The biggest thanks to Penguin Random House International for sending me a review copy of this book and for hosting the Beauty That Remains Blog Tour. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating of this.
There are no spoilers in this review.
I don’t know why I am drawn to books that scream “I will make you cry”, yet here I am, wanting to read them more than anything else in the world. From the moment I first heard about The Beauty That Remains, I knew it had the potential to be this kind of book. You know, the one that makes you shed tears silently or openly bawl your eyes out.
I opened the book one evening last week to start reading The Beauty That Remains. After reading one chapter, I felt like my heart was going to explode and I already wanted to cry.
So, there’s that.
A CHARACTER-DRIVEN STORY WITH LOADS OF FEELINGS
The Beauty That Remains focuses on three characters, after each of them has suffered a big loss in their lives. There’s Autumn, the sweet, “quiet Asian girl”, as she is qualified in the book, an adopted Korean-American teenager, suffering the loss of her best friend of all times, Tavia. There’s Logan, a songwriter/singer suffering the loss of his ex-boyfriend, Bram, whom he still loves. Then, there’s Shay, a black teenager now twin-less after her other half has been taken by leukemia, a couple months ago.
Each of these characters had their own parts in the story, had their own moments and their own ways of dealing with grief. If, for me, their voices weren’t, at times, too distinct, I appreciated each of the narratives so, so much, to the point that some actually made me shed real tears. I loved that each character had their own thing, yet all were quite close to music. From a music blog to song writing to listening. Somehow, my heart grew fonder of Shay as the story went on, yet it’s Autumn’s part of the story that gave a lump in my throat so, so big it started hurting from not trying to cry.
I’m sorry. I’m making this sound awful, while it’s not, really, not at all. The Beauty That Remains is hugely focused on its characters and I rooted for them and wanted them to be okay and, let me tell you, there it is, the sign of a great story.
DIVERSITY & HEARTBREAK: THE WHOLE PACKAGE IS HERE.
Something I really appreciated in this story, is how it includes diverse characters in such a natural way and how it does not shy away from important, raw, heartbreaking issues.
Let’s take the characters first: a Korean-American teenager, another black teenager, another gay teenager. We also get some Latino side-characters, a bi character and so on and this diversity was flawlessly included in the story, I really appreciated it.
Ashley Woodfolk does not hesitate to include the hard, raw, heartbreaking truth in her words and in her story. With her beautiful, simple, straight to the point writing style, she manages to give the reader just the right emotions at the right time and allows us to get into the mind of characters suffering, grieving. From numbness to anger, from tears to guilt, she takes us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions with this story.
The Beauty That Remains was a solid, heartbreaking and beautiful debut. Despite a slow-moving story, it managed to grab my attention with its fantastic characters and care for them like I knew them on a personal level. If you like your stories character-driven, if you like poignant stories as well, with a side of friendships, families and love, just read this book right now.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Trigger warnings: grief, loss, suicide, depression, panic attacks
Ashley Woodfolk, The Beauty That Remains, Published by Delacorte Press, March 6th, 2018, ISBN: 9780525578284.
Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.
Autumn always knew exactly who she 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.
Do you want to read The Beauty That Remains? Why, or why not?
What’s the latest book that made you feel really emotional? Let me know in comments!