Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.
THE LOVE AFFAIR
When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.
THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE
When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?
The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything. From Amazon US.
I can't tell you how amazing this book was. Really. I went through so many emotions while reading this, and I'm just completely blown away by it. It's brilliant! It covers so many issues all in one heart-warming yet heart breaking story, it's just fantastic. I originally requested this book to review as soon as I read it, but as it works for BI&SP Month, I've saved it for now.
Beth is known as "the Beast" at school. She's unusually tall, suffers with bad acne, and wears thick, beer-bottle classes. Not only is she bullied atrociously, but she knows the way her father reacted when she was born, commenting on her ugliness, and not staying in her life for very long. Her self-esteem is the lowest it could possibly be, and has only one friend, Scott. But the girl has a set of pipes on her, and with managing to get the solo spot in her choir, her life changes.
Now we all know bullying is never, ever right, and that it's disgusting in all it's forms. I was bullied when I was younger, so I know how much it sucks. But what Beth has to go through is beyond anything I could ever have coped with. The pain, the humiliation, day after day, it's heart breaking. It upset me so much, that I actually cried. And what's worse, she believes every word the bullies say. She looks in the mirror, and sees the Beast. Fortunately for us as readers, as the story progresses, we don't get to read too many bullying incidents, but it's with Beth, inthe back of her mind, the whole time. Even after her transformation into this beautiful young girl, she self-esteem is still low, and believes she will always be the Beast no matter how she looks, because that's who she is; the person she is. It's just so, so sad.
But along comes Derek; absolutely gorgeous, and unbelievably lovely, and rock star of his own choir, he sees in Beth what only one other person - Scott - has. Beth doesn't trust him at first, and to be honest, neither did I - a guy that hot saying all the right things? He's obviously just sweet-talking to get what he wants. But he fell for her before he even met her, before he even saw her. He fell for her voice, and the soul she brings to her singing. He sews the seed which sparks Beth's realisation of who she actually is, and that beauty is so much more than just skin deep. Yes, he is just as amazing as he sounds - I'm actually getting choked up as I write this, remembering what he does for her.
Their relationship, like all relationships, isn't all plain sailing. There are so many rocky patches, it's hard on both of them. Derek has a secret, and they both know it. He's vague, won't talk about things, and has long absences of no contact. Because her self-esteem is practically non-existant, Beth jumps to conlusions, some extreme conlusions, and gets insanely jealous. Derek can sometimes be demanding and controling, and Beth can sometimes be clingy and obsessive, or too forgiving and understanding. Beth's behaviour is annoying, but you can understand the reasons for it, and as the story unfolds and you find out about Derek, his behaviour is also understandable. But on the whole, their is just so, so sweet.
There's also Scott. He's been Beth's friend forever. An outside like she is, he used to suffer because of his appearance, his geekiness, and for defending her. But he ends up growing out of acne and weedy frame, and starts getting sexy. People notice, Beth notices. Yet Scott noticed Beth years ago, back when she was the Beast. Like Derek, he sees Beth for who she is, he always has. He's just the sweetest guy, and he finally gains the courage to do something about how he feels when Derek comes onto the scene. It's a case of who will Beth choose in the end?
I have to say, I worked out Derek's secret at the very beginning. I don't know if this makes the book predictable, or just means I'm good at working things out. Either way, I didn't get all the details, and there is a twist beyond anything I would have I expected. It left me reeling, completely. But looking back, and knowing now what I know about the story, there's no other way it could have ended.
This really is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. It had me laughing, and it had me crying. It had me feeling so low, I was effected when I put the book down, yet so happy and hopeful for myself, that it left me smiley and in a bit of a dreamy state. It's just impossible for me to put into words just how incredibly moving I found Sing Me to Sleep. This book has effected me so deeply, it will stay with me forever. Just beautiful. I seriously cannot wait to own my own copy, and read more of Angela Morrison's novels.
N.B: Angela Morrison has written an Epilogue to the novel which she has on her site. If you have read this book already, I strongly suggest you go check it out, it's just awesome! If you haven't though, do not read it! It will spoil the story for you!
This review is part of the Sing Me to Sleep Tour on International Blog Tours.
Published: 4th March 2010
Publisher: Razor Bill US
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Angela Morrison's Website
Other reviews of Sing Me to Sleep:
Sarah's Book Reviews
Girls Without a Bookshelf