Book ReviewYoung Adult

The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk (ARC)

Publisher: Delacorte Press | Pages: 352

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

The publisher kindly sent me a physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis:

Music brought Autumn, Shay and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.

Autumn always knew exactly who se was – a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.

But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.

Despite the odds, one band’s music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.

Review:

This is going to be one of those reviews where I talk about a number of things that I liked in this book and also a number of things that I just didn’t like. Because of that, I feel as though this is another book I’m just entirely conflicted about.

I really wanted to like this book. The synopsis was just so intriguing to me. While I don’t typically lean towards books that revolve around a theme of grief or sadness, it was intriguing to me that while all of these characters struggled with death, they were drawn to each other because of music. Plus, the fact that Becky Albertalli said it was a “wrenching, heartfelt and vividly human” read, ensured great promise for me.

I love music. I have played piano my whole life and listening to music is a huge part of my life. I was in choir all throughout high school and I thoroughly enjoyed it. So because of this, I loved that music was a huge part of this book. Each character had a specific link to music and it was so enjoyable to see how they each related to it. The fact that this book was written in first person, with respect to the perspective we were reading about, helped the reader to feel as though they were feeling that way about music as well.

The plot of this novel was also well done. I think the novel was well paced. At times it was a bit slow, but I think that for me it was more to do with the characters then the actual storyline (but more on that later).  But overall, it was an enjoyable storyline – one that I felt is a good story to be told.

While I enjoyed reading different perspectives in this book, I just felt as though I really could not connect with the characters. My favourite character was Autumn, and I actually did enjoy reading about her story. I found that her chapters were the ones where I felt invested in and I looked forward to hearing about her experiences – through her eyes. While Shay and Logan were interesting characters, they just did not draw me in. I sometimes found myself reading to quickly and having to go back to catch something, but it was due to the fact that I just wasn’t entirely invested.

However, the most wonderful aspect about these characters is how incredibly diverse they were and I admire Woodfolk for making that an attribute of her book. It clearly played a major role in the development of these characters and I do believe we need more diversity within young adult novels. This is another indication that there were things I liked and also had problems with at the same time.

My other main issue about this book was the use of profanities – and this is truly a minor issue. Now, I’m not someone who truly cares about the use of swearing, especially in books. Sometimes author’s find it to be necessary to get a certain emotion across – and if that’s the case, I’m good with it. However, the use of profanities in this novel was just excessive and completely unnecessary. I found that it really didn’t do anything to make a certain point and really just turned me off of reading on. I think sometimes it felt forced and that it was a ‘cool’ thing to do, when in fact (at least for me) it completely turned me away. I just think overall, the use of profanities in this novel were completely gratuitous.

Overall, it was a solid debut novel but not sure it was entirely for me. While the plot was interesting and intriguing it just fell flat for me. But, I will be on the lookout for this author in the future to see her upcoming novels – mostly because of strong writing and interesting plots.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (2.5)

About the Author:

Ashley Woodfolk graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English and her life-long love of books led her straight to the publishing industry. She’s a member of the CBC Diversity Committee and markets books for children and teens. In her abundance of “spare” time, she writes contemporary YA. Indie movies, beer, books, and burgers are a few of her favourite things. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and pit bull puppy.

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Buy the Book:

Amazon CA | Amazon US | Chapters / Indigo | Book Depository

 

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

2 Comments

  • andywinder says:

    This sounds like a really complicated book–it’s good to see a more critical review on this one because I’ve been looking forward to its publication. This gave me a more balanced perspective of it. Overall, would you recommend this one?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my review! Overall, I would recommend others to check it out. It was a really intriguing story to me and I wanted to love it, I just felt it wasn’t for me. But Woodfolk is a strong writer and I think it definitely has the potential to be good book for someone else! If you end up reading it, let me know your thoughts!

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