A huge thanks to Dave and crew over at #TheWriteReads for organising this book tour and to Cory Anderson, Penguin Random House and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?
Life can be brutal
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack knew it
Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.
So did I
Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.
Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?
But now Ava wants to break the rules – to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.
Looking back, I think I did . . .
Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff and Daniel Woodrell, What Beauty There Is an unforgettable debut novel that is as compulsive as it is beautiful, and unflinchingly explores the power of determination, survival and love.
‘Beautifully written and superbly constructed, Anderson pulls you onto a chilling footpath of love and loss and keeps you there until you’ve read every last word’ Ruta Sepetys, bestselling author of Between Shades of Grey
‘What Beauty There Is’ was an absolute unexpected gem of a book. I was expecting a straightforward mystery with a little bit of a romantic element, but it was so much more.
17 year old Jack finds himself in a difficult situation with limited choices. He needs a solution, or he’ll lose his brother Matty to the care system and the only solution he can find it to seek out money belonging to his criminal father. When Jack and Ava’s paths cross, they are mutually drawn together, and Ava just may be able to help.
For me, this was a story about relationships – the good and the bad – told against the backdrop of crime and poverty. It’s raw and heart-breaking but equally beautiful in all its darkness and intensity. The depiction of such fierce and protective brotherly love is so emotional and real. The relationship between Ava and Jack is gentle and tender too and I loved watching it develop – even within the circumstances. Aspects of toxic and unstable family relationships are also explored giving the novel a contrast to the beauty of the Ava, Matty and Jack interactions. In my opinion, this contrast enhances and strengthens their beauty more.
The wintery setting provides an atmospheric tone to the whole novel. Jack and Matty’s cold and empty home in the middle of nowhere, the trees really made me feel the loneliness and the same sense of hopelessness felt by the characters at times.
It’s so hard to define this novel as to be honest, I’m still not sure I have processed my own feelings. Such a huge contrast between a stark and harsh backdrop coupled with some beautiful story telling and characters makes it a harrowing read but with glimpses of hope and humanity. I’ve been honestly left with a haunting memory of the book and to make me hold on to that means it was a brilliant book.
Stunning and elegantly told, I adored this story of Jack, Ava and Matty and although it was not easy reading at times, it was so worth it.
Author Bio – Cory Anderson
Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.