I am not angry, damnit, I am passionate.
-- Susan Powter
ORDINARY BEAUTY Laura Battyanyi Wiess
Seventeen year old Sayre Bellavia grew up knowing she was a mistake, unplanned and unwanted. She's been neglected, used, and left behind. Taken away and put in foster care, then returned to her mother who, for one miraculous year, got sober, found love and became pregnant. When unspeakable tragedy struck, Sayre sacrificed all and stuck by her mother, tried to help her, be important to her even as her mother slipped away into a violent haze of addiction, revealing a heartbreaking betrayal and destroying the only real family Sayre ever had.
Broke, homeless and alone, Sayre struggles to survive and wonders if her mother has ever, even for a moment, actually loved her and if, after a lifetime of being blamed for ruining her mother's life, she still loves the woman who hurt her so badly. Needing the truth, Sayre embarks on an urgent, terrifying journey to reach her mother, who is near death, ravaged by her own destructive behavior, and who alone holds the answer to Sayre's desperate, unspoken question.
Ordinary Beauty is the most heart-wrenching book I have read in a very long time. ...it is a novel about a young woman who is a fighter...determined to not only survive, but succeed...a positive role model for any teen no matter what their situation. ...it moved me so much, it gets a "Best of" tag... -- Charlotte's Web of Books review
Ordinary Beauty has left me a wreck. Never have I been left so emotionally drained from reading a book. ...one of the best feelings I can get from reading....so real that it haunts you to your core. -- Actin Up With Books review
This book read like a Smashing Pumpkins ballad
with a Nine Inch Nails chorus and an Everclear encore.
Fall in love with this amazing girl and better yet -- fall in love with this amazing writer! -- Bewitched Bookworms 5 star review
Every once in a while a book comes along that hits me so hard it leaves me breathless. Laure Wiess’ Ordinary Beauty is exactly that type of book.
While heartbreaking and gritty, it is also a beautiful story of hope and forgiveness. -- Book Twirps 5 star review
HOW IT ENDS MTV Books/S&S
All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him – but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be.
Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was.
Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audio book the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without even realizing it, the story begins to change her.
Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering irrevocable conclusion.
If you can only read one more book this year - make it this one. -- Books and Needlepoint
I finished this last night and I will tell you I am still reeling from the way this story turned out and the feelings that it invoked in me....you won’t be able to put it down until you get to that last page. There are so many surprising events that in the end you are just left open-mouthed and in awe by it. -- bookwormygirl.blogspot.com
I don’t think I have loved a book as much as this one in a long time. It definitely makes my list of top books of 2009. I recommend it to anybody and everybody.
Each voice was distinct and heartfelt. Each page flowed perfectly with true emotions pouring from them. Each character couldn’t have been more real. And each chapter only intensified the beautiful prose. My whole heart went into this book and didn’t fully come back until well after the last page. -- readingisbliss.blogspot.com
Reading this elegantly written novel is like looking through a kaleidoscope with a different picture in every chapter. This novel is a profound generational love story that will stay with you long after you have discovered How It Ends. --
This is one of the most haunting books I've read this year. I believe I may have experience every imaginable emotion during my reading of this book. -- http://molcotw.blogspot.com/
This is one of the most touching books I have ever read. It is beautifully written and extremely hard to put down. A must read for anyone who understands how beautiful and heartbreaking love can be. -- brdiget3420.blogspot.com
The amazingly well-written story of How It Ends...had me in tears more than I would like to admit. -- My Book Views
The book was wonderful and sad at the same time. It will make you reflect about the people in your life that you may pass by every day without a thought... -- chickwithbooks.blogspot.com
How It Ends is one of the best books I have ever read. When I read Laura Wiess' Such A Pretty Girl I thought it was great and that her other books couldn't top it but I was so wrong. How It Ends just blew me away and let me tell you, how the story ended was not expected. It made me laugh, cry, and gasp from surprise. I recommend this book for anyone, even adults. I'm actually thinking about making my mom read it just so I can talk to her about it. It's one of those books that you just want to chat about afterward. If you haven't read any of Laura Wiess' books, this one is the perfect place to start.
...touching novel How It Ends by Laura Wiess, and enter a world where love past and present combine to change Hanna's life forever. The well drawn and intriguing characters, and their unique relationships, will stay with the reader, long after the book ends. I highly recommend the thoughtful and realistic novel How It Ends by Laura Wiess, to anyone seeking a teen novel that combines elements of real world teen life, with deeper themes of love, respect, and redemption. -- blogbusinessworld.blogspot.com
I have to give top marks to HOW IT ENDS. With the depth of the story and the way the characters tugged at my heartstrings, it’s a wonder that I’m even typing this review up right now instead of sitting and thumbing back through the pages. --
Wiess does a wonderful job of making the story anything but predictable.Wiess’s ability to create real people, real flesh and blood beings out of nothing more than a few black words on a grey page is stunning. I’d heard that she was a fantastic writer and now I’ve see that for myself. -- ajourneyofbooks.blogspot.com
How It Ends, is a unique coming-of-age tale that explores some of the most fundamental human bonds and experiences.I would recommend it for a book club, discussion group or just someone looking for an intense & touching story. By the end, it had me on the brink of tears and I could only sit there and ponder it before going to bed. -- booksoulmates.blogspot.com
Such a Pretty Girl
Meredith was promised nine years of safety, but they only gave her three. Her father, who was sent to prison for sexually abusing Meredith and other children in their small town, has been released on good behavior. He was supposed to be locked up until Meredith's eighteenth birthday, when she could legally be free of both her abusive father and her delusional mother who dwells on a fantasy that the three of them will be a happy family once more.
But Meredith is only fifteen, and her father is out of prison...and her mother is bringing him home. And Meredith won't let him hurt her, or anyone else, ever again. No matter what the cost.
Lyrical, suspenseful, and emotionally shattering, Such a Pretty Girl captures a young woman's painful fight for survival -- and her journey back to herself.
2008 ALA Best Books for Young Adult
2008 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers
Reviews of Such a Pretty Girl ...and yet in the shadows and stillness, Mer's nightmare begins anew. This is a gritty, terrifying novel about a father's abuse of power and trust, and the way two different teens, Meredith and her...friend Andy, dal with that reality. Although not explicit, the novel is honest in its telling. Wiess's story is a page-turner that ultimately sends a startling message of empowerment...extremely satisfying. -- BOOKLIST, Frances Bradburn copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved.
"This is a rare book: a "problem novel" in which the story is in service of the characters, not the other way around. This tale strikes just the right balance between hope and despair, and Meredith's will to survive and ability to take action in the face of her terror are an inspiration." -- KLIATT
"Laura Wiess has created something really extraordinary with her novel Such A Pretty Girl (MTV books). This is an electrifying (and terrifying) look at a girl whose life has been torn apart by a sexual predator." -- Jennifer Laughran, NYMBC interview
"This terrifying, powerful novel of child abuse and molestation is told by fifteen year-old Meredith as it is happening. Her voice is whip-smart, self-aware and full of dry humor... This novel is perfectly paced, the momentum never slowing as it races toward the inevitable showdown. Mature teens who enjoy realistic fiction with an edge will devour it." 4Q 4P S -- VOYA
"Wow. I don't even know where to begin. I am completely blown away by this book. Raw and real." -- Kelly, The Bookworm "Tough, darkly humorous, yet achingly vulnerable. A nail-biter of an ending." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This moving, powerful novel is one that should not be missed. When it is released in January, be at your local bookstore, ready to get a copy! It's an emotional book that is beautifully, powerfully written and unique, and it'll stay with you long past the last word." -- teenbookreviewer.blogspot.com
"Very engrossing and a speedy read that will generate lots of word of mouth among students." MS, HS-ESSENTIAL --- yabookreviews.blogspot.com
"A great find. It held my attention from the first page to the last. A great, suspenseful read." --- bookfurious.blogspot.com
Brilliance comes in a small package. SUCH A PRETTY GIRL is deep and ravishing, dark and true. In the character of Meredith, Laura Wiess has created a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J.D. Salinger's Phoebe. Read this novel, and you will be changed forever. -- Luanne Rice, bestselling author of The Perfect Summer
"Such a Pretty Girl is beautifully written and painfully real. Laura Wiess has crafted a gripping story that is heart-rending -- and important, with a capital 'I.'" -- Barbara Delinsky, bestselling author of Flirting With Pete"Such a Pretty Girl is beautifully written and painfully real. Laura Wiess has crafted a gripping story that is heart-rending -- and important, with a capital 'I.'" -- Barbara Delinsky, bestselling author of
In clear, riveting prose, Laura Wiess boldly goes where other writers fear to tread. Such a Pretty Girl is gritty yet poetic, gut-churning yet uplifting -- a compelling, one-of-a-kind read. - A.M. Jenkins, author of Breaking Boxes, Damage, Out of Order, and Beating Heart
Brilliant! Such a Pretty Girl hooked me on page one and Laura Wiess' masterful prose kept me turning the pages. This is the first book in a very long time that made me say, "Wish I'd written this." - Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank, and Burned
“So suspenseful you’ll wish you’d taken a speed-reading course. But slow down, because to rush would mean missing Laura Wiess’s wonderfully precise language, her remarkable access to Meredith’s darkest emotions, and a shocker of an ending, which you'll want to read twice.” —Tara Altebrando, author of The Pursuit of Happiness
Such a Pretty Girl is a riveting novel and fifteen-year-old Meredith is a wholly original creation: a funny, wise, vulnerable girl with the heart of a hero and the courage of a warrior. This gut-wrenching story will stay with you long after you finish the last page. -- Lisa Tucker, author of The Song Reader, Shout Down the Moon, and Once Upon a Day
LEFTOVERS MTV Books/S&S
Blair and Ardith are best friends who have committed an unforgivable act in the name of love and justice. But in order to understand what could drive two young women to such extreme measures, first you'll have to understand why. You'll have to listen as they describe parents who are alternately absent and smothering, classmates who mock and shun anyone different, and young men who are allowed to hurt and dominate without consequence.
You will have to learn what it's like to be a teenage girl who locks her bedroom door at night, who has been written off by the adults around her as damaged goods. A girl who has no one to trust except the one person she's forbidden to see.
You'll have to understand what it's really like to be forgotten and abandoned in America today.
Are you ready?
Like her equally gripping debut (Such a Pretty Girl), Wiess's suspense story delivers an outsize jolt of adrenaline. …the final moments of the book unfold with a bang and a twist… Wiess's clear insight into the evolution of victim into perpetrator and her layered storytelling bump up the subject to a much more challenging playing field. – Publishers Weekly
The climax is explosive, but it's the feisty heroines who will resonate more. Gritty drama from Wiess (Such a Pretty Girl, 2007) that will get teens and parents talking. -- Kirkus Reviews
Reading Blair and Ardith's story is like scratching a mosquito bite, you can't stop scratching until it bleeds. And as much as it hurts, you won't be able to put Leftovers down until you finish it. -- Lyn Seippel, Bookloons.com
“A riveting story about how far girls will go to protect that which is good and decent in their lives. A bracing, unapologetic, and thoroughly compelling read. I love this book.” -- Laura Fitzgerald, author of Veil of Roses
Laura (Wiess) is back with a new novel due out in January, LEFTOVERS, and it's just as powerful and as poignant as SUCH A PRETTY GIRL. -- Shon Bacon, SD Girl
I seriously could not put it down. I loved every second. I cried when they cried and laughed when they laughed. Mrs. Wiess puts you in these girls' shoes with her first-person narrative in this new novel coming out in January of 2008.
Do I recommend it? Heck yes I do. I started reading this with a certain expectation. Laura Wiess's previous novel "Such a Pretty Girl" was amazing. I can't tell you how many times I've read it. I knew I could expect a great book from Laura. I knew I could. She did not let me down. I've read Leftovers seven times already. I keep reading and re-reading.
Did I get what I expected? Yes. Did I get what I wanted? Well, I wanted something real, something to relate to, and something other girls could relate to as well. I wanted a book that wouldn't hide or cover up anything. I got just those things and more. -- Allie C, Teen Book Reviewer
Why not go out on a limb? That's where the fruit is. -- Will Rogers
Content copyright . laura wiess. All rights reserved.