Review: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Book Reviews

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

4 Stars

I loved that I knew who Gabe was without a doubt. He never once made me feel confused about the identity of the character I was reading. His voice rang so true. Even with his certainty though, he’s very shy about it. This book is more about Gabe dealing with acceptance and about being more open and out.

His public radio program, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, is a huge help in getting Gabe out of his shell. He gets to put himself out there without having to actually be out there before he’s ready. And with his gaining popularity on the program, he starts getting attention from girls, but there’s always also going to be some closed-minded idiots that bring trouble. There’s just a lot to deal with, and it’s never easy, but the point is he’s trying and staying true to himself.

Music plays a HUGE role in this book. It’s almost like another character in the story. Lots of Elvis. And lots of other artists and bands you’re sure to know. I loved that Gabe had a mentor in John, his next door neighbor who used to be a radio DJ. Their relationship was so amazing, half the time I would forget that John was an old man. I guess coolness doesn’t go away with age. :)

Paige, Gabe’s best friend since forever, was exactly what a best friend should be like. Even when things started getting complicated for these two, I didn’t doubt her loyalty once. Gabe’s family took a little more warming up to than the rest of the characters. But Gabe’s revelation hit them hardest. At first, I didn’t think that they’d ever come around, which made me really sad for him.

This is a story that will touch your heart. It’s unique and so well told. Don’t miss out.

Book Info

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Published by Flux
Pub Date: October 8th 2012
Pages: 262
Format: Paperback | Source: Borrowed
Genres: ContemporaryYoung Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

“This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I’m Gabe. Welcome to my show.”

My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.

When you think about it, I’m like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side–not heard as often, but just as good.

It’s time to let my B side play.

What Some Friends Had to Say About It…

Estelle @ Rather Be Reading – “BMFUG is one of those books I wish could’ve gone on forever.”


Jess @ Gone with the Words

11 Responses to “Review: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills”

  1. Avatar

    Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby

    :) I enjoyed this book a LOT when I reviewed it last year and it even made it to my Top Reads of 2012 post!

    Initially I wasn’t even going to read it – I definitely avoid issue novels, but I’m so glad I gave it a chance. Not only was it a beautifully-written book, but the characters were amazing and REAL and the music was great.

    • Avatar

      Jess @ Gone with the Words

      SO happy to see another fan of this book!! I totally agree about how real they felt and totally loved the music aspect of it. :)

  2. Avatar

    Estelle / Rather Be Reading

    I am so glad that you liked this book as much as I did. Definitely one that flew under the radar when I REALLY TRIED TO SCREAM ABOUT IT AS MUCH AS I COULD. I actually bought this one for my sister for the holidays and she laughed at the title. And I’m like NO DON’T YOU LAUGH. Sigh. Really. But you are right about Gabe’s voice. So real, so true, not confusing at all.

    Thanks for linking me up, as well! I appreciate it. :) I miss Gabe.

    • Avatar

      Jess @ Gone with the Words

      I’m so happy I came across your review!! As soon as I saw it at my library I remembered you loved it, so of course I picked it up. :)

  3. Avatar


    I have this FEELING that I’m really going to fall head over heels for this story. I’m saving up so I can splurge someday soon! Great review – you showed us that this book has a lot of heart.

    • Avatar

      Jess @ Gone with the Words

      You should see if your library has it! That’s how I got to read this great book. :)

      • Avatar


        I will have to do that. One of my goals is to read more “adult” books this year, and that one just seems so good!

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    This one is on my TBR pile. I pre-ordered it when I saw it available on NG, so I think it’s time to read it. Great review, Jess!

  5. Avatar

    Alexa Y.

    I really wanted to read this one after seeing it at BEA, and I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it. It’s awesome that music is a big part of this!

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