What Beauty There Is
What Beauty There Is

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Annotation: A stunning debut novel about brutality and beauty, and about broken people trying to survive--perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Laura Ruby, and Meg Rosoff.
Catalog Number: #306441
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 368
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: Publisher: 1-250-26809-5 Perma-Bound: 0-8000-0666-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-250-26809-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8000-0666-2
Dewey: Fic
Language: English
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 9 Up A desperate boy risks everything to keep his brother out of foster care in this heart-pounding and heartbreaking story of survival and sacrifice. Seventeen-year-old Jack and his second-grade brother, Matty, only have each other. With their father incarcerated and their mother recently deceased, their only hope of sticking together is finding the money their father went to prison for stealing. Deeply impoverished and terrified of child protective services getting involved, Jack sets out to track down that cash, pursued at every turn by drug dealers and Bardem, his father's partner in crime. His only hope comes in the form of Ava, who decides to help them and gets wrapped up in their mission. But Ava's secretthat she's Bardem's daughterguarantees there is no way things can end happily. Unremittingly bleak and gritty, this suspenseful story centers around the ravages of poverty and drug addiction that have left Jack and Matty with nothing. Breathtakingly beautiful writing and tender characters collide with a brutal plot filled with bloodshed and anguish. The body count piles up as Jack, Matty, and Ava try to hide in the quiet, frigid emptiness of rural Idaho, never more than half a step ahead of their hunters. The lengths Jack goes to keep his family together and the obstacles he faces will leave readers gutted. A gorgeous, intense, and shocking look at chaos, survival, fate, and betrayal. Characters' ethnicities aren't named and Jack and Matty are described as pale. VERDICT A first purchase and a must-read. Prepare to be haunted and chilled to the bone by this exceptional story. Amanda MacGregor, Parkview Elem. Sch., Rosemount, MN
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
“If you had one chance to save everything that mattered to you, would you grab hold of it?”When Jack, 17, comes home from school to find his mother hanging from a ceiling fan, his first concern, once he realizes he cannot save her, is to protect his brother, second grader Matty. Jack’s been holding the family’s increasingly untenable situation together for 7 years, since his meth-dealing daddy went to prison and his mama spiraled into addiction. Now Mama’s dead, Child Protective Services is calling, and their house is about to be auctioned. The only way out Jack can see is to find the briefcase of drug money his father supposedly hid before his arrest. Meanwhile, a second narrative voice, opening each chapter, is revealed to be that of Ava, daughter of Jack’s father’s partner in crime. Ava knows her father is a murderer and a psychopath whom she’ll never escape; Jack remembers, but can no longer connect with, a father who loved him. Ava understands their connection though Jack does not—she aligns herself with Jack and his search in an effort to break free of her fate despite believing his efforts are doomed. Intense, brutal, and searingly honest, Anderson’s debut features intricate plotting and action that hold up against the best thriller novels, yet it is all the more remarkable for its tender, multidimensional characterization and sharp, crystalline prose. Main characters read as White.Riveting and unforgettable. (Fiction. 14-adult)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Deep in an endless Idaho winter, darkness pervades both outside and within. Jack Dahl's personal darkness is multilayered: his father is in prison for stealing drug money; Jack just buried his mother in the backyard; and if he doesn't come up with some money quickly, he and his little brother, Mattie, will be separated by the foster care system. Desperate, he makes a trip to the prison hoping that his father will reveal the location of his stash. This begins a chain of events, raw and brutal, as Jack tries desperately to outrun other "interested parties" looking for the dirty money. Enter Ava Bardem, his schoolmate, who has lived too many years under her father's controlling perfectionism and unwelcome advances. She knows that he is hunting the same cache of money that Jack is after and will stop at nothing to get it. She chooses to help the brothers, running afoul of her father's orders. There will be a reckoning, but who will come out on top? Debut author Anderson captures the setting and souls of her characters through her sparse yet lyrical text, creating a suspenseful, throbbing tale of love and survival, choices and consequences. Told in alternating voices, this powerful story will mesmerize. Recommend to your Laura Ruby and Meg Rosoff fans and even Courtney Summers' readers.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (4/1/21)
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews (9/1/20)
School Library Journal Starred Review (2/1/21)
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 9-12

What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson's stunning YA novel about brutality and beauty, and about broken people trying to survive--perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Laura Ruby, and Meg Rosoff. To understand the truth, you have to start at the beginning. Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones. Living in harsh poverty, Jack Dahl is holding his breath. He and his younger brother have nothing--except each other. And now Jack faces a stark 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, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up on Jack's trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or speak, and help the brothers survive. Choices. They come at a price.

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