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I Will Be Beautiful

“I looked up and saw Blake, the next generation Alpha. I’ve never really talked to him…But what I noticed was the tingling where his hands touched my skin and the undeniable pull to him. This guy’s my mate but why is he staring down at me with disgust then? Oh wait, I’m fat and ugly, I forgot. Overweight werewolves are scorned.” (I Will Be Beautiful, Chapter One)

“Todd didn’t say anything like usual. He doesn’t talk much anymore, ever since Jackie left. I know he still blames me for her leaving and I don’t blame him. I was my fault and I didn’t realize this until at least 4 months after she left. I remember just thinking of the pudgy girl and breaking down into tears because I missed her so much. I still miss her and I hardly know her. I would give anything to go back to that damn day and change what I said. I need her, I want her…” (I Will Be Beautiful, Chapter Three)

Jackie has always dreamed of finding her mate; he would love her unconditionally, even though she considers herself unattractive because of her weight and glasses. Her mate Blake, the future alpha of the pack and a popular jock, rejects her because of her looks. She is shoved down the stairs of her school and seriously injured, though Blake inexplicably yells at the guy who pushed her.  Waking up, Jackie decides to run away from home, journeying to her grandmother’s house

A year and a half later, Jackie has lost her glasses and seventy five pounds.  Unbeknownst to her, Blake has been desperately missing her, though he had never spent much time with her in the past. Forced to move back home, Jackie reconnects with her old friends and enjoys the stares that her new body elicits from her former peers. With a new body and new confidence, Jackie may not need Blake any longer. But what if he needs her?

This novel feels like a bad high school drama.  All of the pretty girls are villains and the main character is unpopular because she is overweight and conventionally unattractive. She is bullied by her brother’s friends and he does nothing to defend her. Jackie narrates the story like it was a teen movie, something that does not translate well onto the page. This novel is full of sporadic capitalization that makes the protagonist alternate between her regular voice and random screams.  The capitalization honestly lessens the story, as it makes the protagonist sound immature and silly.

This novel has a wealth of insulting stereotypes and clichés. Jackie hates herself because she is overweight by the standards of her society. While a character does not have to be confident twenty-four seven, she truly believes that she will only be desirable when she loses weight and becomes attractive.  Jackie’s happiness is tied slowly to her weight. She is able to lose seventy five pounds in three months through the help of some simple pills, her weight only an issue of an undiagnosed medical condition.  I Will Be Beautiful sends a message to its readers that they too can change their lives by changing their outward appearance to please the society that had damned them for their existence.

In addition to the comments above, a gay character’s voice is described as “male-ish”. When Jackie returns to her old school, she notices “A face that when I left was completely gay, but now could pass as a male model”, suggesting that her friend’s former “gay” look was unattractive.  The novel does not even allow Mike to be gay; after being hit on in a gay bar, he realizes that he is not attracted to men. I Will Be Beautiful teases a gay character before mocking him and creating a straight character.

In an interesting twist on the werewolf genre, female werewolves must be bitten by their mates in order to shift into their wolf form. If a woman is never bitten, she will live as a human for the rest of her life, though she will retain her heightened senses.  It is interesting that this is not reciprocated for the male werewolves. This system depowers the women in the novel and condemns any female werewolf to a life without her extraordinary powers if she does not find her mate.  If this is a metaphor for the position of women throughout history, I’m not sure its being conveyed correctly.

I liked that this story shifted to multiple points of view; this was mainly because I thought Jackie’s POV was annoying, so I enjoyed any break from her rambling thoughts and odd disposition. Others may enjoy Jackie’s sections of this novel while disliking the shifts to other characters. Overall, this is a matter of preference and not something that will make or break the novel for a reader.

This novel is very short and not something that can be savored.  Jackie’s escape, transformation, and return take place over two chapters, when the plot could have been explored over at least ten. While a novel can be both short and amazing, a work will not succeed when it rushes through plot points and skips character development in favor of a quick resolution.

I was not a fan of I Will Be Beautiful. Even the title points to its hatred of its initially overweight female lead. When it is not advocating for a more conventionally “attractive” world, it queer baits its audience while mocking a gay character.  While it has some interesting world-building, this novel uses obnoxious capitalization and teen drama narration to create an overall lackluster story.