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What Beauty There Is

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for What Beauty There Is

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    oh wow. what beauty there is in this book was completely unexpected. this story exceeded all of my expectations in terms of prose, narration, storytelling, characters, and atmosphere. its one of those novels that forces you to feel and experience. jack and matty are everything good in the world personified. this is a story worth loving. thank you so much to macmillan for the ARC! ↠ 4.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Wowwww! This book hurt each bone in my body! My heart is ripped by tiny little razor blades! So intense, so heartfelt, so deep, so effective: it shook me to the core. Those beautiful young characters are like Atlas carrying the entire world on their shoulders. Their pain, their struggle, their loneliness, their resilient, their inner strength blew my mind away! Jack’s mother committed suicide: hanged herself in her room and the poor young son Jack buried his own mother, then took care of his li Wowwww! This book hurt each bone in my body! My heart is ripped by tiny little razor blades! So intense, so heartfelt, so deep, so effective: it shook me to the core. Those beautiful young characters are like Atlas carrying the entire world on their shoulders. Their pain, their struggle, their loneliness, their resilient, their inner strength blew my mind away! Jack’s mother committed suicide: hanged herself in her room and the poor young son Jack buried his own mother, then took care of his little brother alone, lying to him their mother went to a trip. Their father is in the prison from theft and his partner Bardem is still looking for where he hid the money bag. Jack’s path crosses with Ava: other MC of the story. Her mother was forced to leave the house when she was a little girl, witnessing her father Bardem wash the blood from his hands in the sink, telling her scary real crime stories and terrifying life anecdotes about not trusting or loving someone. She knows her father wants the money and she realizes Jack and his brother escape from their house. In fact it’s not their house anymore: because it’s auctioned and they were forced to leave the place in two days. After being attacked by his own father at his visit in prison, he put himself on the radar of Bardem. He also gets attention of officer Doyle who get suspicious because of absence of their drug addict mother ( she’s buried beneath the ground) , he informs them to call child services. Jack cannot lose his brother: they need a safe place to stay! But when all of the accomplices of his father coming for the lost money, it’s hard for them to survive. Matty connects with Ava and brings her into their life. As soon as Ava drags into their mess: she realizes she needs to make a choice: finding the money for her father or helping the brothers. As she starts having feelings for Jack, she cannot make an objective decision. This book is remarkable mash up of Winter’s Bone, Road Winter with Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit movie vibes. Both Jack, Ava and little Matty were well crafted, deeply layered, resonating characters. Especially final third part of the book was action packed, stunningly heart pounding, nail biter, gut wrenching! I think there will be sequel of the series and I cannot wait to read more about the characters. Even though the book is so dark, pessimist, so intense, I got truly intended by deeply emotional narrations of the characters. Especially those words of Ava: “ What you put in your heart will make you heart. But it will be the most spectacular kind of hurt. It will light you up and burn you. It will knock you down. It will break you apart. And it will make you different.” It is impossible not to root for the amazing, sad, dedicated love story of Jack&Ava and wish to see they get through all those struggles, reach to their own happy ending. Those delicate, sensitive, tough kids broke me so hard! That’s why even their story made me so sad and hurt me so hard, I’m rounding up my 4.5 stars to 5 amazingly poignant, tear jerker, heart pounding, snow storm stars! Special thanks to Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group/ Roaring Brook Press for sharing this digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joan He

    I don't have many words to describe the experience of this book because it's left me quite speechless. the essence of it feels like a classic but it's also no frills, unpretentious, and so real and raw in how it presents itself. the writing is really something to marvel at and it's amazing how much Cory packs in three, two words, sometimes even one. Seriously, I could read her descriptions of the snow falling and the wind rustling through the Idaho pines all day long. But what really gripped me I don't have many words to describe the experience of this book because it's left me quite speechless. the essence of it feels like a classic but it's also no frills, unpretentious, and so real and raw in how it presents itself. the writing is really something to marvel at and it's amazing how much Cory packs in three, two words, sometimes even one. Seriously, I could read her descriptions of the snow falling and the wind rustling through the Idaho pines all day long. But what really gripped me and kept me racing through the pages were her characters. Ava, Jack, Matty, and holy smokes BARDEM. They're all written in such a way that I had a hard time believing that they didn't actually exist. The dialogue is fitting of a screenplay. The details down to every thread and wisp of smoke and leap of pulse were enthralling. And don't get me started on that ending. Highly, highly recommend; you'll come away from this book seeing the world in a different way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cassandra Hartt

    I am obsessed with this book. Spare, haunting prose, an emotionally intense plot, and a setting that will chill you to the bone, you'll be rooting for Jack, Matty, and Eva through the very last page. I am obsessed with this book. Spare, haunting prose, an emotionally intense plot, and a setting that will chill you to the bone, you'll be rooting for Jack, Matty, and Eva through the very last page.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Cory Anderson writes a beautifully lyrical and unforgettable novel set in a remote small town in the bone-chilling freezing and bleak wintry landscape of the Rockies. 17 year old Jack Dahl is bearing burdens no teenager should have to carry, his mother has been floating away from him and his younger brother, Matty, for some time with her opiate addiction, and has taken the final step to leave her family and life, by choosing to hang herself. His father, Leland, is incarcerated in prison for the Cory Anderson writes a beautifully lyrical and unforgettable novel set in a remote small town in the bone-chilling freezing and bleak wintry landscape of the Rockies. 17 year old Jack Dahl is bearing burdens no teenager should have to carry, his mother has been floating away from him and his younger brother, Matty, for some time with her opiate addiction, and has taken the final step to leave her family and life, by choosing to hang herself. His father, Leland, is incarcerated in prison for the robbery of a pawn shop, in reality the financial proceeds of the drug trade. Jack is left with no good choices when it comes to survival, he has barely any food or money, but he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the adorable and vulnerable Matty, under threat of being taken away by social services. He buries his mother in the hard frozen ground, leaving him with sore, bloody and blistered hands. Ava Bardem is the daughter of a father, Victor, a cruel, merciless and sadistic killer, whose love has wrapped Ava tightly into a cage where no-one is allowed to get close to her. When Jack helps her, the new girl, out of a distressing scenario at school, she tells him to stay away from her, harbouring secrets of a past that connects them. Left with no other options, Jack decides to seek the elusive briefcase of money hidden by his father so that he can financially provide food and a home for Matty, but can he trust anyone? This makes him the target, stalked by of a number of bad guys, including Victor, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on the loot, as the murder of a correctional officer is followed by a rising tide of dead bodies. Sheriff Doyle aware the boys are in desperate danger races against time to find them. As Jack's life hangs by a thread, the only person there for him and Matty is a Ava willing to burn the house down to keep them safe. Anderson's writing is poetic, an artful if heartbreaking emotional rollercoaster of darkness, pain, despair and tragedies, young lives for whom hope is in short supply, where the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, is railed against, how is it possible for either Jack and Ava to be masters of their own fates and the captains of their souls? This was a superb and atmospheric read, so memorable, of uncommon intensity and vibrancy, although I found it difficult to continue at times, the never ending threats to life that hit Jack, Ava and Matty, but there are the rare shards of light, love and hope to delight in. This may well not be a book for everyone, but I loved it. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Penguin Random House for an ARC.

  6. 4 out of 5

    sahar

    "some moments you long for, to live inside them, to never leave. others you regret. you wish for a second chance. i make sure to remember them all. it's a fine romance, this slow dance with fate. a sweet torture. i don't forget. i never will." wow. my heart is completely shattered. if a perfect novel exists, this is it. such an amazing debut told in beautiful prose. it's truly one of those reads that will stick with you long after you've finished it. prepare for an emotional journey that will kee "some moments you long for, to live inside them, to never leave. others you regret. you wish for a second chance. i make sure to remember them all. it's a fine romance, this slow dance with fate. a sweet torture. i don't forget. i never will." wow. my heart is completely shattered. if a perfect novel exists, this is it. such an amazing debut told in beautiful prose. it's truly one of those reads that will stick with you long after you've finished it. prepare for an emotional journey that will keep you on your toes until the very last page. (tw: child abuse, suicide, death) ➵ 5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Muzmuz

    1st thank you to the author and TheWriteReads for the ARC copy. trigger warning: Violence, suicide and child abuse. I didn't know what i was heading into when i 1st started reading this book, it was recommended to me by my good friend Dave and i just went into it blind. Now this story is told from two main views but mainly starts each chapter with "her" view and let me tell you I LOVE her little parts at the beginning of each chapter * practically highlighted all of them* The writing style was easy 1st thank you to the author and TheWriteReads for the ARC copy. trigger warning: Violence, suicide and child abuse. I didn't know what i was heading into when i 1st started reading this book, it was recommended to me by my good friend Dave and i just went into it blind. Now this story is told from two main views but mainly starts each chapter with "her" view and let me tell you I LOVE her little parts at the beginning of each chapter * practically highlighted all of them* The writing style was easy to follow and the pace was perfect, once you start you won't realize how far your into the story till someone snaps you out of it *which is always a good sign* The story is a bit heavy comparing to how easy it was the read it and i swear i did not expect that ending *had a totally different ending in my mind* but never the less my heart broke. For a debut novel, the author did amazing and am looking forward to the next installment of this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I am a complete and utter wreck. I don't know how I'm supposed to go on. I knew from the blurb that this book was going to be tough, but I didn't know just how brutal it would be. I almost stopped reading before I even really got started, but for Jack and Matty, like Jack and Matty, I had to keep going. This story tore my heart apart, but it stole it as well. Jack and Matty own that battered and bruised organ and I don't care if I ever get it back. This book will haunt me for a very long time. It I am a complete and utter wreck. I don't know how I'm supposed to go on. I knew from the blurb that this book was going to be tough, but I didn't know just how brutal it would be. I almost stopped reading before I even really got started, but for Jack and Matty, like Jack and Matty, I had to keep going. This story tore my heart apart, but it stole it as well. Jack and Matty own that battered and bruised organ and I don't care if I ever get it back. This book will haunt me for a very long time. It will be joining my favorites on a very special shelf. It's hard to believe this is Cory Anderson's first book. I'm so blown away by the writing and the story. What Beauty There Is is a stunning, poignant, and powerful debut novel and I cannot wait to read more by this author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marion

    This book is beautiful. I love a book where I know the author has thought about each and every word before placing it on the page. Where the prose feels like poetry. When it feels like there is a rhythm and cadence to the sentences and paragraphs. I'm not reading a book, I'm experiencing it. This book is that. I also love a book with a tight plot, perfect pacing, tense situations, and action and adventure. This book is that. A well-written book with a tight plot and beautiful prose, however, is n This book is beautiful. I love a book where I know the author has thought about each and every word before placing it on the page. Where the prose feels like poetry. When it feels like there is a rhythm and cadence to the sentences and paragraphs. I'm not reading a book, I'm experiencing it. This book is that. I also love a book with a tight plot, perfect pacing, tense situations, and action and adventure. This book is that. A well-written book with a tight plot and beautiful prose, however, is nothing without deep, rich, and true characters. Characters you learn to love. Characters to whom you can't bear to say goodbye. Characters who will forever be tucked in the back of your mind. This book is that too. This book. This book is beautiful.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan Rivera

    Jack has to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. It’s a great book with a lot of mystery and I really enjoyed it and if you enjoy mystery I would recommend reading it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lili Marcus

    What beauty There Is wasn’t just an action-packed thriller that had me at the edge of my seat, it was also heartbreaking, inspiring and almost haunting. First, I want to talk about the potential trigger warnings in this book. There are a lot, but the one that affected me the most is the suicide element. I know it seems like I’m spoiling something but I think it’s important that readers dive into this book prepared. To be honest I was prepared. I was expecting potential triggers but the suicide pa What beauty There Is wasn’t just an action-packed thriller that had me at the edge of my seat, it was also heartbreaking, inspiring and almost haunting. First, I want to talk about the potential trigger warnings in this book. There are a lot, but the one that affected me the most is the suicide element. I know it seems like I’m spoiling something but I think it’s important that readers dive into this book prepared. To be honest I was prepared. I was expecting potential triggers but the suicide part hits me hard and I wasn’t expecting to encounter it so early in the book. So readers, please be warned, and reviewers, please put trigger warnings in your reviews. Because personally, I am in the right head space right now, still it affected me. And as I said, this book has lots of potential triggers and a fellow blogger, Jenny (JenJen Reviews) and her partner created Book Trigger Warnings where you can see lists of trigger warnings for particular books. For this book, you can see the list in THIS PAGE. Okay, now to a proper review… When I picked up this book, I lowered my expectation because the blurb hinted some elements I think I already read from other books in this genre. And after reading it, I can say that yes, the plot has some cliche elements but surprisingly, I wasn’t bothered by them. I think the main reason is the book still managed to evoke strong emotions and reactions from me and that, more than anything, is what I look for in my reads. My chest tightened right from the first chapter and from there, things just got more intense. It is action-packed and what’s at stake for the characters is too high. There is too much pain and struggles for the main characters that I just want it to end. It was almost like there will never be light at the end of the tunnel for them. I was heart broken for these characters. But despite them breaking me, I found this book heartwarming too. I really couldn’t help but feel for the main characters and I was at the edge of my seat, waiting for things to go wrong. I like the characters. I mean I really didn’t identify myself to any of them but like I said, I feel for them. I cared for them. I think Jack, Matty and Ava’s characters are layered and well-crafted. They’re all so emotional too but strong in their own ways. The author showed how their upbringings affected their present lives, especially the choices they’ve made but the story also showed how they broke through them. I loved how developed the characters are. “ What you put in your heart will make you heart. But it will be the most spectacular kind of hurt. It will light you up and burn you. It will knock you down. It will break you apart. And it will make you different.” – Cory Anderson (What Beauty There Is) The writing style is not spectacular in any way but it’s fine. The author has these amazing lines throughout the book but while reading, there were times I felt like some scenes are chunky and just generally lacking but overall, I was satisfied because at the end, the book delivered what it promised, which is a heartfelt, action-packed thriller. Plus there are parts, some scenes that are haunting. There were some gory scenes which again reminds me of potential trigger warnings. Again, be warned.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Livy

    This book was incredible. It was fast-paced and engaging and very atmospheric and I really felt like I was there with Jack, Matty and Ava as the plot unfolded. The characters were well developed and felt very real as we got key insights into their psyche from Ava's perspective as well as getting what she thought of them all. Jack was a brilliant character, he would do anything for his little brother Matty and that was what kept him going throughout the entire book and sends him on his dangerous j This book was incredible. It was fast-paced and engaging and very atmospheric and I really felt like I was there with Jack, Matty and Ava as the plot unfolded. The characters were well developed and felt very real as we got key insights into their psyche from Ava's perspective as well as getting what she thought of them all. Jack was a brilliant character, he would do anything for his little brother Matty and that was what kept him going throughout the entire book and sends him on his dangerous journey that takes up the book. Matty is incredibly sweet and also a great little brother as he does what Jack says but is also very smart and aware near the end of the story. Ava is very interesting, especially as the book is sort of told from her perspective and she instigates a large chunk of the plot and so is very important to the book. And Bardem is honestly terrifying and I give massive kudos to Jack for standing up against him. \ The plot, as I have said, is fast-paced and kept me on the edge of the seat the entire time. The short chapters really added to this as it felt like we were racing towards the end as the narrator/Ava told us the story knowing of course how it all ended. I really felt for Jack as he struggled to look after his little brother Matty and deal with men like Bardem and his father and I could really feel his pain and desperation coming through the pages. And I loved how it all hinged on certain moments and the decisions which certain characters made because it made the story more human as a whole and that is something that I love. The writing was incredible, it was action-packed and very atmospheric. I could imagine the setting because of the descriptions, I really felt like I was there in Idaho in winter. Plus, as I have mentioned the characters were incredible and very real and that takes a great deal of skill. The whole book is absolutely incredible and I just loved reading it so much! I was kindly provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Kelsen

    I can’t believe how much I love this story! The gorgeous lyrical writing, the characters, the setting, all of it was absolutely flawless in execution. I finished the book with tears in my eyes and my heart aching. Jack Dahl is such a fierce protector, not just of his little brother Matty but of Ava too. This book absolutely exceeded all of my expectations and I am just in awe. Well done Cory Anderson, well done indeed!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lousbookstuff

    You can find my full review for this as well as other books on my blog here Oh, where do I even begin with this book? My poor, poor heart! First of all let me just thank Dave at TheWriteReads, the author and the publisher for my gifted copy of this fantastic book and for giving me the chance to take part in this tour. I absolutely devoured the story and couldn’t put it down. For those who need trigger warnings ill just say that this book is quite dark and there is violence, suicide, drugs and child You can find my full review for this as well as other books on my blog here Oh, where do I even begin with this book? My poor, poor heart! First of all let me just thank Dave at TheWriteReads, the author and the publisher for my gifted copy of this fantastic book and for giving me the chance to take part in this tour. I absolutely devoured the story and couldn’t put it down. For those who need trigger warnings ill just say that this book is quite dark and there is violence, suicide, drugs and child neglect. What Beauty There Is follows 17 year old Jack Dahl and his younger brother Matty on a haunting, bone-chilling journey of survival. It shows the length that Jack will go to, to keep his brother safe and it really is heart-breaking to read. The authors way of writing is quite unusual and so descriptive that as you’re reading about the cold and the snow you can almost hear the wind snapping the trees and the cold seeping into your bones. The characters are so deep and complex and their stories are what keep you racing through the pages, desperate to know what happens next. I was rooting for Jack, Matty and Ava the whole way through and it was so full of twists and turns that I really had no idea whether or not it was all going to work out for them in the end. It was impossible to predict and although it was harrowing to read it was completely thrilling and I was absorbed from the first until the last page. If I had to criticise anything at all it would have to be the writing style. Although I loved the descriptiveness of the book I found the style to be a little bit stilted. I have a feeling this was done on purpose to add to the feeling of fear the kids were feeling but I just wasn’t the biggest fan and that is why I have give it a 4 instead of a 5. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers and dark themes. It is fast paced, easy to read and understand and completely immersive and gripping.

  15. 4 out of 5

    rina dunn

    Well hello there Cory Anderson with your absolute amazing Debut! Honestly be prepared for me to rave about your book because its one of the best books I've read in a while! What Beauty There is a story about Jack and his little brother Matty. They have nothing. Nothing apart from each other, No family and no money. Jack is determined that they stay together, he can't lose him but the authorities are on their case and its either he finds the drug money that sent his father to prison or Matty is t Well hello there Cory Anderson with your absolute amazing Debut! Honestly be prepared for me to rave about your book because its one of the best books I've read in a while! What Beauty There is a story about Jack and his little brother Matty. They have nothing. Nothing apart from each other, No family and no money. Jack is determined that they stay together, he can't lose him but the authorities are on their case and its either he finds the drug money that sent his father to prison or Matty is taken from him. Ava Bardem lives with her controlling father, she's learnt not to trust and not to love anyone, or anything. When Ava's and Jack's world collide she questions everything and has big decisions to make. I devoured this book in just less than 24 hours it is that good! Firstly Anderson held me in the palm of her hand from the very first sentence. I immediately felt this maternal, protective nature over Jack and Matty, they both have been dealt devastating blows and life isn't about to get easier for them. Ava is such a great character and although is in a tricky situation boy did I admire her. She always tried to do what her heart told her despite going against everything she had been conditioned to believe and her love for Matty and Jack really shone through. The pacing is brilliant and I literally felt my heart leap into my throat on so many occasions. Its intense and action packed, yet beautifully balanced with so much emotion. I loved the real sense of desperation yet instinct to survive in this book. Its ultimately about broken characters trying to keep their loved ones close and gosh it hit me right in the feels as they say. Cory captures that sibling bond perfectly. I massively hope that this beautiful, often heartbreaking yet hopeful book gets the recognition it deserves because in my humble opinion its phenomenal. I love when you go into a book not knowing a lot about it and it completely wows you. I hope there is going to be a book two and three and four okay I'll stop now but honestly please let this be a series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara Ellison

    If I had realized that this book was going to be the first in a series, I probably never would have requested it because the last thing I need in my life is to be invested in a YA series of books, particularly one that is only on book #1. BUT. I'm so glad I did request and read this book because I ended up LOVING it. This book hit so many of the weird things that I like but barely ever get to read about. Bone-chillingly cold setting that makes me want to be snuggled under a blanket the entire tim If I had realized that this book was going to be the first in a series, I probably never would have requested it because the last thing I need in my life is to be invested in a YA series of books, particularly one that is only on book #1. BUT. I'm so glad I did request and read this book because I ended up LOVING it. This book hit so many of the weird things that I like but barely ever get to read about. Bone-chillingly cold setting that makes me want to be snuggled under a blanket the entire time I am reading it? Check. Characters struggling to survive against all odds with a tiny amount of money and some ingenuity? Got it. Pursuit by random, shadowy "bad guys" that are completely unimportant other than to get the characters on the run and hiding out in questionable locations? ABSOLUTELY. I loved reading this book and was sad to finish it (this book hasn't even technically been released yet, so I'm obviously going to be waiting a while to get my hands on the second one), but there are a couple of things that could have been done better and kept it from being a five star read for me. The insta-love was way too quick and without any explanation whatsoever. The two main characters go from not even knowing each other to being all-in and ready to die for one another literally overnight without even so much as an in-depth conversation between the two of them. Most of the story is told in third person, but there are these little snippets at the beginning of each chapter in first person, and they were mostly super cheesy and took away from the story instead of adding to it. Later in the book, the perspective suddenly changes to first person for a short time, and I thought it was a bad choice. And finally, the villain was so overdone...I could tell what the author was going for (a cold, untouchable, scary-smart mastermind), but the end result was a cringe-inducing caricature of what a teen boy in a fedora hopes to grow up to be. Where this book really shines is in Jack and Matty and their struggle for survival in a world that is stacked against them. I got very invested in Jack and his love for his brother Matty, and even in the romantic tension between Jack and Ava (although I wish it had been better developed). The prose is unique and might not be for everyone, but for me it was just different enough to be intriguing without going over the top. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a unique YA read that is not an epic fantasy (bonus points if you're into the hurt/comfort trope). *eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca (Bex the Bibliophile)

    Thank you so much to TheWriteReads and the publisher Penguin for my review copy. This in no way affects my opinion. What Beauty There Is is the first YA Thriller that I have read in a long time, but it has inspired me to dive back into the genre. I loved the novel’s fast-paced nature and am left wanting more; I can’t wait to see what Cory Anderson writes next. My favourite part of What Beauty There Is was the relationship between Jack and Matty. The lengths that Jack went to protect his brother wa Thank you so much to TheWriteReads and the publisher Penguin for my review copy. This in no way affects my opinion. What Beauty There Is is the first YA Thriller that I have read in a long time, but it has inspired me to dive back into the genre. I loved the novel’s fast-paced nature and am left wanting more; I can’t wait to see what Cory Anderson writes next. My favourite part of What Beauty There Is was the relationship between Jack and Matty. The lengths that Jack went to protect his brother warmed my heart. Cory Anderson captured their bond perfectly, and I can’t wait to see how it will develop as the series continues. I wasn’t initially as on board with Jack and Ava’s relationship as it all felt quite sudden to me, but as I carried on reading, I found myself enjoying their moments more. I found a couple of the other characters quite interesting, but as the book was mainly focused on Ava, Jack and Matty, I don’t think that I knew them as well by the end. What Beauty There Is is predominantly told from Jack’s POV, but there are a couple of cameos from other characters. I would have prefered it if it was only told from Jack’s POV as I sometimes found it difficult to determine who I was reading from and where they fit into the story at that moment. This did pull me out of the story as I had to spend time working out who they were, and they were meant to interact with the other characters. That being said, I did love the book’s format as while the majority is in the third person, at the start of each chapter, there is a section in first person, which I found really intriguing. The descriptions in What Beauty There Is really helped with building the atmosphere and the sense of danger. I loved Cory Anderson’s way of describing the cold and snow, and I could genuinely imagine myself feeling how the characters did. I think this helped with my enjoyment and kept me intrigued by the story. I can’t wait to see what Cory Anderson will write; hopefully, it will be the sequel to What Beauty There Is, as I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Permanently_Booked

    In my first impression I was drawn to the cover and had the feeling this would deliver something deliciously dark and magical. Dark is an understatement when it comes to the context of this novel and the magic I expected was more in the sense of hope and feeling. The best way to describe this novel is haunting and heavy. From the start it has a heartbreaking atmosphere with suicide and two brothers left alone to survive together. While Jack grows up too quickly making decisions that not only inc In my first impression I was drawn to the cover and had the feeling this would deliver something deliciously dark and magical. Dark is an understatement when it comes to the context of this novel and the magic I expected was more in the sense of hope and feeling. The best way to describe this novel is haunting and heavy. From the start it has a heartbreaking atmosphere with suicide and two brothers left alone to survive together. While Jack grows up too quickly making decisions that not only include protecting his little brother from the foster care system; he’s also trying to provide shelter and food in poverish conditions. Ava was raised with an almost soulless father who taught her to love no one and trust even less. Her narrative voice was beautiful and poetic as she recounts her encounters with Jack and his little brother. These characters are so well developed and fleshed out with a remarkable and piercing depth. You can’t help but be drawn to the chaos in their lives and how their parental relations have molded them into who they are. There is no mercy in the plot of what they go through and what we learn of each of them. I can’t tell you how many times my heart broke and slowly the author found way to piece it back together only to pull it all apart again. I won a copy on Bookishfirst but also had the ability to listen to the ALC from Macmillan. The duel narration between Dan Bittner and Emma Galvin was exceptionally done. They both presented the tone of each character fluidly and with the emotional depth expected of a novel like this. Their tandem narration was exactly what I highly recommend either versions for those who enjoy reading and listening. You will not be disappointed. Thank you to Cory Anderson, Macmillan Audio, Bookishfirst and Roaring Brook Press (Fierce Reads / Macmillan ), for the ability to immerse myself fully into this novel. This is a read that will stick with me for a very long time. True rating 4.5/5.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    The tale of Jack and Ava is bleak, but you can’t help but fall under their spell. Each of them knows what it’s like to have a secret. They’ve spent years learning to hide the reality of who they are. They each know how others judge them because of their family. Jack’s father is in prison for his involvement in crime. His mother has given up, and when Jack finds her hanged in her room, he vows not to let his younger brother down. He buries his mother, then sets about trying to do whatever he can t The tale of Jack and Ava is bleak, but you can’t help but fall under their spell. Each of them knows what it’s like to have a secret. They’ve spent years learning to hide the reality of who they are. They each know how others judge them because of their family. Jack’s father is in prison for his involvement in crime. His mother has given up, and when Jack finds her hanged in her room, he vows not to let his younger brother down. He buries his mother, then sets about trying to do whatever he can to find the money his father is rumoured to have hidden and look after his brother. Unfortunately, his father’s ex partner (who also happens to be Ava’s dad) and others are determined to get their hands on the money. Jack is at risk and he has to trust someone who has the capacity to hurt him greatly. We follow the boys as they search for a way to escape what looks inevitable. We see the growing closeness between Jack and Ava, and we see our two main characters forced to make difficult choices as they determine how they want to live life for themselves. I can’t begin to understand the background of either of these two, but their grit and determination was admirable. I’m curious to know more about the sheriff who ultimately helps them out, and the ending certainly implies we’re not done with this story yet. Thanks to NetGalley for granting me access to this prior to publication in exchange for my honest thoughts.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolann

    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I thought I was going to love this book. And the other early reviews of this book are glowing. But a lot of this book felt very off to me. The premise drew me in. Jack's mom commits suicide, leaving him to take care of Matty. He has to be careful not to let anyone know she has committed suicide because he knows they will take Matty away. They have less than $20, no food, no heat. So Jack decides I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I thought I was going to love this book. And the other early reviews of this book are glowing. But a lot of this book felt very off to me. The premise drew me in. Jack's mom commits suicide, leaving him to take care of Matty. He has to be careful not to let anyone know she has committed suicide because he knows they will take Matty away. They have less than $20, no food, no heat. So Jack decides to try to find the money that his father stole that landed him in jail. Jack's dad's partner is not in jail but is on his tail, also wanting the money and not stopping at anything to get it.  But a lot of the book felt gratuitous. It felt unrealistic in many ways. It was ... boring. The ominous first person reflections in the beginnings of the chapter didn't work for me. More character development was needed. And the ending felt rushed and unresolved. This book has been compared to The Road, which I absolutely hated, so I guess it's no surprise I didn't like this one.  TW: suicide, violence 

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carolann

    I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I thought I was going to love this book. And the other early reviews of this book are glowing. But a lot of this book felt very off to me. The premise drew me in. Jack's mom commits suicide, leaving him to take care of Matty. He has to be careful not to let anyone know she has committed suicide because he knows they will take Matty away. They have less than $20, no food, no heat. So Jack decides I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted to love this book. I thought I was going to love this book. And the other early reviews of this book are glowing. But a lot of this book felt very off to me. The premise drew me in. Jack's mom commits suicide, leaving him to take care of Matty. He has to be careful not to let anyone know she has committed suicide because he knows they will take Matty away. They have less than $20, no food, no heat. So Jack decides to try to find the money that his father stole that landed him in jail. Jack's dad's partner is not in jail but is on his tail, also wanting the money and not stopping at anything to get it.  But a lot of the book felt gratuitous. It felt unrealistic in many ways. It was ... boring.The ominous first person reflections in the beginnings of the chapter didn't work for me. More character development was needed. And the ending felt rushed and unresolved.  This book has been compared to The Road, which I absolutely hated, so I guess it's no surprise I didn't like this one.  TW: suicide, violence

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Cory Anderson’s novel “What Beauty There Is” will chill you to your bones, only to remind you what warmth feels like. Jack Dahl’s life is looking bleak. With his father in jail with no sign of parole and a mother who has given up on hope, Jack becomes the sole provider for his younger brother Matty. Money quickly becomes an issue for the two and Jack is tempted into retracing his father’s footsteps, looking for an answer to their money problems. When Jack bumps into newcomer Ava at school, it’s Cory Anderson’s novel “What Beauty There Is” will chill you to your bones, only to remind you what warmth feels like. Jack Dahl’s life is looking bleak. With his father in jail with no sign of parole and a mother who has given up on hope, Jack becomes the sole provider for his younger brother Matty. Money quickly becomes an issue for the two and Jack is tempted into retracing his father’s footsteps, looking for an answer to their money problems. When Jack bumps into newcomer Ava at school, it’s clear she’s something special, so why does everything she say have a double meaning? In this quick paced, sweaty palmed tale, Anderson paints a thrilling portrait of what it means when you leave a boy to fend for himself and the one he loves most. Readers will root for the Dahl brothers as they navigate the treacherous decision of who they can and cannot trust. Being on the run is all fun and games until Jack realizes not everything is what is seems. While not all questions are answered by the end of this story, readers will quickly fall in love with the Dahl brothers and Ava, three souls who deserve so much more than the hand they are dealt.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Cory Anderson’s novel “What Beauty There Is” will chill you to your bones, only to remind you what warmth feels like. Jack Dahl’s life is looking bleak. With his father in jail with no sign of parole and a mother who has given up on hope, Jack becomes the sole provider for his younger brother Matty. Money quickly becomes an issue for the two and Jack is tempted into retracing his father’s footsteps, looking for an answer to their money problems. When Jack bumps into newcomer Ava at school, it’s Cory Anderson’s novel “What Beauty There Is” will chill you to your bones, only to remind you what warmth feels like. Jack Dahl’s life is looking bleak. With his father in jail with no sign of parole and a mother who has given up on hope, Jack becomes the sole provider for his younger brother Matty. Money quickly becomes an issue for the two and Jack is tempted into retracing his father’s footsteps, looking for an answer to their money problems. When Jack bumps into newcomer Ava at school, it’s clear she’s something special, so why does everything she say have a double meaning? In this quick paced, sweaty palmed tale, Anderson paints a thrilling portrait of what it means when you leave a boy to fend for himself and the one he loves most. Readers will root for the Dahl brothers as they navigate the treacherous decision of who they can and cannot trust. Being on the run is all fun and games until Jack realizes not everything is what is seems. While not all questions are answered by the end of this story, readers will quickly fall in love with the Dahl brothers and Ava, three souls who deserve so much more than the hand they are dealt.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Mackenzie-Smaller

    I loved reading this book. It’s only in coming here to review that I have noticed it seems to be described as YA. Please don’t let that put you off. Cory Anderson has written a beautiful book and has clearly chosen to evoke feelings of absolute desolation alongside hope with some very carefully selected prose. Jack and his little brother Matty are in a pretty bad place when we meet them. Dad is in prison, mum has a serous addiction problem and they are about to be evicted. A horrifying turn of ev I loved reading this book. It’s only in coming here to review that I have noticed it seems to be described as YA. Please don’t let that put you off. Cory Anderson has written a beautiful book and has clearly chosen to evoke feelings of absolute desolation alongside hope with some very carefully selected prose. Jack and his little brother Matty are in a pretty bad place when we meet them. Dad is in prison, mum has a serous addiction problem and they are about to be evicted. A horrifying turn of events sees the two brothers alone, with twenty dollars between them in the height of winter. To survive, they need to find their dad’s drug money. The problem is, their dad’s associate wants it too. And to complicate matters further, Jack meets a girl who wants to help him, but she’s got some dad problems too... This book is brutal in many ways. Your heart aches for Jack and Matty, even as you cheer them on. The landscape, and the cold form an integral part of what makes the book so hard to read, and the denouement is both harrowing and hopeful at the same time. This one will stay with me for a long time I think. Read with The Pigeonhole.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    4.5/5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for an advanced copy of this to review! Honestly, the first thing I noticed about this book was the cover. Look how gorgeous it is! The writing within reflects the beautiful title, you can trust me on that. First of all, this is a pretty dark, heavy book. It deals with a lot of heavy issues, like suicide, drug addiction, and abusive relationships. However, Anderson does it in such a way that your heart hurts for the characters. Jack and Matty find t 4.5/5 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for an advanced copy of this to review! Honestly, the first thing I noticed about this book was the cover. Look how gorgeous it is! The writing within reflects the beautiful title, you can trust me on that. First of all, this is a pretty dark, heavy book. It deals with a lot of heavy issues, like suicide, drug addiction, and abusive relationships. However, Anderson does it in such a way that your heart hurts for the characters. Jack and Matty find themselves in a more and more dangerous situation throughout, living through hardships that no one should have to endure. While the character development is definitely well done, the plot is where this book shines. The book starts out running and doesn't let up until the very end. Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat almost the whole time reading this. The characters and the plot work together to create a story that pulls you in and doesn't let go. Plus, the ending sets up the sequel, which I'm sure will be just as compelling. This book is dark, but there's still an element of hoping running through it. It's all that keeps Jack, Matty, and Ava moving forward. The hope that eventually, they'll get to the finish line. The hope that their lives could possibly be normal, someday. Despite the emotional devastation this book might put you through, it's one of those books that will keep you thinking long after you finish it. These characters won't leave your mind easily, and all the more reason to wait anxiously for the next book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty Stanley

    4.75 stars First up this book could do with one heck of a trigger warning. There wasn’t one in the ARC so I don’t know if there is one in the finished copy. TW for suicide, addiction, violence, murder. This book gets straight into the dark stuff and it keeps on piling although there are periods of quiet respite. It is a gritty depiction of the ugly sides of life and it feels authentic in its rawness. I can see this one winning prizes! Each chapter starts off with Ava’s voice, speaking from the en 4.75 stars First up this book could do with one heck of a trigger warning. There wasn’t one in the ARC so I don’t know if there is one in the finished copy. TW for suicide, addiction, violence, murder. This book gets straight into the dark stuff and it keeps on piling although there are periods of quiet respite. It is a gritty depiction of the ugly sides of life and it feels authentic in its rawness. I can see this one winning prizes! Each chapter starts off with Ava’s voice, speaking from the end of the story, adding weight to our foreboding, as an example the end of her part in chapter two says ‘We knew each other nine days.’ The rest of the chapters are close third person, mainly from Jack’s POV but also from the antagonist and a cop. The three children, teenagers Jack and Ava, and Jack’s younger brother Matty are definitely victims of their circumstances - all born into families that mean they do not have a head start at life. Two quotes that struck me were: “He lay in the dark and the blue, and he wished for a more beautiful world than there was.” “You can’t just tell people they’re the master of their fate and let them believe it. They’ll think they’ve done something wrong their entire life.” Those reflect how much this book makes your heart bleed for these characters. But they do find beauty in each other and it’s their relationships - the tender love between the brothers, the youngest looking to the eldest for protection; and the blossoming feelings between Ava and Jack. There is a hint of instant attraction between them but it is the kindness they show each other that has you rooting for this pair of starcrossed lovers. There are definite echoes of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in their tale, which swaps Verona for Idaho. The wintery snowy landscape adds to the atmosphere of the story - with the constrast between its barrenness and beauty reflecting the characters’ experiences. Anderson’s prose is beautiful. This book has a very lyrical feel which plays against the brutality in the story. Book 1 will shatter you. According to goodreads a book 2 is planned and some healing is definitely needed. I’m certainly not ready to let these characters go. Thanks you to @TheWriteReads and the publisher for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    Content Warnings: Graphic depictions of child neglect/abuse, Death, and Suicide I only read about 20 pages so I wasn't even going to mark this as DNF. But I've looked through a bunch of reviews and didn't see a single trigger warning list. So I just wanted to pop on and mention that this opens up with a really intense scene of suicide and child neglect. Definitely tread cautiously! The writing was beautiful from what I read, but unfortunately I just wasn't able to handle the graphic depictions. Content Warnings: Graphic depictions of child neglect/abuse, Death, and Suicide I only read about 20 pages so I wasn't even going to mark this as DNF. But I've looked through a bunch of reviews and didn't see a single trigger warning list. So I just wanted to pop on and mention that this opens up with a really intense scene of suicide and child neglect. Definitely tread cautiously! The writing was beautiful from what I read, but unfortunately I just wasn't able to handle the graphic depictions.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Singrey

    "I told Jack to stay away. He'll make you hurt, I said. He'll take what matters most. He'll do it with a smile and then he'll smoke a cigarette. Jack didn't listen." Jack's father is in prison for killing a man during an armed robbery, and the briefcase full of money has never been found. His father double-crossed some dangerous people, including Bardem, the father of Ava, the new girl at school. When something happens to their mom, Jack desperately needs money to take care of his little brother, "I told Jack to stay away. He'll make you hurt, I said. He'll take what matters most. He'll do it with a smile and then he'll smoke a cigarette. Jack didn't listen." Jack's father is in prison for killing a man during an armed robbery, and the briefcase full of money has never been found. His father double-crossed some dangerous people, including Bardem, the father of Ava, the new girl at school. When something happens to their mom, Jack desperately needs money to take care of his little brother, Matty. This book is simultaneously gorgeous and gritty, with characters who win your whole heart. There's Matty, who's seen too much, but is still desperately clinging to a childhood represented by Hot Wheels cars and cereal in bed. There's Jack, who'll do anything to protect Matty and keep the family together after they lose both parents, even go up against drug dealers in search of the briefcase of money his dad hid years ago. He doesn't stop even when the bullets start flying. And then there's Ava, the daughter of the boy's father's sworn enemy, who wants to care about someone despite being taught not to by her monstrous father. Sparks fly immediately between Jack and Ava, despite her trying to stay away from him. But when she decides to make his problems her own, she dives in with her whole heart. Each chapter starts with a poetic musing or story, which we quickly understand is Ava's perspective. "What made you? How did you form? From where did your layers and your curves and your holes come? Your gentle and your savage places? The bright and the deep hallowed dark. The valleys and cliffs of your soul. The loud and silent. For what does your heart beat? I think about these things." The ending was ambiguous, but I hear there's a sequel, so I'll forgive the book that. It's worth reading for the beautiful language and the gripping characters. Cory Anderson is a new voice to watch in YA. Trigger warning: Suicide and violence. Thank you to BookishFirst and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maggie W.

    Out April 6th, I got an advanced reader copy. Tbh the characters were kinda bland, but the story wasn’t horrible ig

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I felt a heaviness in my chest reading this. Loneliness, desperation, and love interwine in a beautiful yet heartwrenching story. One that explored the sins of the father and what one would do for those you love.

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