Finding the Beauty Surrounded by the Ugly

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"His touch like a bright, yellow day. I am holding his hand. What Beauty there is in this world."

In the beginning, there is no beauty in Jack, Matty, and Ava’s life. Jack is searching his home for his mother and finds her in the last place he would guess she would be in. He walks into a room where his mother has hanged herself. Jake buries her in the frozen Idaho ground in the middle of winter and tells his little brother Matty that she has gone on a trip. This beginning had my heart pulled tight. To imagine that happening is so sad and the writing is almost poetic drawing out so many emotions. I had the sense that Jack was just going through the process without truly feeling the loss of his mother. His focus is on protecting his brother and keeping him out of foster care. Their father is in prison for some horrible crimes so Jack hides himself and Matty in order to keep him safe.

Throughout the book, Jack is protecting his brother with the little money they have. The power has been cut on their house and they have been told they have to move out in 2 days because it is being auctioned off. I had to keep reminding myself that Jack is only 17 because at points he seems so much younger and in others, he seems so much older. At such a young age he has to deal with so much tragedy.

I thought the book had a nice pace. It was fast and a lot of things happen that keeps the book moving forward. I was on the edge of my seat a few times. Jack has to deal with the people who are trying to find the money his father hid also. This of course gets him into a lot of different tense situations. Then we have Ava who is the daughter of Jack’s father’s partner. Jack does not know who Ava really is but even with Ava’s background, she does her best to help Jack and Matty.

I think I would have liked to see a little more development in Jack and Ava’s relationship. There isn’t a lot between them, and the book doesn’t develop their relationship very much. I can tell the book is trying to build their relationship off of the trials they are going through, but they hardly talk and so for me, there needs to be something else to build their relationship on.

The beginning of each chapter had a section told from the first-person point of view of Ava. It was basically like a narration of her leading us through the story and telling us her thoughts on events. Some people have said they don’t like this but I actually found this to be a unique touch that helped build the tension through foreshadowing. I found it very engaging and it made me want to read because it starts the chapter off by telling you just enough without the actual information, so I wanted to read on.

I have to say the ending left me a little confused and wondering a lot of different things. The ending left me needing more and I need clarification, so I am eagerly waiting for the next book. This type of book isn’t really the writing and plot that I would think of being a series, but I guess it is.