Today, I’m bringing you a blog tour for a YA thriller that might seem familiar if you’ve been around my blog. I did a first impressions for What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson a couple weeks ago. Now, having finished the book, I’m here to bring you my full thoughts! Let me just say, if you like your YA on the darker side, you should definitely stick around to learn more about this one.
Before we jump in, though, I want to thank Dave @ The Write Reads, the publisher, Penguin, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation with this tour. It’s very much appreciated.
Alright, let’s get to it!
“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“
- Author: What Beauty There Is
- Series: What Beauty There Is #1
- Publisher: Penguin
- Publication date: April 8th, 2021
- Genre: Thriller
- Age group: Young Adult
- Content/Trigger Warnings: Please check out the page for this book on BookTriggerWarnings.com to see a full list of content and trigger warnings.
About the Author
I’m finding it hard to review this book. On one hand, this is a beautifully written and heartbreaking story that will have you captivated from page one. On the other hand, this was so bleak that there were moments I had to put it down and walk away for a moment! This book is a strange, wonderful mix of thriller and contemporary and it blew me away!
What Beauty There Is is the story of two young and damaged teenagers: Jack and Ava. Jack is in a tough spot after his mother dies and he’s left to fend for his younger brother, Matty. They have no money and, soon, they’ll have no home if Jack can’t find some funds fast. Ava is a quiet girl who keeps her head down and swears to herself that she’ll never care for anyone. Unbeknowst to both of them, they have a connection beyond a chance meeting at school: both of their fathers were involved in a heist years ago. Jack’s father ended up in prison after hiding their ill-gotten gains from Ava’s dangerous dad. Now both Jack and Ava’s father are on the hunt for the money and Ava is caught in the middle.
You all know that I love a book with well-written and complex characters. This novel has that in spades! Both Jack and Ava are fascinating to watch as they maneuver their complicated worlds. They have a lot of layers and you can’t help but become attached to them almost as soon as you meet them. Jack is such a wonderful big brother, even if doesn’t always make the best of choices. Ava makes me want to hug her, though I wouldn’t, because she doesn’t like being touched. They’ve both gone through far too much and had to grow up far too quickly. Their struggles, their decision… it’s all heartbreaking to watch yet it’s impossible to look away. I just want to pluck Jack, Matty, and Ava out of this book and protect them 😭
I think my favorite part of this book, though, was the writing. Cory Anderson has an incredible way with words! The way the novel is written makes it feel so visceral, so real, that you feel as though you are inside her story! There are so many beautiful phrases that make you take a pause to sit and think. I love when books can do that 💕 And it’s all so vivid and evocative that it paints a picture in your mind. Now, mind you, it is a very dark picture! As I mentioned before, this is a very bleak story, with a lot of trigger warnings that I highly suggest you check out before diving into this book. I don’t have very many triggers, but I still found myself needing to take breaks because it was just making me so sad 😅 This is a book that may not work for everyone because of that, but it will definitely make you feel something. I will say I wasn’t aware that this was the first in a series and I didn’t really like where it ended… but not to the point where I won’t be checking out the next one!
Final thoughts: This is an incredibly written story that blends a heart pounding thriller with a heart breaking contemporary. It’s evocative, beautifully crafted, and a thrill to read. The characters are so real they practically leap off the page and you can’t help but want to save them from their pursuers and themselves. This is a very bleak story, though, so I would suggest checking trigger warnings before you give this one a go. If you enjoy your young adult thrillers on the darker side and with plenty of nuance and layers, I think you would enjoy What Beauty There Is!