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We Were Beautiful

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  514 ratings  ·  128 reviews
It's been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that f ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published April 2nd 2019 by Blink
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  514 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews, owned
This was such a sweet read! I really enjoyed seeing Mia's journey and the friends (Fig specifically!) that she met along the way during her stay at New York City. I loved the emphasis the author placed on not judging people based on their looks, because that's something I'm very passionate about and am constantly striving to work on.

I did find the book to be... slow and a bit boring in some places? It was basically a diary of Mia's healing process from the traumatic accident--which I do think th
Oct 09, 2018 added it
While the writing quality is good, i found the book moved on very slowly, at last for me, and that sometimes I found myself not really caring for what happened. We begin the book with Mia talking with her father about her going to spend some time with a grandmother she never has met in person, and the relation with his father is somewhat stranded as a result of a car accident that killed her sister, left her face scarred and destroyed the family unit.
Mia doesn't remember much about the accident,
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was so adorable and I loved it so much. 😍
Lisa Mandina
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was a little different than some contemporaries, but definitely had all the angst as well as humor that makes a teen story work. I liked all the characters, loved Fig's Italian family especially. It was also great to see that even as Mia struggled with her own demons of losing her sister, she still made the same mistake of assuming others hadn't been through things anywhere near what she had. Cooper was adorable, loved the idea of the mural he was making with the tiles. It was also fu ...more
Nay Denise
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorite
Received a copy for review from the publisher.

This was a phenomenal read!! I thought it was going to be a 4🌟 read, but I've honestly enjoyed this story in its entirety. I'm debating between a full 5🌟 or a 4.75🌟 rating.


After some time deliberating and going through my thoughts I've decided to just go with a 4.75🌟 rating because that ending left me hurt and wanting to know more.

This was a beautifully written contemporary that grips the heart. The writing
V. Palmer
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler was...well, BEAUTIFUL!!! I seriously loved this fun, sweet, and emotionally tugging YA romance! I laughed and cried, and now I am angry that this beautiful (I did it again, LOL!) story is over!

We meet Mia almost a year after her family falls apart when her sister died in a car accident that everyone says is her fault. And I don't want to give away any spoilers, but when Mia remembers what happens, it's clear that it was an impossible situation with mistakes th
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tayler Steele
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
*Thanks to Netgally for a copy of this book in exchange for a review!*

I didn't expect to tear through this novel in a matter of hours, but here we are. It was THAT good.

First, I was utterly charmed with the characters here - the dramatic Brunelli family, the eclectic group of friends, the complicated family of the main character, all of them! It was impossible not to get attached to each of them and not laugh along with the witty banter between them. Watching the way these characters took a holl
Samantha (WLABB)
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mentalhealth, arcs, ya, romance
Rating: 4.5 Stars

It had been almost a year since an accident claimed Mia's sister's life, and fractured her family. Her mother left physically, while her father left emotionally. Initially, Mia was resistant to spending the summer with her estranged grandmother, but it turned out to be one of the best things to happen to her since the accident.

I have a penchant for grief books, and this one was dripping with it. Mia's family had been dealing with the loss of her older sister by ignoring it and d
Mari Johnston
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
‪Such an amazing book that examines loss, grief, and guilt with my favorite found family trope! Fantastic characters and character development. ‬
Kristina (Books-and-dachshunds)
**Disclamer: I did received this book via NetGalley. This had in no way, shape or form affected my opinion on it.**

See the full review on the blog

The friendship between Mia & Fig’s friends, aswell as the Relationship between the Brunelli family is really well made! Every one within the circle of friends are all broken in their own way, while always supporting each other! Wether it’s through a bad news, or just sharing their love of art. As for the Brunelli’s, they strongly believe that family is
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler, 283 pages. Blink, 2019. $12.99

Language: PG (1 swear, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13 (alcohol consumption); Violence: PG13 (child abuse)



Mia’s family has fallen apart, and she doesn’t know what can be done to fix it. Living with a grandmother she has never met for a few weeks isn’t ideal, but Mia’s father insists that it’s for the best. With the irreversible past following her, can Mia find a future?

Tragedy i
Elizabeth Mathis
It's been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia's memory is spotty at best. She's left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume he
Ella Stertmeyer
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
We Were Beautiful, by Heather Hepler is a novel about a young teen named Mia and her journey to survive the overwhelming and debilitating guilt from being the only one to survive the car crash involving her and her sister Rachel. Mia is still dealing with physical trauma a year later, the injuries she suffered from the crash include damage to her face which left it disfigured. She describes her scar as a “rope of licorice” (pg 10) stuck to the side of her face.
After her parents essentially aba
Candyce Kirk
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
We Were Beautiful is a truly beautiful story of grief, family, friendship and learning to love yourself. Mia is still dealing with all the scars of losing her sister a few years before the story starts. It's clear that it had a big impact on their family and Mia feels that she's to blame for everything. That's why she's not in the least surprised she's being sent off to live with her grandmother who she never met.

Mia didn't only lose her sister that day, but her face was scarred pretty bad after
Rameela (Star)
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Initial thoughts: This really did get me. And it read like a Sarah Dessen novel which was nice! The main character was well done and I honestly like the way it wrapped up.

FULL REVIEW (also on

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC for an honest review.

I didn't really know what to expect when I started reading this book but I was pleasantly surprised! In the beginning, I was a bit confused because it felt like I was just thrown into th

We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler is a gorgeous contemporary novel, full of heart and emotion. We meet our main character, Mia, as her father takes her to the train station to go stay in New York City with the maternal grandmother she’s never met. We learn that Mia was in a car accident, one resulting in disfiguring scars on half of her face; that her mother left sometime thereafter; that her father can’t seem to look at her; and that her beloved older sister, Rachel, died in the same accident ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Just less than a year after her older sister's death, Mia's world shifts again when her dad sends her to spend the summer with her grandmother in New York City ... the grandmother she's never met. The accident that led to her sister's death also left Mia scarred, both externally and internally, but she can only remember bits and pieces of what happened. As the summer progresses, her memories return, and healing begins.

This is such a beautiful novel! While it does contain romance (and a cute one
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it

This book, like many other books, has a common sypnosis: healing after loss. I can't count how many books I've read about this topic.

The first part of this story was pretty boring, nothing really happened and it was all about the main character is basically shunned by her dad and then shipped off to her grandmother whom she has never met. Then she gets a job and the story really starts picking up.

People deal with loss differently – they run and hide, they back off, they try to be invisibl
Mia is stuck in a cycle of grief. She can’t quite remember what happened the night that her sister died – her mother has pretty much abandoned her and her father can’t even look at her anymore. She feels alone and wishes that she could have died in her sister’s place. She has given up on the passions she had before the accident and just wants to be invisible. She wears a constant reminder of the night that she cannot remember (or forget) on her face in the form of a disfiguring scar.

Mia goes to
Seema Rao
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
There is a genre of YA where a character deals with grief. While the actual process of dealing with hardship is slow-moving, the books, ideally, are not. We were beautiful is sadly a bit too slow to keep me interested. The main character's challenges don't help the pacing much. The rest of the characters are somewhat flat. The writing however is strong. I would say this is probably good for the die-hards of the sad teens genre but a pass for people who just like a variety of YA books.

Thanks to
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youn-adult
Cried more than I've ever cried while reading a book. The background story of all the friend group characters is deep and makes us realize that we really don't know what people have been through until the minute we meet them. The fact that they meet under tragic circumstances and find strength in their friendship gives me hope. He were beautiful is about moving on without letting go, remembering that we can't change our past, but we can make amends with it.

Even when life is ugly, we can still b
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
We Were Beautiful is about Mia who has lost her older sister Rachel in a car accident, and has left her with a scar on the side of her face. The death of her sister has sharply divided her family. Her mother has left leaving Mia in custody of her father, annulled her marriage and now lives in a convent. This plays heavily on Mia who blames herself for the death of Rachel as she was driving the car when she tried to avoid hitting the deer that eventually lead to her sister's death.

Most of the sto
Emily Sagendorph
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book, "We Were Beautiful" By: Heather Hepler, started a year after fifteen-year old Mia Hopkins was in a car crash that killed her older sister, Rachel, and left a terrible scars on herself. She went to many doctors to see how long it takes to heal and they all say it will take a couple of year. They also say that she was lucky enough to live. Mia's family struggles themselves so she was sent to spend the summer in NYC with her grandma that she has never met before. Her grandma gets her a jo ...more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
We Were Beautiful is a young adult novel about Mia Hopkins. Mia is 15 years old; a year ago she was in a terrible car accident that killed her sister Rachel and left scars on one side of her face. Mia is sent to stay with her grandmother in New York City for the summer, and there her life begins to change as she works at a neighborhood cafe, meets a new group of arty friends, and even a boy that she feels a real connection with.

This is such a moving and heartfelt book. Mia is a character I reall
Cassandra (Books and Cafes)
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
In We Were Beautiful, Mia struggles to piece together the night of a terrible accident that killed her sister and left half her own face horribly scarred. After the accident, her family is torn apart; Mia’s mother abandons her to join a convent, while her father leaves on a trip to find himself. Mia is sent to live with a grandmother she doesn’t know in New York City. Her grandmother gets her a job at a bakery where Mia is introduced to Fig and Fig’s group of friends. The book follows Mia’s jour ...more
Amy’s Booket List
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Tragedy can strike any person at any time and it can change your life. Here we find Mia, who is terribly scarred following an accident that changed the lives of her entire family. In the beginning, all we know is that something irrevocable has happened creating a vast distance between Mia and her father, and necessitated her moving in with her grandmother.

The gaps of the story are slowly filled in as Mia’s memory comes back. This book is really interesting, because the story is told through Mia’
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 13 and older, looking for a heavy but solid read
Oh my goodness. I loved this book soooo much!!! It is absolutely so beautifully amazing and UGH!! Just fabulous! Swoon-worthy material indeed!

It’s been a year since Mia was in the car crash that killed her sister and left her scarred, struggling hard with guilt and grief. Mia’s sent to New York to spend the summer with her grandmother she’s never met. Soon she’s making new friends and is slowly letting herself heal. But healing hurts and Mia’s scared of opening up, especially when her memories o
Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
This book was full of emotion, much more then I expected. It brought my back to my teenage years. I didn’t have an accident which scarred my face like Mia, but I did know what it was like to live with a messed up family, and had a body that people tended to stare and comment on (I was a pudgy kid). I also didn’t lose a sister, but Hepler still manages to make you feel what Mia feels. I connected with Mia in a way I didn’t think possible, especially with a YA book.

Hepler created such vivid charac
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler is a contemporary novel about love and loss and friendship. It is a story that goes to the edge of the abyss and survives. It was so beautifully written and has ignited and warmed my soul.
Loss is a defining moment. “Death created a black hole that sucked everything into it. Love was one of those things that got lost.” People deal with loss differently – they run and hide, they back off, they try to be invisible. “I hope someday, you let someone in.” All these
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