My Beautiful Failure
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My Beautiful Failure

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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  486 ratings  ·  111 reviews
A haunting account of a teen boy who volunteers at a suicide hotline and falls for a troubled caller.

Billy is a sophomore in high school, and twice a week, he volunteers at Listeners, a suicide hotline.

Jenney is an incoming caller, a girl on the brink.

As her life spirals out of control, Jenney's calls become more desperate, more frequent. Billy, struggling with the deterio...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Hilda
3.5 stars

She was a girl talking to me in the dark.

Billy is a new volunteer in the suicide hotline, and on the first day of his job, he receives a call from a girl named Jenny. Jenny told him that she was abused by her parents when she was a kid, and how her life went downhill after she started remembering the memories of the abuse. Billy wants desperately to help Jenney, but he is restricted by rules saying that it’s prohibited to form friendship with people who call. But Billy knows that Jenney...more
Zemira Warner
The main problem I had with this novel is that I just couldn't feel anything. I tried. I truly did but there was just something missing. Maybe it was the writing itself. I don't know.

Billy is a sophomore in highschool and he is having some problems with school after his father had a hard year. He was battling depression. Billy couldn't bring friends home because of his dad and he also couldn't confide with his best friend even though his mother died,so he is not totally clueless when it comes to...more
Rose

Let me start of by saying this was the most amazing first book of 2013 I could read! I liked it almost as much as I liked the Fault In Our Stars by John Green! Contemporary is my favourite genre but to be honest they are either love or hate books. This was a OMGTHISBOOKISBEAUTIFUL kind of book. Maybe I'm overreacting but it is my honest opinion. The main character Billy had some troubles with his father being bipolar the previous winter. Troubles is an understatement, it must have been so hard a...more
Heather Panella
OK, so this book is getting a lot of coverage in VOYA and School Library Journal and a lot of praise from readers, but honestly, I'm a tad bit unsure as to why. The pacing is slow and I didn't really start enjoying it until the last 1/3 of the book. I didn't like Billy or anyone in his family and I was a bit annoyed with the entire cast of characters taking such a light outlook on poor mental health. It had a lot of potential, especially with all of the heavy issues woven into, but failed short...more
Jolene Perry
Interesting book.
Authentic teen language.
Loved the storyline.
Heartbreaking and real.
BAYA Librarian
Billy’s father had a mental breakdown. A year later Billy can seem to stop himself from monitoring and analyzing his father’s every move. Finally things come to a head and Billy’s father suggests that it might be time for him to take on another project. Wanting to make a difference Billy starts to volunteer at Listeners, a suicide prevention hotline. Over the following weeks Billy becomes drawn to one of his regular callers an older teen named Jenney. Billy must decide what is more important the...more
FloeticFlo
I haven't had such a reaction to a book in awhile. I am not even sure how I feel about this. Let me explain...

I started reading this book, and I didn't like it. But the chapters are short (some are only a few paragraphs or a single page) and that makes for a quick and easy read. The more I read, the more I didn't like Billy, the main character. Like, really not a fan. So much so, that I grabbed a notebook and started writing down all the things I didn't like about Billy. (I won't take up space w...more
Brooklyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyle
Jun 09, 2013 Kyle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who are tired of cliche YA approaches to romance
3.5 stars

I respect Young for taking a non-traditional approach to the love story, and for making the ending actually realistic and brave, even if it isn't what readers want to happen. Loved the concept, and the writing flowed pretty well too.

However, I never connected to any of the side characters, and Billy and Jenny weren't strong enough to carry the entire book for me. I also didn't like how the possibility of (view spoiler) was just dropped all of a...more
Elisee
Spoiler alert: some novels just give everything away in their title.
It was a "beautiful" story concept--teenage boy befriends female caller at suicide hotline--but the main character just "failed" to live up to his role entirely.

No offense to the author, but I felt like Janet Young made a mockery of this type of subject matter by turning it into a really bad soap opera, in writing:

1)the chapters were so short that I felt I was being deprived of depth, more insight into Jenney's situation, which...more
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
My Beautiful Failure is an EPIC story that all teens should read. I have to say that it took me a day and a half to read because I had to put it down. This is a haunting tale of love, loss and finding your way through tragedy.

Billy is a 16 year old boy who has been through a lot. His father is suffering from depression and even though he is some what okay Billy fears for his father everyday. So when his father decides he is going to start painting again Billy is scared. He does not want his fath...more
Melissa
I tried to finish this book. I tried to like this story. I tried, but I just couldn't do it. The main character was not appealing, the "savior" aspect of the book was not believable, and the "Listeners" help line was slightly rediculous.

Billy, the main character, begins working at a suicide hotline in an attempt to help people. He feels he needs to do something important after what happened with his dad. Last winter, Billy's dad had a breakdown. He began taking medication in order to even himse...more
Rachel Kristine
Alright. This book started out good. It had an interesting plot line. Billy was volunteering at a place called the Listeners which took calls from people who were having a rough time. Then he gets a call from someone named Jenney. He begins to find himself falling in love with her as they talk through the Listeners more and more. That's where things started to go downhill for me. I didn't think that he should have been falling in love with her. He didn't know her besides her problems. I mean, sh...more
Wisteriouswoman
The reason I liked this book was that it was so different from other teen novels I've read recently. There is a quirkiness in the way it is written: the short chapters, the back and forth between the present and the future, and the dialog on the phone at the Listening center.

I didn't like whiney Jennie at all but could see why Billy might be drawn in by her and want to be her savior. On one hand he seems like a normal immature teen boy who is full of himself. On the other hand, he sounds like an...more
Stella Hastune
Working in a suicide hotline is not kinda a good idea to me in the first parts i am reading this book. my beautiful failure is the most fatal failure a guy could ever experience.
much more to his experience from his dad about what happen during the time on his winter break that almost break up his family. just because his father got a mental breakdown due to the stresses of his work. That leads him to believe that his family's interaction towards his father's new hobby; painting.
He soon figur...more
Amanda
thoughts on this one? Not a fan. I really think that the basic idea behind the story was interesting, but the way it was executed did not do it justice. My biggest problem was the character development, or should I say, lack thereof. Everyone from Billy, to his friend Gordy to Jenney were boring and two dimensional. I kept expecting there to be some sort of purpose, or meaning behind the story, but I'm really not sure there was one.

My second problem with this book is the ending. The first half...more
Shee
What was written at the back of the book was really inviting. Now, I learned that you should not judge the book by its synopsis. :)
I was indeed beautiful, from the title itself. But I am afraid that I should say, reading this book is one of my beautiful failures this summer. But its worth committing for. :)
I am a fan of tragic love stories and i never really expected it to be one of those TLS. That was surprising though. It was not a cliche. I never really expected that apartment moment though...more
Alyssa Harvey
I really wanted to love this book. But I couldn't bring myself to it. I literally found myself hating the main character. He is so incredibly selfish and oblivious to how he is hurting his father. The ending was kind of predictable, about half-way through the book I kind of guessed what was going to happen.
Amanda Cruz
How do you imagined to meet your soulmate? Do you ever wonder how many ludicrous and unexpected ways is there for you to cross your soulmate's path?
This novel is a unique story about Billy and his special connection with Jenny (literal connection). This is not a typical love connection. Because of all the places they can possibly talk/meet, they end up in a suicide hotline where all the callers if not obsessed in talking about how miserable they are, is consume by so much depression.
Because o...more
Regina
Jan 08, 2014 Regina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like an easy, well-thought off novel that can teach a thing or two about life
I'm glad My Beautiful Failure shaped up pretty good from beginning to end. I was waiting for it to disappoint but it didn't. Instead, it impressed me in a way that I have a new found knowledge about life and hope written from a different perspective.

It was an easy read. It took me a day to finish everything with breaks in between even. But it didn't slack on depth and story. Sure, details may sometimes seem distant but it didn't matter because I am loving the flow of the story anyway.

The charac...more
Library Linsey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J-rose
The book tells about a guy who volunteered to be a listener in suicide hotline. [And I can’t imagine myself volunteering that kind of service cause even the people I know personally I don’t even know what to do when they are upset or in trouble, how can I help other especially strangers? And imagining that someone will tell me that they wanted to end their life or wanted to have a suicide, it is so frightening I may be stunned, if panicked rise through me I lost all my senses and became like an...more
Mark
4.5 stars.

I finished this on the way home and...
my feelings are crazy.

I need to get my feelings straight.

Full review to come.
Jarl Hong'en
This book is really great, it made ME get caught in the story line that i forgot it was merely just a book! Although it didn't ended the socially correct way but it just shows how harsh the reality is. Sometimes losing things, opportunities or maybe even someone can be relatively sudden but it definitely makes us realize the importance of cherishing, appreciating and loving everything that we possess. The conversations between Jenney and Billy is so real and heartwarming sometimes, i wish that t...more
Maui
This book is one of the best yet one of the saddest book that I've ever read. I love how the story goes and how matured the protagonist is. I have no idea what will be the story about so I got surprised to find its beauty as I read it. I love how the author applies Psychology and Art. Overall, it was a wonderful book for me.

I was in the middle of the class when I finished reading the book and I want to burst and cry but I can't but my insides are aching. Sometimes in life we experience failures...more
Chrissie
one and a half stars

My Beautiful Failure was an incredibly frustrating read, even as it touched upon important issues.

My Beautiful Failure follows young Billy as he and his family recovers from his father's debilitating depression in the winter of last year. When his father begins painting again in an almost manic fashion, Billy is worried that this is a sign that his father is either falling into depression once more or developing bipolar disorder. His father challenges him to find a project...more
Kin
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Ever since I purchased this book, I already expected two things: either the suicidal lives or she dies.
And I can't stop thinking, is she really okay? What if she just made up anything. And it felt kind of useless to write such thing if she's going to die and she's lying. I really hope she's not lying. And I once wished that something magical would happen. Like it wasn't actually Jenney who lives in that apartment and died. Like, she's still...more
Hannah
I was really excited for My Beautiful Failure: the idea sounded unique and intriguing. A love story between a suicide hotline volunteer and a caller sounded problematic, yes, but I assumed that those problems would be addressed in the novel. Sadly, though, that isn't the case: I had a lot of issues with the way Billy handles the situation, and the way that the story never really addresses how problematic this whole thing is. The rest of the story didn't work for me, either, making My Beautiful F...more
Sylvia
MY BEAUTIFUL FAILURE
Janet Ruth Young

What I LIKE About It

1. I like the plot of the story; the originality of the story makes it an interesting read. That’s what convinced me to read the book. It is all about the plot.

2. I like that the book has short chapters, but every chapter helps you to understand where the story is going.

3. I like the main character Billy – you can feel that he always wants to help the people around him. I also like the connection of Billy and Jenney (supporting character) e...more
Marisa
I received My Beautiful Failure through the First Reads program on goodreads.com
The novel is about Billy who is a sophmore in high school. He volunteers a couple of nights a week at Listeners which is a suicide hotline. Through Listeners he meets and "Incoming" named Jenney. Jenneys life is spiraling out of control and more frequent. While this is going on Billy is also dealing with problems of his own that involve his depressed father. During Jenneys phone calls Billy starts falling in love wit...more
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Janet Ruth Young, who lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, graduated from Salem State College and from the creative writing program at Boston University. She was a co-editor of the literary magazine stet and a founder of Writers' Circle, the writing workshop at the Cambridge Women's Center. Having left her job as a textbook editor to pursue a career as a novelist, Janet has published three novels w...more
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