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The Beautiful Ones by Kody Boye - Book Review

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The Beautiful Ones
by Kody Boye
(The Beautiful Ones #1)
Publication date: May 26th 2018
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

My mother once said that only the Beautiful Ones survive. This is because, in the war-torn Great South, beauty is a currency, and to have it means you will never have to worry about a thing.
The only problem is: beauty is judged by our capital’s Gentlewomen, and there is no guarantee that we will pass their test.
Every year, the Gentlewomen of the capital leave the Glittering City to oversee the annual Procession. They travel settlement to settlement selecting girls, aged sixteen and older, to become Beautiful Ones. If chosen, we will be lifted into a life of luxury, but the cost is our free will.

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The Beautiful Ones is the first book in a series, and it introduces us to Kelendra Byron, a 16 year old girl who dreams of being chosen as a Beautiful One. She lives in poverty, but if chosen, she will get to move to the Glittering City and have everything her heart could ever desire. Thankfully, Kelendra knows she's beautiful, since she's been told that all her life. And, thankfully, she is chosen to move to the City. Unfortunately, being beautiful isn't all it's cracked up to be, and Kelendra slowly starts to realize that maybe she's not quite ready to give up her free will.
I have to say, I was fascinated by the synopsis when I first read it. The cover also drew me in. I'm a sucker for YA dystopian novels, and this one gave off Hunger Games meets Uglies meets Chemical Garden (trilogy) vibes. I was curious to see how using beauty as a currency would play out.
I'll admit, I wasn't quite sold on the story, although it was a good read, and I'd be keen to read the other books in the trilogy to see where Kelendra's journey takes her. I was a bit annoyed by the whole "beauty is the most important thing ever" vibe, mostly because that's how society has always seemed to be. Nowadays, if you're stick-thin, big-chested, blonde, etc, you're deemed beautiful. Doesn't matter if you have no personality or intelligence. As long as you're beautiful, that's all that matters. Can we say ugh? It made sense for the story (although Kelendra doesn't seem to be big-chested or dumb; just a bit naive, which makes sense), but it also irked me. Give me average (or what society would consider below average) beauty with brains and a good personality over someone shallow and empty-headed any day. 
Anyway... the idea behind the story was intriguing, but I felt it could have been a bit more fleshed out. Same goes for the world building. I would have liked to know more about what started the War. Why was it still ongoing? Why is beauty the most important (other than needing to keep the gene pool "perfect") thing ever? What makes someone more beautiful than someone else (especially if all of the girls have been striving for the same goal)? How did the people in the City (who are already there) come to be there, and why are they considered better than the people who live on farms or the outskirts of the desert? And why are the Rebels so against the Procession? I assume some of those questions are answered in the sequels, but I would have liked a little more in this book, to sort of set a better tone. Maybe that's just me, though.
I also noticed there were a small handful of grammatical errors within the pages, but nothing major to detract from the story itself. 
Overall, I did like the story, and I would consider continuing the series. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, but they were all written well enough for me not to hate any of them. Except maybe the Countess and her husband, even though we don't really get to know them all that much in this book.
If you're a fan of YA dystopian novels, check out The Beautiful Ones. 
3.5 stars from me. 

Born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career at fourteen with the publication of his story [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge in the Yellow Mama Webzine.

After being published nearly three-dozen times in various markets, he went independent at eighteen and currently writes horror and dark fantasy fiction.

He is the author of the young-adult science-fiction series When They Came, The Beautiful Ones trilogy, and other novels.

He currently lives and writes in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. 

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