by David Donavel

Stunningly beautiful and formidably intelligent, Melanie Michaels arrives at Tribourne College with the full knowledge that her beauty, compelling as it may be, will fade. Melanie’s good looks and academic success spark an incurable envy in Ellie French, an overweight and unattractive student nearly as bright as Melanie. Ellie watches as Melanie effortlessly charms Tyler Phillips, the creative star of Tribourne, the young man Ellie longs for but despairs of every having for her own. Her envy eats at her, but she sees no way to strike back at Melanie, to make her pay for her beauty.

Ellie rooms with Vicki Haines whose exotic sexuality and easy morals have earned her a questionable reputation at Tribourne. When one of Vicki’s conquests, the academically feckless Adam Griffin, starts receiving help in his English course from Melanie, Ellie’s sees her chance. Through suggestion and manipulation, she induces Vicki to strike up a romance with Tyler, her goal being to destroy the relationship Melanie enjoys with him. Her plot succeeds all too well bringing unintended consequences upon the heads of all of the individuals involved.

This novel is about the various responses we have to physical loveliness, but it is also about varieties of moral and psychological beauty and as much as anything else, about the role reading can play in our lives. For people who enjoy good books and the power they have to shape our perceptions, Beauty will be a fine read.

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