Review: White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

Publisher: Gallery Books
Pub. Date: July 9th, 2013 (first published in 2012)
240 pages

I had such mixed feelings about this book. The things that I loved, I thought were done really well, while the things I didn’t love, I didn’t feel got the treatment they deserved.

Cass Daniels is perpetually down on her luck. Working as a waitress to support herself, and her mother, and her boyfriend Jax, is neither inspiring, nor fulfilling. She carries the weight of their needs, and her own disappointment about her life, on her shoulders. Cass is not only providing her family with a roof over their heads and food, but she is ultimately supplying them with the money they need to keep their increasingly severe drug habits going. When Tucker White walks in to Cass’ diner, he represents things that Cass doesn’t understand. Most significantly Cass doesn’t quite get why he’s so interested in her. Tucker has a lot of secrets, but in Cass he sees someone that would not only understand the bad in his life, like his childhood, but someone who wouldn’t be overly influenced by the good, namely his growing fame and wealth. Cass and Tucker’s relationship makes both want more out of their life, and through each other they find the strength to demand more.

Cass’ character is one of the things I loved about this novel. Voices and experiences like hers I feel are underrepresented (appropriately) in fiction. She is ultimately a very strong character, who grows a lot, and who I admired in terms of her resilience. But, Cass and Tuckers relationship is something I had
very mixed feelings over. I never buy love at first sight and I definitely didn’t buy the ‘protect at all costs after knowing someone five minutes’ instinct that was built in Tucker. Still, I was more frustrated that Cass chose to stay with Jax physically, even if she had left him emotionally, once she begins a relationship with Tucker. Her reasons to stay, when she had an obvious out, were not good enough for me. I completely bought their relationship when it was just Cass and Tucker, but with all the secondary drama circling, I became more and more frustrated.

The pacing of the novel was also something that frustrated me. The first half of the novel goes day-by-day, highlighting Cass’ struggles, especially her struggle to understand her feelings for Tucker. A great amount of character growth is evident in the first half, which completely halts when the pacing drastically picks up in the second half. I began to not understand why or how characters were making certain decisions because of the speed in which the information was presented. Ultimately, my confusion over why things were happening took me out of the story and I never found my way back in.

I feel like there was so much promise with this novel and I’m disappointed that for me, it didn’t meet that potential.  Hopefully the next novel in the series (out sometime in 2014) will be able to flush out the storylines and add some much needed explanation to some of White Trash Beautiful’s events.

Rating 5/10 – Completely down the middle because my feelings about the novel were completely split between like and dislike.  

** I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated.  

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