Book Review: The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Title: The Beauty That Remains
Author: Ashley Woodfolk
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published:  March 6th, 2018
Page Count:  352 pages
Format:  ARC - Paperback
Source: From PRH International in exchange of an honest review 


Summary:
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.
*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
.This review can also be found on YA Books Central.

The Beauty That Remains is a heartbreaking portrayal of loss, grief, and coping. It relates the stories of Autumn, Logan, and Shay, as they are left trying to pick up the shattered pieces of their hearts with the loss of their best friend, ex-boyfriend, and twin sister. 

This book is told in alternating point of views and each character has their own way of coping with the loss of their loved one. Autumn deals with anger and guilt, for not being there with her best friend when the car accident happened. Logan carries grief and guilt for wishing his ex-boyfriend to "die alone" six months before he is found dead in their school gym. And Shay feels lonely and empty after being left "twinless" as her twin sister loses her battle against Leukemia. 

The Beauty That Remains is not a light read. It starts heavy as you can feel the sense of loss and anguish of the characters, as well as their downward spiral to depression and emptiness. Each point of view is incredibly heartbreaking, yet I liked reading about how they slowly started to deal with the harsh reality because as much as this book is about losing someone we love, it is also about finding strength in those we have around us. It teaches that it is okay to rely on friends and family, and perhaps also in those we never thought we could find comfort in.

One of my favorite aspects of The Beauty That Remains is that, in a way, it's a simple storyline. There isn't a big, complicated conflict to solve other than an emotional journey with Autumn, Logan, and Shay. I appreciated being able to focus with each character's grief as they dealt with panic attacks, anger, confusion, depression, plus other coping mechanisms.

The cast of characters in this book is beautifully diverse and I loved how their race or sexual orientation is not an issue. For a second I thought it would be one of the plot conflicts, but it thankfully didn't go that way. I was particularly thrilled to find two of the characters to be Hispanics, like me!

Music is also a big part of this book and while I was reading I often found myself wishing I could listen to Unraveling Lovely, one of the bands mentioned. It is this band that links all three characters together, and it somehow made me think that if I could listen to their songs, my heart would also heal with theirs. It is of course impossible, but it didn't stop me to listen to some music as soon as I was done to lift my soul!

However, one thing that I wish this book had done differently was weaving its storyline a bit better towards the end. It felt rushed and I would have loved for the main characters to interact more with each other. Their quick apologies and condolences were not enough as they reunited for the first time in the whole book. Other than that this book was great!

Final Verdict:

With a wonderful diverse cast and a gut-wrenching look at loss and moving on, The Beauty That Remains leaves a gaping whole that only time will be able to heal. Highly recommended!

Trigger warning: Death, Panic Attacks, Suicide, Drug Use


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