Book Review: So Damn Beautiful

So Damn Beautiful (A New Adult Romance) by L.J. Kennedy: Neither knew anything could damn. beautiful.

Studious NYU art major Annie Green is laser-focused on one day becoming a curator at the Louvre in Paris. Then she meets tortured graffiti artist Chase Adams, the hottest thing in New York’s burgeoning street scene – and also the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen. Not that such things matter to Chase. He just wants to be left alone to create.

When Annie manages to convince Chase to work with her on a major NYU art retrospective, their connection is intense and undeniable, as Chase challenges everything Annie thought she knew about art, life…and love. Slowly, he begins to trust again and reveal the truth about his past.

But when Annie is pursued by the privileged president of the fraternity – someone who clearly offers Annie much more than him – Chase begins a dangerous descent into darkness. Annie must decide between her head and her heart, and choosing wrongly could shatter them both to the very core forever…

TeriLyn's thoughts: **ARC generously provided by author in exchange for an honest review**

I’ve been stalling on writing this review because I felt conflicted for a good chunk of the book. And that’s with saying I really, really liked this book. I liked Annie and Chase. I couldn’t get enough of their passion for the art surrounding them. After much contemplation, here goes. The book is extremely well written and smart. The plot is easy to follow; the characters engaging. The banter is witty and beautifully written. The detail of the New York art scene, both traditional and street, is fascinating. Annie goes to NYU with a grand plan and throughout the book her entire paradigm begins shifting to something that ultimately transcends her. And even though I don’t agree with Annie for one thing that she did throughout the book I can’t fault her for it and that is a testament of the honesty in this author’s writing. The author made me believe in this character, understand her, and sympathize with her. This is Annie’s coming of age story. And it’s worth your time to read it.

With that said, I am not a big fan of love triangles or heroines so conflicted they cheat in their relationship. And yes, fair warning, Annie cheats. But the vulnerability and the rawness that is involved in this story made me look beyond the cheating to the deeper meaning for Annie’s life. This is her coming of age story, and this is a byproduct of what happens when you’re young and think you have the whole world figured out. Sometimes you make mistakes. Annie’s holding on to preconceived notions she thinks she needs to follow. She holds on so tightly she doesn’t realize that their just slipping away because a green-eyed boy from the wrong side of the tracks is opening her mind to magic she never knew existed. She is being challenged. Normally, the cheating would turn me off but the author’s story telling captivated me to the point of understanding the honesty of being a freshman in college and having your world turned upside down emotionally, artistically, philosophically. Chase Adams is street artist whose notoriety Annie doesn’t understand. He’s quick to judge her even though he sees something in her. He an anarchist with his art, a rebel with a cause, challenging the traditionalist minds of art. Chase is brilliant in both his graffiti and his words. Eloquently spoken yet completely unrefined. Chase thrills Annie, he’s elusive, seemingly dangerous, and exudes confidence. He’s a conundrum for Annie, her total opposite, a traditionalist versus a radical, right down to their names, in my opinion. As much as he challenges Annie, she challenges him right back. They are two different yet similar worlds colliding to create an explosion of unrelenting passion.

So just like Chase breaks down barriers for Annie, L.J. Kennedy broke down a barrier for me. The cheating in this book became less about the cheating and so much more. It’s Annie understanding herself and growing up. It is societal ideologies being challenged. It’s a good girl who falls in love with a bad boy without even trying. It’s an irresistible pull to the edge. It’s a girl who finds herself so completely and then fights for what she believes. It’s a really great story; honest, raw, emotional, edgy, and fun. I hope we get another book to see where the characters go beyond the ending of So Damn Beautiful, more Annie and Chase would be awesome to read.

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Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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