The cover of What Beauty There Is is beautiful and intricate, like a work of art. The story is set in the depths of winter in rural Idaho. The main characters are Jack and Matty Dahl, whose father is in jail for a convenience store robbery, and whose drug-addicted mother has just committed suicide. They have no resources, no home and are fighting for survival. Jack is desperately trying to find the money from the robbery that his father hid years ago. The adults in the life of these boys have so far, failed them. Jack does not seek out help from authorities because he is worried his little brother Matty will be taken from him. They are helped by Ava Bardem, the daughter of Victor, a ruthless and violent criminal, who was involved in the same crime as Jack's father. Ava has been isolated by her father and has no one else. Victor is also after the hidden money.
The writing is beautiful, raw, detailed and lyrical. The bitterly cold winter is so well-described, like a beautiful but dangerous character, a constant threat to Jack, Matty and Ava. The plot is perfectly paced, haunting and heart-wrenching. with skillfully built tension. The characters have depth and the reader can feel their struggle and emotions. This dark story will stay with you. I really look forward to reading the sequel.