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Youthjuice Review

Rate: 3.75 out of 5 stars


American Psycho meets The Devil Wears Prada outrageous body horror for the goop generation

A 29-year-old copywriter realizes that beauty is possible--at a terrible cost--in this surreal, satirical send-up of NYC It-girl culture.

From Sophia Bannion's first day on the Storytelling team at HEBE (hee-bee), a luxury skincare/wellness company based in New York's trendy SoHo neighborhood and named after the Greek goddess of youth, it's clear something is deeply amiss. But Sophia, pushing thirty, has plenty of skeletons in her closet next to the designer knockoffs and doesn't care. Though she leads an outwardly charmed life, she aches for a deeper meaning to her flat existence--and a cure for her brutal nail-biting habit. She finds it all and more at HEBE, and with Tree Whitestone, HEBE's charismatic founder and CEO.

Soon, Sophia is addicted to her HEBE lifestyle--especially youthjuice, the fatty, soothing moisturizer Tree has asked Sophia to test. But when cracks in HEBE's infrastructure start to worsen--and Sophia learns the gruesome secret ingredient at the heart of youthjuice--she has to decide how far she's willing to go to stay beautiful forever.

Glittering with ominous flashes of Sophia's coming-of-rage story, former beauty editor E.K. Sathue's horror debut is as incisive as it is stomach-churning in its portrayal of all-consuming female friendship and the beauty industry's short attention span. youthjuice does to skincare influencers what Bret Easton Ellis did to yuppies. You'll never moisturize the same way again.

Review: First thing, this book was definitely GOOD. I liked the premise and love when body horror meets beauty standards. However a few things did fall through the plot which stopped this book from being great.

Starting with some good. The character descriptions were intentional with enough "distinctions" and overall assimilation. The plot moved smoothly and I was just engaged enough to want to continue.

Sophia, the main character, faced almost zero consequences for her actions. This was not a "good for her" narrative and I wanted to see either justice, the youthjuice or her haunted past catch up with her. Not only did she get away with everything, she ended up with everything she wanted. It did not feel like their were any stakes or any reason to cheer on the main character. Maybe that is part of its' satirical nature but it didn't hit the mark for me.

Maybe this is gory but it did not feel like there was enough body horror. There was no visceral imagery or scenes that made me squeamish. I love that feeling when it is expected but this was another aspect that wasn't there. This could have been bigger and better but was just okay.

With an intriguing premise and well written prose I look forward to seeing this author iron things out and do more.

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