Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson, hosted through Rockstar Book Tours. I am so excited to share my thoughts on what I think will be one of my favorite reads of the year.
About the BookWhat Beauty There Is (What Beauty There Is, #1) by Cory Anderson
Published by Roaring Brook Press on April 6, 2021
Winter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he'd do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds 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. He chooses the money.
Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack's trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.
Choices. They come at a price.
About the Author
Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Farmington, Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.
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This YA contemporary is a brutal, heart wrenching, fault POV examination of the realities of poverty, the lengths we’ll go to protect the ones we love, and how childhood trauma shapes the adults we becomes.
Anderson’s debut features Jack, a tenacious and determined older brother who is determined to protect his younger brother Maddy at all costs. When the novel opens, Jack finds his mother’s body after she committed suicide. Immediately, Jack begins to think about his and Matty’s options. Where their mother dead and their father in prison, Jack takes it upon himself to keep them out of foster care and survive.
The second POV is from Ava as she meets Jack and becomes entangled in the web that Jack and Maddy find themselves caught in. She has been raised to care only about herself. Then she meets Jack and she is forced to make some hard decisions.
The driving force of this novel, and the facet that made the story absolutely breathtaking, is the internal monologues of both Ava and Jack. Their thought processes and motivations were simultaneously compelling and harrowing as they grappled with complicated issues that no child should ever have to wrestle with.
What Beauty There Is was also incredibly atmospheric. Set in northern Idaho in the dead of winter you could feel the cold as the characters worked to stay warm. I also had a fever while reading part of the book and reading about Jack’s own physical struggles, especially as he developed a fever, was a profoundly surreal experience.
One part survival story, one part heist novel, and one part gritty coming of age tale; I gave What Beauty There Is 5 gorgeously, heartbreaking ?. It will probably be one of my favorite reads of the year. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves authors like Mindy McGinnis and Tiffany B. Jackson.
Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!