Review: My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

my life in black and white

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

Lexi has always been known as the beautiful girl.  Her sister Ruthie is the smart one.  Her best friend Taylor is the fun one.  But that all changes when Lexi and Taylor go to a high school party.  When Lexi sees her best friend together with her boyfriend, she thinks her world has ended.  But then she is in a car accident and her face goes through the windshield.  Now Lexi has to figure out how to go on after losing the one thing that defined her beyond everything else, her beauty.  Plus she has to face it all without her best friend or her boyfriend by her side.  It’s like she lost everything in one single night, and maybe she did.

Friend excels at honesty in her teen novels.  Lexi starts out as a fairly vain young woman but after her series of disasters, readers are firmly on her side.  It is wonderful to see a book that takes the time to explore the process of grief, anger and finally acceptance so fully.  Lexi is a young woman who is strong, vital and much more than her face.  As the book proceeds, readers see beyond the beauty just as Lexi herself is discovering that there is more to her as well.

The writing here is clear and clean.  Friend explores not just Lexi’s relationship with her friends, but also how her sister is affected and how her parents cope.  There are no easy situations here, her father wants to fix everything and her relationship with her mother completely shatters.  There are sexual situations in this book, making it firmly a teen novel more appropriate for high school audiences.

There is plenty of pain in this novel, plenty of growth, but it is also smart and funny, just like Lexi herself.  Appropriate for ages 16-18.