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Oct 8 2016 1:00pm

First Look: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff’s It’s a Fugly Life (October 11, 2016)

It's A Fugly Life by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
It's A Fugly Life (The Fugly Series #2)
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff / October 11, 2016 / $8.99 print, $3.99 digital

I feel like anyone who has or currently struggles with body image and self-perception should read Mimi Jean Pamfiloff's latest. It’s a Fugly Life continues where Fugly ends (though it can be read as a stand-alone). Just a quick recap in case you haven’t read Fugly. Lily Snow is ugly. Her face makes people squirm with negative visceral reactions, contributing to her low self-esteem. But once people get to know Lily, they learn to see past her “unfortunate” face. Her body is lean and strong, and she’s driven and accomplished. Enter her CEO boss, Maxwell Cole. He originally hires Lily for therapeutic reasons, to work through his cacophobia (yes... a fear of ugliness). But when he actually falls in love with Lily, well, years of self-doubt and insecurity ruin her happily ever after. Because how can a gorgeous demi-God like Max who has a fear of the ugly, ever fall for someone like Lily?

It’s a Fugly Life takes place six months later. After reconstructive surgery from a major accident, Lily is moving on with her life. She’s no longer “ugly” thanks to plastic surgery, but is she happy? She’s happy enough. Even though her actions from six months ago ruined her relationship with Max, she’s about to say yes to her Italian movie-star boyfriend’s proposal. That is, until Max shows up unannounced, ready to start a life with Lily.

I fell hard for him.

But Max and I ended in self-destruction. Me with my ugly problems and him with his. Oh yes, that man had issues. Big, scary issues with fangs and wiry hair and an ice pick. We were so tainted by our fucking hang-ups that we were bound to end in a blazing fire of hurt. That had been the one sane thought I’d clung to these past six months: we were bad for each other, and it never would’ve worked. It didn’t matter how much I loved him or he loved me.

Yep. Me too. Where the hell was Max these last six months? Lily realizes she messed up when she didn’t trust Max. It’s what caused the demise of his company. Even though it was a huge misunderstanding on Lily’s part, Max doesn’t accept her apology and disappears. So yeah, as a reader, even though I loved Max in Fugly, I’m like, WTF? If he loved her so much, why did he leave?

Well, rest assured, the reader will not be disappointed. Because this book is all about Lily and how she finds the strength within herself. She gets to choose, starting by finally loving herself. And the men fighting for her? Well, they can duke it out. This story is all about Max wooing Lily—and squee—because Max doesn’t play fair.

He slid his hand behind the back of my head and kissed me hard. His lips were punishing. His tongue was hot. His body told me he was ready for war and taking no prisoners…He pulled back, leaving me breathless. “My point, Lily, is that I own you. Not because I’m a possessive asshole, but because you already gave yourself to me.”

Ultimately, this story is a commentary on how we believe the unattainable image portrayed in the media, internalizing society’s dictates on the shortcomings of women. And how that wrecks our self-worth. And that beauty truly comes from within. Time and again, this classic beauty and the beast tale rings true. If we can move beyond the ugly of society and realize our beauty within, that’s how we’ll find happiness. Because ultimately, even with Lily’s new face, she doesn’t find true happiness until she confronts the demons within.

To the outside world, my name and face symbolized something I’d not seen before: that beauty is in the heart of its owner.

So corny. I got that. But for the first time in my life, I was really beginning to love being me Not so much because of external factors, but because I got to see myself through the eyes of others.

So ladies, listen up. You are beautiful regardless of what society says. Just think of the power in these words. It’s our beauty within that shines throughout.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of It's A Fugly Life by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, available October 11, 2016:

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H&H Editor Picks:

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Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance, dabbles in Happily Ever Afters under the pen name of Lily Kay, and teaches sociology part-time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu, @AuthorLilyKay, or on facebook.com/Authorlilykay.

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