Before and After II: My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

I had so much fun doing my Love and Loss reviews back in May that I've decided to do a new June theme: Before and After. This series will look at three books that focus on a character whose life irrevocably changes after an accident.

The three books I'll be reviewing this week -- click on covers to get to Goodreads.

One Moment by Kristina McBride pic name Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Today, I'm reviewing:

My Life in Black and White
by Natasha Friend

To be published by Viking Juvenile
on June 28, 2012

Source: bought from independent bookstore

My summary: Lexi has always been certain of one thing: she's beautiful. Then one night at a party, Lexi is betrayed by two people she thought she could trust. Desperate to escape, she impulsively jumps in a car with the brother of a friend. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in the hospital, where people are looking at her with pity, not admiration. Her face went through the windshield of the car and will never look the same. After losing the one thing that made her special, can Lexi pick up the pieces and find a new version of herself?

My take: This book made an interesting counterpoint to One Moment, the book I featured yesterday. There's no mystery about what Lexi remembers: she knows exactly what she saw and what it means. After her accident, Lexi has to process two great shocks: the betrayal she endured and the drastic change in her appearance.

While One Moment focuses almost completely on the mystery behind the main character's accident, My Life in Black and White is all about Lexi's recovery. In the book, she progresses through all the stages of grief: shock, pain, anger, bargaining and, finally acceptance. At first, she's angry and bitter that she's forever lost her old self. She doesn't recognize the person she sees in the mirror, but if she's going to be ugly, then she's determined to be as ugly as she can be. At first, she pushes her friends away and becomes an angry loner. But eventually, she begins to discover the strong person who was always there beneath the blond hair and perfect face.

I absolutely loved the characters in My Life in Black and White. Lexi, or course, and Theo, the amateur photographer who encourages Lexi to look at herself in a whole different way. But the secondary characters were also fantastic. Unlike some characters in YA, Lexi has a supportive family. Her blunt, fearless sister Ruth, who always had to be compared to her beautiful sister, was a standout.

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of Lexi's journey-- it was heartbreaking, funny, and inspiring. If you love contemporary YA, definitely put this book on your list.

Yesterday's review of One Moment by Kristina McBride was part one of this Before and After series. If you missed that, you can click this highlighted text to read it.


  1. So I've got another book to add to my TBR, I see. Dang it! LOL! This does sound like a really interesting read and I'm really loving contemporary YA lately :-)

  2. I'm swayed-I love YA contemp and I'm really excited about the supportive family, especially the sister (I love YA stories about sisters!)

  3. I really loved this one -- it reminded me of one of the edgier Sarah Dessen books. And the sister relationship was really a highlight!

    After I get back from vacation, I'll be giving my copy away!

  4. Ahhhh. This sounds so good! I will have to add it to my list. I think I need to sit down and plan my reading for the next... ten years or so.

    1. I know. But I think you'd like this one!

  5. Yes this is definitely on my list to read. And great choice putting this after One Moment. True there is no mystery but both books go very well together. It sounds like this book is written beautifully and I look forward to feeling all the emotions.

  6. This sounds fabulous! It's on my list and I'll be reading it soon!

  7. You make this book sound interesting to me when I hadn't really wanted to read it before. Hmmm. I have been struggling with my contemporary YA, finding my books a little "meh". Maybe this one will end my rut? Maybe I just need a vacay? Either way, thanks for the review!

  8. MY LIFE IN BLACK & WHITE is one I am absolutely looking forward to & Hallelujah for a supportive family!!

  9. I absolutely Love this cover. And I love your themed reviews. I hope you continue them in the future. I've wanted to read this for awhile and well... now... I want to read it more!

  10. It sounds like you really liked this one, Jen. Yay! for supportive families in YA:)

  11. There was some very heartbreaking scenes. My heart was beating so fast and I was so angry! She was way nice and forgiving. I would have made all those girls life hell! I can't believe what horrible friends they were. I found her anger and struggles very realistic. I imagine going through sometimes like that right before starting high school would be so difficult especially losing all your friends. I was also mad at the brother Jarrod who was basically to blame. He never even apologized.

  12. I wasn't too sure of this one, so I hadn't put it on my TBR list. But I'm glad you enjoyed it, I think I'll give it a shot now! I've had this craving for YA Contemporary for the past few days so I've decided that I'm going to go on a YA Contemporary reading binge once I finish Graceling and after I read Pandemonium (because it's a library book). I might have to add this one and One Moment to the list!


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