Title: The Beauty That Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)
“They say that dead people who have unfinished business with the living become ghosts. That their spirits linger here, or in limbo somwhere, and that they can’t rest in peace until they’ve done whatever it is that they needed to do. But no one ever talks about the living who have unfinished business with the dead. Where is the plane they’re banished to, and how do they ever find peace again?“
Let me preface this by saying: I love seeing diverse main characters in books. It’s always refreshing to see authors break away from the white heterosexual “default”. Unfortunately, however, this book didn’t really do it for me. I think the author tried a little too hard to get a variety of diverse characters and instead of feeling natural, it felt like marking things off on a checklist. There was just simply too much going on and too many characters and stories to keep track of. As a result, we weren’t able to really dive in emotionally and feel the full extent of each individual’s grief.
My other big complaint is that the storylines don’t overlap or intersect at all until almost the end of the book and then when they do, it seems forced and thin, almost like it was an afterthought. It felt like I was getting ping-ponged back and forth between 3 seemingly unrelated books, never able to get really emotionally involved in any one story before getting thrown back into another.
On the positive side, I really liked the author’s writing style and the fact that she was able to give each of the many various characters a unique voice. If the connection between the storylines was stronger (with overlapping characters and scenes) or, even better, if it was broken up into 3 separate books as I feel it should have been, I think I would have connected with the characters better and would have given this book a higher rating. As it stands, I’m only giving it 3/5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s Books for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.