Read Something Pretty, Something Beautiful by Eric Barnes Online


In Tacoma, a circle of friends finds their leader in Will Wilson. Together, they drink, they get high, they take girls to the woods--but Will Wilson keeps pushing toward darker extremes. As the descent gets steeper, there is a way out: another friend's fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. There is life after Tacoma. But the choice has to be made, and some friendships feelIn Tacoma, a circle of friends finds their leader in Will Wilson. Together, they drink, they get high, they take girls to the woods--but Will Wilson keeps pushing toward darker extremes. As the descent gets steeper, there is a way out: another friend's fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. There is life after Tacoma. But the choice has to be made, and some friendships feel more than inevitable. Something Pretty, Something Beautiful is the new novel from Eric Barnes, author of Shimmer....

Title : Something Pretty, Something Beautiful
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781937402525
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 262 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Something Pretty, Something Beautiful Reviews

  • Richard J. Alley
    2018-10-01 12:54

    Two things struck me while reading Something Pretty, Something Beautiful by Eric Barnes (Outpost19, 2013). The first thing is the movement. Not necessarily the way the book flows, though it will keep you interested and curious from start to finish. What I’m talking about is that when Barnes writes movement – a car full of teenagers speeding down the highway, kids running and tumbling downhill into a gulch, fighting and fleeing – it is as though I was right there in the melee covered with mud and booze. The action is swift, it’s breathy, sweaty and, quite often, bloody.Something Pretty, Something Beautiful is the gripping story of four friends in Tacoma, Washington, and jumps around among moments of childhood until they approach the fringes of adulthood. Brian Porter is the narrator, though Will Wilson is the ringleader, a young man who carries violence and mayhem with him like a flask of whiskey. Teddy and Coe round out the foursome which blows in whichever direction Will Wilson commands. Those winds tend towards fights and break-ins and some arson while always, always moving.The near-constant movement is what the young men engage in to fill the emptiness, to fight off boredom and, maybe, to keep from thinking of the future and what each might want outside of Tacoma. The book takes place in the 1970s, and if it were today they might all be diagnosed with ADHD. In Eric Barnes’s Tacoma of the 70s, however, teens swallowed a pill of recklessness, violence and peer pressure.The second thing to strike me didn’t come to me until late in the book, until page 230 to be precise. It is that I hate these people. I don’t hate them for the things they do, although their actions on the whole are awful, but for what they don’t do. No one ever steps in to stop another from doing the awful thing. It is this lack of will, the absence of strength to be decent, that makes them so unlikable as people. This isn't to say I don't like the characters because of a flaw in the writing. Quite the opposite. Barnes paints their personalities and actions so well that I think of them as real, as walking and talking people. And I hope to never come across such in the real world.The book is dark. Understand that. This is no light beach read. Barnes takes all of the anxiety, frustration, angst, anger, sex and violence that might collectively fill a high school full of adolescents and condenses it down into these four characters. He keeps it simmering on a flame until it's a bubbling roux and then he holds our wrist and forces our hand into the molten mass. The book is raw and touches at something we've all felt, whether it's the hope for something better or the frustration that it might never be.There is nothing pretty or beautiful in this book unless it is that hope that there might be something better beyond the city limits and the lives these boys are destined to lead. The stories and the writing will keep you involved to find out if it's possible, to know if one or all of them pack up a car at last and find what it is that might save them. As readers, all we can hope to do is grip the roof of that car as it approaches dangerous speeds and hold on for dear life.(Please see my other reviews at

  • Tia Bach
    2018-10-04 12:55

    The title suggests a light and fluffy read, but this book is anything but. It's a very gritty look at the dark side of temptation and how slow a decline can be. Several childhood friends start down a path of destruction, at first just playing at pranks and teasing young girls. With each page, these boys take another step into a very dangerous game. Told through the eyes of Brian Porter, the book moves in and out of these spiraling events. Brian's voice is equal parts questioning and succumbing. He knows so much of what they are doing is wrong, but he can't find the will or good reasons to stop any of it... even to stop himself. The ringleader, Will Wilson, is compelling. All those around him can't seem to resist his charms, even as every warning bell possible is going off in their gut.The author's style takes a little getting used to. One, the story is not told linearly. Two, with each page there is the hint of something more sinister--a slow build to the inevitably unsettling ending. It's often unsettling, with little to no relief for the reader. Not that intensity is a bad thing.If you are looking for a light summer read, this is not it. At times disturbing, this novel showcases how quickly a simple childhood prank can turn into something much darker. For anyone who has ever wondered why people fall prey to situations like this, pick up a copy of Something Pretty, Something Beautiful. It's a well-crafted character study. Think of it more as something tempting, something sinister.Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

  • Allison Hiltz
    2018-10-14 15:51

    From The Book Wheel:Thanks to TLC Book Tours I have stumbled upon another book that I enjoyed but wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Perhaps “enjoyed” isn’t the right word, though. Something Pretty Something Beautiful by Eric Barnes is not a fun and happy story and, to be honest, I had a hard time getting into it. The structure of the book is such that it was difficult to know what “time period” I was in, but once I figured out the basic plot it was much easier to follow.Spanning several years, the book follows Brian Porter, a blue-collar kid from Tacoma. As is common with teenagers, Brian befriends a group of boys that drink, smoke, and get into trouble. Their ringleader, Will Wilson, is one of those kids that you know is trouble but can’t resist his magnetic pull.

Somewhat balancing out Will, however, is Kyle. One of Brian’s childhood best friends, Kyle exerts a more positive influence, but much like the cartoon devil and angel pulling you in different directions, Brian is caught between two versions of himself.Something Pretty Something Beautiful  delves below the surface of everyday life and into the minds and actions of teenage boys in a working class neighborhood where every family has their demons. A fascinatingly dark read, the author did a great job creating a three-dimensional world that I was transported to.For the full review, click here.

  • Karielle at Books à la Mode
    2018-10-17 16:53

    Will Wilson made our lives. He broke down limits Coe and Teddy and me didn't want. And by the time I left Tacoma, Will Wilson had given us all the kind of purpose and power that little kids fantasize about and most adults can never quite achieve.I got up to page 52 of this book before I reached my "can't take this any longer" threshold, so I'm unable to reflect upon the storyline, but am more than happy to elaborate upon my DNF (did not finish) reasons below:Something Pretty, Something Beautiful carefully details and juxtaposes the dark, wild antics of one group of friends's teenage years with the responsibility that comes with the adult world. Centered around the leader, Will Wilson, and the consequences that ripple out from childhood decisions, this book is descriptive but ambiguous, and reads like an extended vignette.Stylistically, a novel-length vignette may sound attractive, but in this book, it's my biggest point of criticism. Eric Barnes tries terribly hard to sound poetic, but his sentence structure and word choices are off-key, and the pace of the storytelling is too sluggishly set. It took a lot of effort me to get just to page 52 (about one-fifths through) because I would find myself rereading certain sentences to try and process them.The comprehensive effect is even worse; the awkward, choppy sentences paired with slow-moving scenes just make the book unreadable. What little I got out of the characters, I didn't like because they weren't very humanly portrayed—too flat, too uncertain—and the story was near impossible to follow because the mechanics of the writing just didn't keep my attention. The narrative and plot are constantly unclear, making it a confusing effort for me, which is why I eventually had to put it down.ProsAttractive cover and titleConsEven the synopsis is so incredibly vague that I don't know what the story is supposed to be about...?? // Writing style is superfluous and choppy // Poorly structured; setting, time, and perspective are never specified // Characters, or the narrator, for that matter, are superficially portrayed and hard to relate to // I couldn't even get through half of the bookVerdictWith ambitious attempts to be stylish in prose, but ending up more stylized and long-winded than anything, Something Pretty, Something Beautiful is a difficult, plodding novel I simply couldn't get into. It's pretty rare for me not to be able to finish a book, but the poor composition and uncertain storyline were too disorienting and floaty for me, and not in a good way (this is no Gabriel García Márquez, mind you). I tried hard to like Eric Barnes's sophomore novel because of its weighty, sinister undertone, but unfortunately gave up after 52 pages.Rating: 1 out of 10 hearts (1 star): Could not finish and have nothing positive to say; use this book to see if your pens still have ink, and keep it far, far away from me.SourceComplimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, OutPost19 and TLC!).

  • Renae Pérez
    2018-09-28 13:45

    Eric Barnes’ novel Something Pretty, Something Beautiful is a cleverly written story about a group of teenage boys and the misadventures they find themselves on. Really, it’s a lot more than that, but explaining the “more” might be a bit beyond my abilities. In any case, I enjoyed this book and am happy to have read it.The novel is narrated by Brian Porter, one of four young men who formed a reckless, thrill-seeking group. Aside from this group, Brian also spends time with his best friend from childhood, Kyle, so Brian is torn between two friendships, both very different. Throughout the book, Brian has a lot of internal conflict to deal with, and it gives some of the book’s passages a very tense, tightly-wound feel.It’s also worth noting that Something Pretty, Something Beautiful does not progress in a chronological sequence of events. The way Barnes unfolds the story in a nonlinear way adds to reader curiosity, and offsets the varying emotions of “past” Brian compared to “present” Brian. It did take me a while to get used to the way the story was formatted, though, since sometimes it was difficult to figure out where I was in the story arc. I didn’t find it to be a major problem, though I felt that the story’s momentum wasn’t able to build up as it could have done.Barnes’ writing is probably the sort that maybe some readers will have trouble with, as it requires extra effort to grow accustomed to. Personally, the combination of breathless sentences and choppy fragments made my experience with the book more positive, and I really liked how Brian’s mood and the scene were conveyed via the subtle altering of writing style. Though, quick note: my finished copy did have some minor typos here and here—more than I’m used to seeing, but not enough to ruin my experience completely.Though perhaps not for everyone, Something Pretty, Something Beautiful is a masterfully crafted story about friendship and growing up (among other things). The story is powered on the development and growth of Brian’s character, influenced by his unhealthy friendship and behavior, his longstanding relationship with Kyle, and just Brian himself. It’s an understated novel that, nevertheless, leaves strong emotion behind at the end.

  • drey
    2018-10-08 15:37

    This review originally posted on my blog, drey's library.Eric Barnes’ latest effort is hard to read. Not because of the writing – which is spare and to the point, but because the story itself is one of a group of boys growing up to become young men, taking so many wrong turns along the way looking for the next adrenaline rush.Every chapter has the same titles, if you will. “Now” is Brian’s current-day thoughts. “With Kyle” are his conversations with Kyle, one of his friends who wasn’t part of the destructive foursome Brian ran around with. “Tacoma” is a look at the city Brian and the boys live in, and the wrong turns they take. “Driving Away” has Brian leaving, with Kyle, heading towards (hopefully) better things. And “Returning” has Brian returning to Tacoma for one reason and one reason only, knowing that so much of himself still lingers there – the history that he isn’t necessarily proud of, but still brings a rush when he thinks about it.I’m frankly a little horrified by everything Will, Teddy, Coe, and Porter (Brian) get up to. It’s not a harmless list, and we’re talking stuff they start at thirteen, fourteen, escalating in scope and danger until we get to the end of Something Pretty, Something Beautiful. It’s sad, too, how these boys have to go hunting for that rush, how they’re dependent on each other and on Will – the undisputed leader of the group, how they don’t think they can break away even if they wanted to. And it’s wonderful how Brian has Kyle for a friend, one who sees that Brian needs to get away and offers that opportunity…As I’ve said, Something Pretty, Something Beautiful isn’t an easy book to read. But it’s a startlingly frank story that most likely has its real-life counterparts in so many cities and towns around this country, and I’m saddened by the realities that aren’t my own. This will touch you, and all the cringing while you’re reading is offset by an ending that’s sad yet hopeful. I’ll be keeping an eye on Eric Barnes to see what he’ll come out with next.drey’s rating: Excellent!

  • Kari
    2018-10-12 13:48

    This book should have been titled, "Something Pretty, Something Dark". This book is definitely not a light read. While it was fairly quick to read, there is a lot of heavy content. I would probably compare this to the feeling one would get if you came upon a disturbing car accident. You may feel uncomfortable looking, but you can't seem to tear your eyes from the scene. I felt this way reading this book. While I felt icky in parts, I couldn't put it down. I knew where the overall story was headed, but I felt compelled to take the journey with Brian Porter, the narrator. At the end, I was disturbed, but ultimately, I liked the book and I do recommend it.The book is told in 6 parts. Each part is broken down into the same 5 sections. It's not told in a linear timeline and it took a bit getting used to the rhythm of the story. Basically, Brian Porter takes you on a trip through his childhood in the 70s in Tacoma. You get to see where he grew up and how he easily was taken in by Will Wilson. Along with Will and 2 other boys, they basically create chaos in the town on a daily basis. Underage drinking, underage driving, unprotected and sometimes forced sex, and drugs are just the short list. Will Wilson seems to have an evil streak that no one picks up on until it is too late. In contrast to that, Brian also shows us his very different friendship with Kyle, the boy who offers him a different life in Alaska. Honestly, he is the only character I liked in the whole book!The book is also a great and relevant commentary on society, even for today When we look the other way and don't intervene, things can go horribly wrong. Brian and his friends are pretty much ignored by their parents and are given free reign. Sadly, it didn't end the way I was hoping it would. But, then life is like, that, right? I was still left with some questions in the end. While this tends to bother me, I was OK with it in this book. I think that getting all of the answers wasn't the point of the book. We don't always get answers, and, sometimes, we just have to forget them and move on.

  • Jeanie
    2018-10-19 11:57

    I received this book from the Goodreads giveaway. Something Pretty, Something Beautiful was definitely interesting and pulls the reader along. The writing style was unique and new, but at times confusing. When I figured something out about a particular character or event, I felt like I was putting together pieces of the puzzle that was Something Pretty, Something Beautiful's plot. However, at the end I was left with some questions. That could of course be the intention of the narrative style, with Brian Porter questioning things and not knowing (or wanting to know) everything. Generally I liked the book. Barnes did an amazing job with characterization. The characters were fleshed out to the point that I genuinely hated a few of them and pitied others. The main problem I had was getting lost in the various narrators and time frames, even though I generally figured it out a few pages into the section. Trying to discern which character was the focus and when the particular situation was happening relative to the other sections distracted me from exactly what was going on.All of this leads the reader to have the same kind of confusion the Brian Porter is experiencing. He has the moral dilemma with Kyle and Will Wilson pulling him in opposite directions and the struggle of adolescence without any real guidance from anyone but these two friends. You can see Brian's struggle and you never really know how his choices will ultimately pay off until the end.I'll probably read this one again when I get a chance. I feel like a second read through would be a completely different experience with more clarity and focus. Thanks to Eric Barnes and Goodreads for giving me the chance to read this interesting, dark, and unique novel!

  • Galen Johnson
    2018-10-16 18:44

    This is a short but well-written novel about a blue-collar boy, Brian Porter, growing up in Tacoma, WA. Brian is largely left to fend for himself by his single father, and he spends most of his time with a small pack of boys led by the quiet and evil leader, Will Wilson. Will leads the boys in an ever escalating series of crimes that Porter seems to unquestioningly participate in, despite the counsel of his one other good friend, Kyle, who tries to help him escape the cycle of poverty. The pull of good and bad from these two friends mirrors Porter's own inner battle about where his life will lead, although much of the book shows him taking little charge over his own actions or future. The immediacy of the writing is notable, and serves to sweep the reader up in the action much as Brian Porter is swept up in it. I thought the author did a good, deliberate job of capturing the momentum of Porter's adolescence but could have added a bit more to explaining why it was so easy for him to be swept up in the actions of his friends. It was also a bit distracting that some of the place names were wrong, when the setting played such an important role in the story (much of the action takes place on Shuster Parkway--the actual name is Schuster-- and a scene is set at the Narrows Straight, rather than the Narrows Strait). I'd recommend this novel to those who like coming-of-age novels and can handle graphic violence (which can be brutal here, but serves a narrative purpose). Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the First Reads program on Good Reads.

  • Melanie
    2018-09-23 18:42

    Just finished this book last night and here are my initial, random thoughts as I'm still trying to fully digest this book:1.) WOW...for such a small book, it packed a powerful punch.2.) It's truly terrifying how one individual can have such power over others. Will Wilson has the ability to make others do things they know are wrong and they never stop it.3.) NO ONE STOPS IT!!!! These boys know these things are wrong and none of them have the courage to try to stop it.4.) I truly dislike them. I dislike Will Wilson because he's so horrible. I dislike the others because they are cowards.5.) There is perhaps some redemption. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but Brian does vow to make a change after leaving Tacoma.6.) The timeline jumps around and it's sometimes hard to figure out where you are, but I think that kind of adds to the unsettling nature of the book.7.) I was completely shocked by the ending. I had to re-read the last few pages a few times.8.) Kyle, I think, is the hero of this book. He tried so hard to save Brian.9.) I like the title of this book. I think it is perfectly fitting. There is nothing pretty or beautiful about this book. Yet each of the boys under Will Wilson's spell are searching for a way out. They are searching for something pretty or beautiful in the backdrop of violence and alcohol/drug use. A way out of this cycle would be pretty and beautiful.10.) This is a coming-of-age story unlike any other I've read.

  • Heather
    2018-10-20 12:41

    It took me a long time to get into this book. And then I had to convince myself to keep reading it. It's not that the book isn't well-written or uninteresting. It's that the time jumps around. I had a hard time within each chapter and each part of the chapters figuring out what was happening and when it was happening. By the end, I understood the organization of the book better. This is a powerful book about how relationships affect young, impressionable people - in this case, a young teenage boy. The main character has two choices: his best friend, or his group of friends. He has to decide which relationship gives him the power, the joy, the attention he craves. When he realizes he chose incorrectly, he makes a drastic choice. The only disappointment I have is in the end. Trying not to spoil…the writer doesn't address what happens to the best friend (in a specific way) and how whatever happens effects the main character. The reader "knows" what happens, but the effects from that is never addressed. It makes the relationship seem unimportant, which I don't agree with. I actually think that the relationship between the main character and the best friend was the most important. This is a great book to read over a rainy or snowy weekend in jammies with hot cocoa and a fire. Just read it over the entire weekend.

  • Jennifer
    2018-10-17 17:03

    This book is a coming of age novel that follows the the narrator Brain Porter, as he progresses through high school and into adulthood in Tacoma, Washington. Brian basically lives on his own and fills his time by hanging out with a circle of boys led by the dangerous Will Wilson. As Will Wilson continues to push the limits of the law, Brian finds himself conflicted between continuing to follow Will Wilson or following his childhood friend who presents a way out of Tacoma for Brian and a way toward a better life. It is when these two worlds collide that the choice is ultimately made for him.This book is a very interesting, dark read. It is fast paced and keeps your interest throughout the entire book. My only complaint is that at times I felt the writing to be very choppy and disconnected making it hard to follow, which took away from the overall flow and ultimate impact of the book. Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the FirstReads program on GoodReads.

  • Matt
    2018-10-14 17:55

    I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway. Thanks so much to those that made it possible.This book absolutely floored me. The writing style is totally fresh, not only with the way the chapters were divided but in the storytelling as well. The characters in this novel felt painfully real resonated with me in an unprecedented way. The closest comparison I can draw is to Harmony Korine's films like Julien Donkey-Boy and Gummo. Although not a perfect connnexion, those films and this book offer you a disparate reality that somehow feels just as real, or more so, than your own.As others have mentioned, the title of the book is somewhat ironical in juxtaposition with the events that transpire over the course of it. However, it is easy to find the beauty that exists not only in Barnes' prose but also in the intricacy and fragility of the characters in the story.This is insanely powerful and ranks high among the bildungsromane that I've read.

  • Angelia Herrin
    2018-10-04 14:33

    This is a gritty coming of age book, that pulls no punches with the content. My main problem with this book is that it changes the point of view with each chapter. You travel back and forth in time constenley. I think the book would be better served if the story were told in order. It took me awhile to get into the story, but I am glad I finished the book. The second half does flow better and I did enjoy the ending.In Tacoma, a circle of friends finds their leader in Will Wilson. Together, they drink, they get high, they take girls to the woods-but Will Wilson keeps pushing toward darker extremes. As the descent gets steeper, there is a way out: another friend's fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. There is life after Tacoma. But the choice has to be made, and some friendships feel more than inevitable. SOMETHING PRETTY, SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL is the new novel from Eric Barnes, author of SHIMMER.

  • Jk
    2018-10-11 18:53

    I received a free copy of this book as a Goodreads first reads giveaway and would like to say thank you to the author for the signed copy!There were many things I liked about this book. The writing style and chapter layout were both very unique and I enjoyed how they sort of created a fragmented pieces that you had to put together to come up with the linear story.The problems that I had with the book were that I still had a few unanswered questions at the end - it felt like not all the loose ends got tied up and I was left with some confusion on a couple of points. I also realized near the end of the book that I really disliked the main character Brian and did not really care about what happened to him. I felt that the only characters that had any redeeming qualities were Kyle and Teddy.Overall it was an interesting, fast read and one that I will probably spend some serious time thinking about.

  • Jessica Quadrel
    2018-09-26 12:57

    I won this in a good reads contest, which I entered because it sounded fascinating. This was a good, quick read ( I read it in one night). This is a coming of age story, in which Brian Porter does the usual crazy things young men/boys do with his friends. Eventually, the stunts he and his friends pull get progressively more dangerous. He must choose paths, which would seem easy to do, but as a young man is a difficult choice. I would highly recommend this book, especially to males who can probably relate to the story more than I could. Warning: mothers may cringe when they read what these boys do!!

  • Cait S
    2018-09-24 18:00

    DNF at 10%I truly do not know how anyone at all has gotten through this entire book. It is one of the most pretentious and convoluted attempts at being "poetic" I have ever seen. It's like talking to that guy at a party that everyone hates because they think they've been everywhere, done everything, and met everyone, and they are going to tell you every last thing about it all. In the most obnoxious way possible.The writing style is as infuriating as the story is boring. Absolute waste of time and sure not worth 10 dollars on kindle.

  • Sharon Chance
    2018-10-09 18:03

    I'll be honest - I had a difficult time getting through this book. Perhaps it is because I'm the mother of four sons and could vividly imagine my boys doing some of the not-so-bright stunts as mentioned in this coming-of-age story. I suppose that is a sign of powerful writing when a story disturbs you. "Something Pretty, Something Beautiful" is well-written and intriguing, and those who enjoy this type of graphic, descriptive, and frankly, sad story of a generation that seems lost will find it an interesting read.

  • Julie
    2018-09-25 17:40

    I got Something Pretty, Something Beautiful through a First Reads giveaway. This is not a light, fun read. It's dark, gritty, and thought-provoking. Four teenage boys, led by cruel and calculating Will Wilson, move from youthful pranks to violence and crime. One of the boys, Brian Porter, sees a way out in his friend Kyle, but leaving proves harder than he'd realized. The novel is short, but well written and hard-hitting. Definitely worth a read.

  • steffy
    2018-10-10 16:01

    I couldn't put this book down. The storyline, the writing, and the characters were absolutely fascinating. Everything about it drew me in from the very beginning, and I was both horrified by and fascinated with the characters behavior and wanted to read more. So glad I won this book as a First Reads!

  • Susan Walker
    2018-10-08 13:42

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. It was heavier than most of the books I read. However, it is so well written I definitely enjoyed it. Great characters!