“Beautiful Animals” by Lawrence Osborne

Beautiful Animals isn’t the type of book I typically read. This would be considered more of a “literary thriller,” where there is a suspense aspect to the plot line, but the majority of the book is location description and character driven. I prefer my books to be on-the-edge-of-my-seat and to-the-point. With that being said, this novel wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, although I can appreciate it for being a lovely work of literature and certainly some peoples’ taste.

Set in Hydra, a small island off the coast of Greece, Beautiful Animals tells the story of a summer spent between two newfound friends and the trouble they find themselves encountering together. Naomi’s father, Jimmy, is a wealthy English businessman who purchased a home on the island long before it was fashionable or cool. Naomi has spent every summer living on Hydra, but, since the death of her mother, the summers are not nearly as enjoyable with her stepmother, Phaine. Naomi is rich and bored and sort of an odd duck. She’s in her mid 20’s,has been recently been fired from her job, and has no friends on the island. Until one morning after a swim, she meets Sam.

Sam is an American whose family is visiting Hydra for the first time. Sam is beautiful, but insecure, and immediately smitten by the more sophisticated Naomi. They quickly form a friendship over weed, booze, and their mutual distaste for their family, and find themselves spending every day with each other.

One afternoon, after a yacht trip to a remote part of the island, Naomi and Sam stumble upon a runaway from Syria, by way of Turkey, who has nothing to his name except the clothes on his back and a bar of soap. Faoud, they learn, was from a wealthy family in the middle east, but fled to Hydra to escape into Europe under asylum. Naomi and Sam have differing opinions as to what to do with their discovery, and the decision results in a disastrous tragedy neither could have imagined.

Beautiful Animals deeply investigates the psyche of two unstable young women in their quest to do the right thing. It also examines how far humans will go for greed, money, and freedom. This novel’s biggest strength is its setting. Osborne does a phenomenal job painting a picture of Hydra for the reader. I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, but now it is on my bucket list for sure. I found myself googling pictures of Hydra as I was reading, and understanding why someone would spend their entire summer in such a lovely place.

The biggest drawback was the disjointed character perspectives and slow plot. Osborne regularly switches back between Naomi, Sam, and Faoud, all within the same chapter and even the same paragraph. I found it somewhat hard to follow with the jumping back and forth. I appreciated the underlying story and character development of Beautiful Animals, but it didn’t get to the action quite quick enough for my liking, and never fully accelerated for me.

2.75 out of 5 stars. 

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/247814/beautiful-animals-by-lawrence-osborne/

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own. 

 

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Latest Library Picks

This past week I had a “staycation.” I took a week off of work with absolutely no plans whatsoever. It was amazing. My past eight days have included a lot of napping, laundry (this is the first time I’ve seen the bottom of my closet in months,) catching up on Game of Thrones, snuggling my pup and new foster pup, and, of course, reading! I couldn’t let my free time get away from me without taking the opportunity for a library trip.

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I don’t pay for books. For a long time I went through a period of reading on my Kindle and purchasing eBooks, because, hey! they’re so much cheaper than regular! Then I decided that was a little unnecessary, so I started trying to shop at our local used bookstore, Blue Plate Books. I love Blue Plate, and still go there when I find myself having to make a book purchase, but then it dawned on me–why am I paying for books when I can get them fo’ free?

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I used to have the misconception that the library wouldn’t have what I wanted. Since it is in an old, historic building, I figured they would only have old, historic books. Perfect logic, right? Wrong! They have nearly every book on my TBR list! They aren’t always in stock as soon as I want them, but it’s cool, I can wait, if it means saving $14.99. Our local library system has three branches, all of which are within 15 miles of my house, so I can get a pretty great selection. I could always put a book on “hold” if it’s something I want particularly bad, but I think it’s part of the fun, part of the hunt, to check out what they have in stock on any given day. Luckily my TBR list is hefty enough that I can always find a good number of gems!

This week I got a particularly good haul. These five books are ones that I’ve reeeeeeally wanting to read. My favorite type of book is a psychological/domestic thriller, which each of these are.

So next up to be read:

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
This is Not Over by Holly Brown
Everything You Want Me to Be by Mindy Mejia
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Reviews to come soon!