WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS, by Cory Anderson, Roaring Brook Press, April 6, 2021, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 14 and up)
What Beauty There is, by Cory Anderson, is an intense read for older young adults.
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Living in harsh poverty, Jack Dahl is holding his breath. He and his younger brother have nothing―except each other. And now Jack faces a stark choice: lose his brother to foster care or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.
He chooses the money.
Ava Bardem 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. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up on Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or speak, and help the brothers survive.
Choices. They come at a price. —Synopsis provided by Roaring Brook Press
What Beauty There Is is a brutal read. The story unfolds in a cinematic fashion with tension and action ebbing and flowing throughout. Author Cory Anderson gives readers room to breathe, allowing them to sit with the quiet emotions and then ramping it up with the bold ones.
Anderson’s writing is unique with the text bouncing from character to character in first and third person. At first, it’s a little confusing, but the story progresses, it becomes clear that the confusion is on purpose. This off-kilter approach takes the novel to a different level.
What Beauty There Is is a hard book to read. Abuse, drugs and violence all play significant roles. It’s not appropriate for younger teens, but it will likely appeal to older, more mature young adults.
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