Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

Title: My Life in Black and White
Author: Natasha Friend
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: June 28th 2012
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Lexi has always been beautiful, but her beauty is taken from her when she goes face-first through a car windshield. Now Lexi has to dig deep to figure out how to define herself. Help on her journey of self-discovery comes from unexpected sources: Ruth, Lexi’s sister, “the smart one” to Lexi’s “the pretty one,” with whom Lexi has never been close; and Theo, a classmate who is still recovering from his sister’s recent death from anorexia.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Life in Black and White is subtle but beautiful. It sounded good, but I wasn't expecting to love it that much! I'm finding it hard to put into words what makes this such a great read - I just know for sure it's good. It's not like there's loads fo action; My Life in Black and White just tells a beautiful story with subtle developments and realistic character growth. It's my kind of book exactly!

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like Lexi. I have a hard time with beautiful, popular, superficial girls as narrators, which I was expecting Lexi to be. She turned out to be so much more than that, though. I'll admit that she did get on my nerves a little in the beginning, but I grew to love her over the course of the story. We're very different people, but it was easy to relate to Lexi's insecurities and struggles.

The rest of the characters are great, too! I was even more worried I wouldn't like Lexi's friends, expecting the popular girls stereotypes, etc. And while Lexi's friends are sort of like that - there's no denying they're superficial - they're also kind of awesome. They're shallow, but in a very endearing, funny way.

One of my favorite parts of My Life in Black and White turned out to be Lexi's relationship with her sister, Ruthie. These two fight all the time. I know loads of books about siblings that get along, ones that are distant from another, or the jealous-sibling storyline, one of them living in the other one's shadow. But I don't know enough books where the siblings argue and just don't get along! I loved that about My Life in Black and White, because, well, that's realistic. Ruthie and her influence on Lexi's development is great, and I just loved reading about these two.

Then there's the romance. Subtle romance is probably my favorite kind - I don't want the guy to sweep in and fix everything, taking the main focus, but I do want him to be a part of the story. Natasha Friend balanced this perfectly in My Life in Black and White. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that Theo is adorable - I loved his character and storyline.

One thing I found a little strange was the characters' ages. The accident takes place the summer before sophomore year, and My Life in Black and White follows Lexi at the beginning of the school year. But to me, the characters seemed older in their actions and their maturity. It'd be fine if one character acted older than their actual age, if that were a part of their personality, but all of them acted very mature for fifteen-year-olds. I get why the author chose to make them sophomores, since you need the stereotypical senior boys for a big part of the novel, which wouldn't have made sense if the girls had been seniors themselves. And I could see where the author tried to make the ages fit. But I still think the main storyline would have worked better with characters a little older than the ones in My Life in Black and White.

I just noticed that I spent almost the entiretyy of my review talking about the characters, but that's just the kind of book My Life in Black and White was for me - Natasha Friend's writing made the characters come to life! A quick, fun read with just the right amount of depth and lots of girl power, My Life in Black and White reminded me a lot of a Siobhan Vivian book. I loved it - highly recommend this book!


  1. I haven't gotten around to reading this yet, but it sounds so good. I'm actually glad to hear that the characters are mature for their age-I would rather have that than juvinile characters, which irk me to no end.

  2. This one sounds super good! I totally agree that subtle romance is the best kind, and I love the idea of the sister dynamic Friend chose to portray.

  3. I've seen this book a few times but for some reason I avoided reading it. I love the subtleties that you listed in this book and I adore sibling relationships. It's great that you wrote so much about the characters, it makes me want to get this book even more! :)

  4. Sounds like a really good read. I've seen it around a lot but haven't had a chance to grab a copy. I think I need to after reading your review.

  5. I have been wanting to read this one for a while now. You have made me move it up the list.


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