DAMAGED BEAUTY #MonaAshleigh by Richard Levine #YA #BookReview

Mona Ashleigh is the new girl in school and she is the most beautiful, perfect and intelligent girl around. What surprises the underdogs at school is that she makes friends with them. They are the defective kids; the ones that have no friends other than those just like them. This book goes straight to the heart of the matter and talks about the troubles and discrimination these special kids face.


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Why would she become friends with them and not the normal kids? Bugboy is the one who is fascinated by Ashleigh and bit by bit tries to understand that how is Ashleigh defective. Once he understands her fragile mental and emotional state, he tries his best to help and support her.

 I have read the book Two Kids by Richard earlier and found this one to be equally interesting and relevant for us. He has written this book with so much heart. Mona Ashleigh talks about mental health and depression, we must share and talk about it as much as possible.

Children are the sweetest little people ever but they can also be cruel and mean. Ashleigh fights for the defectives against the normal kids and helps them in their studies too. Trips, outing, and studies bring the kids closer and the defectives find happiness within their circle.

Bugboy is elated to be friends with Mona Ashleigh but when he learns of her fragile interior he understands that external appearance doesn’t matter.




What Works:

·         The story has a strong and important message for kids and parents.

·         Life lessons that will resonate with every kid.

·         Well developed characters with nicknames and shared times.

·         Felt like a real-life story. Could be any of the young kids around us.

·         The twists, small incidents in the daily life of the kids and medical emergencies were engrossing to read.

·         Had a good emotional connect with the characters.


Some Slips:

·         The test is full of long paragraphs that are difficult to read.

·         I found the ramblings of Bugboy a bit self-absorbed at times. Could be teenage thinking.

·         Should have a tag-line since the title doesn’t express the story idea fully.


Mona Ashleigh tells the story of looking beyond the obvious and being kind. I think all teenagers and adults should read it. Children can suffer in various ways and many find self-harm, suicide the easy way out. Physical trouble is easy to spot but emotional makes a deeper stronger impact on the victim.

In these times of high suicide rate of teenagers and young adult, we must share and read as much as possible about Mona Ashleigh and the defectives.


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Mona Ashleigh


Richard Levine

Fourteen-year-old “Bugboy” is baffled when beautiful, Brazil-nut-eyed Ashleigh sits at the school lunchroom table he shares with his other “Defective” friends.

Is this the first salvo in a mischievous prank orchestrated by the “Normals,” or is it serendipitous, as Bugboy, a serial crusher, is currently crushing on Ashleigh?

Serendipitous perhaps, but not accidental. As their friendship blossoms, Bugboy discovers that Ashleigh is not only beautiful, brilliant, and in possession of rare physical grace, but also, as fragile a person as he has ever known.

Getting to know her is a fantasy come true, but behind the fantasy, a grim reality lurks, readying to punch back. 


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