Beautiful Creatures Read Along Week 1

EDIT:  Ha! Just kidding. Sorry for the miscommunication everybody! Ruby and I got our wires crossed, so I mistakenly sent you over to her blog when you really, um, should have come to mine. Gulp.
Anyhootles, without any further ado, here is Week 1 of our Read Along!

With the impending release of the Beautiful Creatures movie, Ruby at Ruby’s Reads asked if anyone was up for a read-along of the book. I hadn’t read it yet, and I’m always down for reading a book before seeing the movie, so I said yes please!

We divided the book into four sections, and for the next four Tuesdays we’re trading off asking each other questions about each section. Today I’m presenting my first round of questions, and Ruby’s responses. Next week you can visit Ruby’s Reads to see what answers I have for Ruby!

Thanks again for coming up with this event, Ruby! I don’t know why I resisted this book for so long. I am eating this thing up! You’d think given the number of times I flipped through its pages I would’ve noticed that it’s from Ethan’s perspective, but…um…I didn’t. So anyway, here are my questions:
1) How do you like the book from Ethan’s point of view? Does it feel like his story or Lena’s?
At this point, the story is definitely Ethan’s, and I like how Beautiful Creatures has turned the trope of the mysterious, hot guy who moves into the small town and catches the heroine’s eye on its head. This time, the mysterious character is the girl and the boy’s about to have his world shaken up.
2) Is the small town versus outsider scenario working for you? Or is the jock in love with the outcast too played out?
Oh, ha! I didn’t even think about that. It’s more that I’m irritated with Ethan’s holier than thou attitude. He thinks of himself as being different from the people in his town, but then he acts just like them. Doesn’t it make it worse that he’s aware that the behaviors are ridiculous, but he participates in them anyway? 

I mean, Ethan’s constant harping on how things in Gatlin never change was starting to wear on me–especially when they concerned small things like the fact that he and his best friend have the same conversation every morning. He was blaming the town for the rut he was in, but he was responsible, too. Fortunately, Lena’s appearance didn’t just stir him out of his lethargy. It made him consider–for the first time–how much he was contributing to it. 

If anything, I’d say Beautiful Creatures is, perhaps, drawing too many paralells with To Kill a Mockingbird. Or maybe it’s that I wish it would draw on it with a bit more subtlety? Like, without mentioning the book so often? 

Have I answered your question? Maybe not. I will say that I find myself wondering if people are really still that close-minded, even in the South. Of course, having only visited New Orleansonce, I can hardly be considered an expert. Still, the internet and television have globalized even the smallest of towns. I go back and forth. 

3) What is going on with the locket? We’re getting all kinds of odd things happening now – telepathy, hints of voodoo from Amma, broken windows, crazy dreams, songs, and now full blown visions. Does Ethan seem like he’s handling this a bit too well, or is he at an appropriate level of freaked-out-edness?
Ah, well, I have my theories about the locket, but I’m not ready to share them. I’m totally the one who guesses who the murderer is at the beginning of the TV show. I’m not great at sitting back and letting the mystery unravel. Which is funny, because I love mysteries. Go figure!

About Ethan, I think his dreams help to prevent a freak-out. He’s experienced the weirdness with his own eyes, so it’s a bit harder to deny. Also, it seems like Amma’s voodoo might have inured him to possibility of magic. Or, er, whatever. Finally, since he’s not making ginormous leaps of logic (SHE BROKE THE WINDOW WITH HER MIND!!), I feel like it’s one of the better introductions to the paranormal that I’ve read in a while. 

4) I’m a bit confused about where the story is going. What are your thoughts on how this is playing out? Are you getting antsy for answers like me, or are you happy to ride it out and see where it goes?
Well, like I said, I speculate, even from the beginning, and I’m not antsy for answers. Beautiful Creatures hasn’t pulled me in, yet, like it has you. I’m pretty excited about Ravenwood (the house) and Ravenwood (the uncle), but by this time, we already know that something Big is going to happen on Lena’s birthday and that there’s some kind of connection between Civil War Ethan and Present Day Ethan, and I’m going to assume the same about Genevieve and Lena. I’m kind of hoping that the answers aren’t the ones I’ve already worked out in my head…
Thanks for the great responses Ruby! You’ve given me a lot to think about as we move into part two of our discussion.
Don’t forget to come back next Tuesday, and please chime in with your own responses in the comments!




14 thoughts on “Beautiful Creatures Read Along Week 1

    • Awesome! I had to wait foreeever for my copy to finally come in off hold, and even still, by then I’d already gotten impatient and bought it for my Kindle. Heh.

  1. I’m still not sure why this pulled me in so much. I think part of it is that I’ve been reading so many dystopians lately that the switch to paranormal felt fresh.

    I’m with you on Ethan being such a downer. We get it. You don’t like Gatlin. Most people have some feelings of resentment and the need to escape from their hometowns, but he takes it to a whole new level. And despite those feelings, he still hangs out with the judgy crowd and does the same things he’s always done. You don’t want to be the same guy? Maybe don’t go out for the basketball team (and btw, the team feels like an afterthought in this book).

    • I think the basketball team is kind of symbolic of the things that Ethan ends up pulling away from. Although, it doesn’t often come off as an attempt to make Ethan sound like a guy–as though maybe the authors were aware that, as two women, they needed to make sure their voice didn’t sound too feminine. Like, what do guys think about? I KNOW! Sports!

  2. You probably couldn’t tell the book was from Ethan’s perspective because he sounds like a chick, what with all his detailed accounts of what Lena is wearing, lack of manliness, and other feminine characteristics.

    Ok, sorry, I’m done snarking.

    No, wait, I lied. I’m not done. Because I just read Ruby’s second answer and I SO AGREE. “Holier than thou” is a perfect description for Ethan.

    As for the small town southern stuff, Garcia and Stohl were straight up offensive. I don’t really get offended by books (I’m more of a shrug it off and focus on the rest of the story kind of reader), but they took it too far for me. My family lives in South Carolina, and while they are certainly SOUTHERN, they’re a far cry from the uneducated, closed-minded morons who NEVER use the library Garcia and Stohl seem to think describe every southerner. Except Ethan, his mom, and his librarian (because they all were effectively northerners).

    And, yeah, the To Kill a Mockingbird comparisons were annoying and so obvious I literally cringed every time I read them. Now, I know I spent some time growing up in the south, but I HAVE actually read To Kill a Mockingbird (gasp) and I actually did manage to grasp the parallels (second gasp, though perhaps that’s because they were SO obvious. Maybe if they were subtler I wouldn’t have been able to follow, being at least a partial product of southern learnin’, after all).

    *ahem* Sorry. NOW I’m done snarking. Or venting. Looking forward to more of your discussions ladies! This is fun seeing your thoughts unfold as you read the book. 🙂

    • SO many good points, as usual, Small! Where to begin?

      Well, I definitely wondered about small-town Southern life. I live in a small town, but it’s not much like the one described in this book. Since I don’t live in the South, however, I don’t know whether to be skeptical or just admit that things might be different there. On the other hand, I agree that it’s unlikely that the entire town would follow the hive mind.

      On the other hand, I have to admit that Ethan’s focus on Lena’s clothing didn’t really occur to me. It is, however, why I will never attempt to write from the male perspective. I don’t have it in me.

    • Yeah, I think any time you try to paint a small community as THAT one note and similar, you get into trouble. I found it hard to believe that there wasn’t more camaraderie among the kids – wouldn’t there be some like Ethan, desperate to get out? Are they really ALL drinking the adult Kool-Aid?

      Love your thoughts Small!

  3. I love these questions and the points that are being brought up. I read the book a while ago, so I don’t remember everything, but I like the point about Ethan being a contributor to his rut.

  4. Pingback: Reading a Deux: Beautiful Creatures Week 3 - Ruby's Reads

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