BookBrowse Reviews Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

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Cruel Beautiful World

by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt X
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 352 pages
    Aug 2017, 384 pages

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This is a compelling tale of family cobbled together by circumstance and torn apart by the impetuous act of a teenager in love.

Caroline Leavitt's Cruel Beautiful World, which looks at the repercussions of the choices we make and the things we do in the name of love, is a runaway hit with many BookBrowse First Impression reviewers.

This is the story of a teenage girl who runs away with her high school teacher, and the book tracks the effect this act has on her, her teacher, their families and the people they meet along the way (Eve A). In Cruel Beautiful World, the reader is immediately absorbed by the main character, Lucy, and her life-altering decisions. However, somewhere along the way, the secondary characters and their struggles become just as absorbing (Melissa S).

Reviewers appreciated the novel's many layers…
Woven into this intricate web is the story of two sisters and the responsibilities of life and ultimately the decisions we make. The concept of family is redefined and the final pages are full of emotion and the realization that everything that makes us human also gives us purpose. (Dianna C). How many boys and girls have made a reckless decision at the age of sixteen and lived through the disastrous consequences? I think readers will relate to the consequences of Lucy's impulsive act on many different levels (Janis H). Layered and complicated, this novel draws readers in and keeps them there as characters' dreams die and secrets unfold (Madeline M).

Caroline Leavitt's ability to bring complex characters to life in a way that touches the reader to the core is amazing. I found myself completely immersed in each subplot as the novel progressed. This ability to engage the reader in such a complex way is the mark of a great novel. I will recommend Leavitt to all my fellow readers and can't wait to dive into her other books. I highly recommend this jolting and heartfelt novel. The unexpected twists and turns within the subplots make Cruel Beautiful World a complete success! (Melissa S).

A few readers wanted more…
Unless the author intends a sequel about Charlotte, the end left me wanting more (Cindy C). I would love to see another book with a continuation of the story (Eve A). This novel has great potential to be more of a psychological thriller but the storyline is kept too shallow for that to happen. The plot is interesting and keeps the reader turning pages. I would have liked more insight into what different characters were thinking throughout the story, and to know what happened to them after the novel ends (Liz B).

Most pronounced it a winner...
There is tragedy here, but also survival. I found it pretty impossible to put down. Leavitt is a very good writer and Cruel Beautiful World is a winner (Sylvia G). The author delights us page after page with tender insights into longing, love, and heartaches with the most endearing encounters occurring as the story closes (Terri C).

This review was originally published in October 2016, and has been updated for the August 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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