“If you had one chance to save everything that mattered to you, would you grab hold of it? Or would you let it get away?“
Sometimes there are books that just simply grab you and won't let you put them down. What Beauty There Is is one of those books. It pulls you in and grips you from the very first lines.
This is a story of survival. Jack is holding on by a string. His dad's in prison, they have no heat or hot water and it's the dead of winter. Living in small town Idaho in the dead of winter, the town is riddled with meth use and gangs and Jack just wants to keep his younger brother safe. When Jack's chance meeting with Ava throws him into the center of something he shouldn't be involved in, the trio are forced to race against the clock in order to stay alive. The book asks the question, "How far will you go to protect those that you love?"
The characters are extremely rich and pull at your heart strings. They are dealing with far more than they should at such young ages, including poverty and complicated family dynamics. Jack and Ava are brave beyond words, forced to grow up too quickly, seeing things they shouldn't at their ages. Their resourceful skills had me surprised so many times. And Matty. He has my heart and I loved his character dearly.
Told with dual narrators and alternating between timelines, What Beauty There Is is fast-paced and unpredictable. You have a sinking suspicion that things won't end well, but you're still hopeful as you tear through the pages. Above all, this story is absolutely heartbreaking and completely unexpected. It shattered my soul. This is definitely a book that you need to read, even if you normally don't enjoy the young adult genre.
TW: suicide, drug use, family in prison, poverty