories and thoughts.  I believe this was necessary for Ms. Dawn to bring us such a well developed story and main character.  If you are looking for a fun, easy read, this is not it.  if you are looking for a story of substance, and depth, that will pull on your heartstrings, then I recommend this story.  I give Searching for Beautiful, by Nyrae Dawn, 4 Poignant, Emotional, True to Life Stars!

My Favorite Quotes:

"It's so easy, so easy to lock yourself up.  To push people away because you think the pain isn't as much if you don't have to acknowledge it, but that's not true.  It makes the hurt a million times worse not to share it with those who care about you.  And there's always someone, I think."  (eARC, Loc. 2989)


"It's funny how life moves in a complete circle sometimes.  There might be lots of bumps in the road and maybe even a few cliffs, but it's a journey, and sometimes it can bring you to the most wonderful places."  (eARC, Loc. 3160)


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About Nyrae Dawn:

Writing has always been Nyrae Dawn’s passion. Even when she was too busy chasing kids or working, writing stories was never far from her mind. 

She feels a special pull to characters in their teens. There’s something so fresh and fun about the age that she adores exploring. Her husband says it’s because she doesn’t want to grow up. She doesn’t think that’s such a bad thing. Luckily for her, he doesn’t either. 

Nyrae gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh, too. She’s also a proud romantic at heart who has a soft spot for flawed characters. She loves people who aren’t perfect, who make mistakes but also have a big heart. 

Nyrae resides in sunny Southern California with her husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two awesome kids.

When she’s not with her family, you can be pretty sure you’ll find her with a book in her hand or her laptop and an open document in front of her. 

She writes for Entangled PublishingGrand Central Publishing and is self-published. 

Nyrae is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.

Contact: Nyraedawn [at] yahoo [dot] com

Nyrae Dawn also writes adult romance under the name Kelley Vitollo.


  1. Oh wow!! This does sound like an intense read! Brynn and Christian appear to be two broken characters that deserve a chance at happiness! Fab review girl!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

  2. This sounds like an intense, beautiful, painful coming of age story and your review was breathtaking. Isn't it wonderful when an author can write so differently and bring forth new emotions in her readers.

    1. Thank You Kim! Yes, I love it when an author an make me feel.

  3. Damn, I think I need to get a hold of Nyrae's books. I've been hearing such great things about them. I think I'll need to save Searching for Beautiful for when I need a heartbreaking story, which should be coming up shortly. :)

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this one Lindy! Christian and Brenda were absolutely amazing and really made this book work for me. I loved how patient and kind they both were, and how they are there for Brynn at such a low point in her life. While I didn't love this one myself, I am still glad I read it.

    1. Yes, Christian and Brenda were such a great part of the story!

  5. Great review! Sadly, I just wasn't blown away by this one! And I did enjoy Christian and Brenda so much! They really made the story better for me. One thing, Brynn's friends.. I just didn't like them at all or how they were written. But I'm with Jessica, though I didn't love, it was still a good read and I'm glad I read it! :)

    1. Yeah, I couldn't stand Brynn's friends! They treated her horribly! Thanks Magen :)

  6. This one sounds like something I would read if I needed to cry. Haven't read any Nyrae Dawn books.

    1. Nyrae is a great author! This was a really sad story.

  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed Searching For Beautiful, Lindy. I always enjoy Nyrae's books and this sounds like a great addition to her works.
    Nice review, Lindy!


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