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My Beautiful Failure

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  731 ratings  ·  149 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,” a caller, a girl on the brink.
     As her life spirals out of control, Jenney’s calls become more desperate, more frequent. Billy, struggling w
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  731 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) 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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Heather Panella
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Aamira Yaseen
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
'She was a girl talking to me in the dark.' A beautiful and quick read. It's the novel that every teen must read. It is about love, pain, depression and HOPE and the strength to forgive in the darkest of times. Depression deprives some people of their lives while others keep struggling and continue to live. . After putting up with his father who suffered from depression a whole year, Billy joins Listeners, a suicide hotline. After that, he keeps recieving calls from a girl, Jenney whose parents ...more
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish there were half stars on here. This would have been 3.5*
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
BAYA Librarian
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
EDIT AGAIN: ugh I have to fix my rating system and make 2.5 stars a 2 so that I can rate things 3.5 stars and not have to make them 4 stars but if I rate them 3 stars rn then it looks like I hated them as much as THIS book so from now on I round down

EDIT: talking to a friend and I just realized wtf is this title even

Three stars is generous, I think maybe it’s more like 2.5

I wanted to like this book more than I did. I was already having a hard time because the writing wasn’t the best. As bad as
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
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
4.5 of 5 stars

Billy wants to be a psychologist and he's practically an expert already. After his dad's bout of clinical depression last year, Billy knows he'll be the best volunteer The Listeners, a depression/suicide hotline, has ever had, even better than the adults and college students who've had a lot of training and experience. He eagerly anticipates calls from a suicidal people, but mostly ends up talking to people just having a bad day. Then he answers Jenney's call nod slowing gets drawn
Sierra Hunt
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Amanda Cruz
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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
May 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychological
Did not see that coming at all. It was very different from what I expected but it was okay. To me, this book is on a very serious note of how a problematic boy met a problematic girl. Definitely not a light read for me but I do appreciate it very much. I've learned a lot from this book as well. It also got my attention because I am interested with Psychology. Plus the hotline plot is very interesting as well. Can't really decide if I should give it a 3 or 4. I'm in between it so I'm going to giv ...more
I started this because of the compelling story line and I can say, with all honesty, that I did not expect it to be this bad. It was extremely poorly written and all the characters seemed overly juvenile, as if the author was trying to prove that this was in fact a young adult book. It seemed like a mockery of a very serious topic, in fact Billy himself treated it as a mere "project". I was disappointed to say the least.
I didn't even finish it because life's too short to put up with crap.
Alyssa Harvey
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!? WASTED MY DAMN TIME. Probably first book that I've hated and will never EVER read again. Predictable plot, I hate the way it was written and it has no direction. ...more
Most of my Psychtember reviews will be formatted differently than my standard reviews, to reflect the mental health theme. I've structured things as though the book is the patient and I'm giving it an assessment. Each axis is an aspect of the book that I'll give my thoughts on (characters, plot, etc.), and the validity score refers to how psychologically accurate I think the book is. Then I may list some other books that this one "shares symptoms with" (i.e. novels dealing with similar topics) a ...more
Michelle Wrona
This review can also be found on A Thousand Lives Lived, check it out for more reviews!

*4.5 star rating*

What’s outrageously hilarious here is that I’m sitting here, dying of laughter while I’m writing this. I ACTUALLY LOVED THIS BOOK! *kisses the floor because of love* The thing is—you cannot even imagine how afraid I was to pick this up. I honestly expected so much worse. I was ready for dazing, daydreaming and procrastinating, anything to get me away from reading this book. But then,
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Janet Ruth Young 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. Janet has published three novels with Atheneum Books for Young Readers, a division of Simon & Schuster.

The Opposite of Music (2007), about a teen boy

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