Review: White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert
White Trash Beautiful (White Trash Trilogy #1)
by: Teresa Mummert
Publication Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Source: e-ARC received from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 240 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 5/5 stars
"Look for the girl with the broken smile..." (Maroon 5)
This is going to be an insanely difficult review to write because this book literally shattered me. I will never be able to convey the myriad of emotions this book put me through. I don't normally pair songs with books, but without a doubt the lyrics of Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved" summarizes this book so incredibly well. So, I have placed them strategically throughout my review.
First of all, I thought Teresa did an incredible job of developing Cass's character. My heart literally remained broken for her for most all of the novel. We meet Cass and her life is anything but easy. Working at a less than ideal diner, she attempts to provide for her mom and her loser boyfriend, both of whom are too strung out on drugs to actually do something themselves. Cass is left with all of the responsibility and must deal with the backlash of her boyfriend when she doesn't have the money to support his drug habit. Sadly, Cass is holding on to the hope that he can change and go back to the way he was, before he started using. No longer is he the boy who protected her from bullies at school who would make fun of her for being poor. Now he is a man who shatters her with his words and beats her down both physically and verbally. Her self-worth is shot and we are left with a broken, vulnerable woman who longs for more. Yet she still manages to have the determination to save her family and seek a better life.
Cass's world is turned upside down the day Tucker White walks into her diner. Cass is wary of him, as she knows how guys will swoop in from the highway looking for a good lay. Tucker is kind, attentive, and sees beyond the shields she's slammed into place. He sees the brokenness in Cass and feels a need to protect this woman. Cass is blindsided by this man's sincerity and generosity. She makes it quite clear she doesn't want to be anyone's charity case, and does not make it easy for Tucker. Yet, he won't give up. He continues to come in and show kindness and an interest in her.
"I want to make you feel beautiful..." (Maroon 5)
Tucker does not pressure Cass into anything and while he is persistent, he still leaves the ball in her court. He is outraged at the way her boyfriend treats her and constantly tells her she could do so much better than him. Tucker, however, is a rather vague character and I still feel like there is a lot more to learn about him. He eventually convinces Cass to go out with him, but has withheld his identity from her. I can understand why he did- as a musician he felt the need to guard his heart, as well- he didn't want her to look at him differently or treat him like one of those starstruck groupies. We do find out he has a similar past to hers and he opens up to her, wanting to show her she can trust him. I love that Tucker is real. He doesn't expect her to just open up to him, trust him, and hand over her heart. He doesn't want that either. Bit by bit he proves to her that she deserves so much more and that her future hasn't already been decided. He makes her feel alive and she finds herself daring to hope. He is able to put a smile on her face and truly shows her that her life could be different. He doesn't make any promises he can't keep- he knows he's a musician on the road, but he can't just let her go either.
Cass tries so hard to fight the feelings she has for Tucker because she knows they can never be. She feels doomed to be trailer trash for the rest of her life and she shouldn't encourage this man. She thinks he deserves better and definitely does her share of trying to run him off. The two do not have an easy road ahead of them- Cass is still fragile, especially after the ordeal she faces towards the end of the book. Just when I would feel my heart starting to heal for Cass, something else would happen to break it again. I really did read this book with bated breath.
"It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along..." (Maroon 5)
I felt bad for Cass's mom. Having been abandoned by her husband, she fell into a spiral of drug abuse and hasn't been able to pull herself out. I don't blame Cass for not wanting to leave her, but at the same time, Tucker is right: it's not Cass's job to be the parent. I don't want to reveal how this situation plays out, as it is both hopeful and tragic at the same time.
Jackson (Jax) is Cass's boyfriend. Ugh. Every time he showed up I pretty much wanted Tucker to come beat this guy down. Teresa does a great job of showing flashbacks to the time in Cass's life where things weren't horrible, and seeing a younger Jax who would take care and protect her made you ache for the scum he was now. It just goes to show you that drugs can completely alter a person and they really do wreck lives. The old, protective Jax would have never laid his hands on Cass in anger and certainly would never pressure her into doing something she didn't want to do.
I think what made this story so incredibly heart-wrenching is that you know it's real. And you know it happens to women every single day. Women who feel they are stuck in a hole and cannot climb back up or feel as if they are obligated to be the one to save the ones they love from drug abuse. The fact is, Jax and her mom had to be the ones to want to change. Cass could try as hard as she wanted, but if they had no will to go seek help, she really couldn't do anything. Every time she suggested it to Jax, he would laugh it off and ignore her.
As emotionally distressing as this book was, I highly recommend it. I am anxious to see where Teresa takes Cass and Tucker in the next book "White Trash Damaged".