Welcome to the first Debut Tuesday spotlight! When I read this novel, I knew that I would have to write it about it somewhere. It’s about grief, music, and love. Scroll below for a spoiler-free review!
THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Summary (courtesy of Goodreads):
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.
“I loved him. Maybe I still love him, but I didn’t really know who he was anymore. Maybe I always imagined him a little too simply. I made him into who I wanted him to be and ignored the person who was right in front of me.” (pg. 270)
Have you ever read a line or a paragraph that absolutely derailed you? Like it was so relatable it was a sucker-punch to the gut, the sign that you either needed to devour the rest of the book in one sitting or let it slow burn? Well, I have. Many times, but sometimes, it’s more intense than others.
The above paragraph was the moment I realized how much I loved this novel. I had to stop, close the book, and then take a few deep breaths. It was a heartbreakingly relatable moment. I love when books make me feel something so deeply intense. (This happened to me during Crooked Kingdom, and I’m sure some of you know the exact moment I’m talking about.) So, anyway, I immediately knew that this book would be one I’d keep thinking about long after I finished.
The Beauty That Remains is a beautiful debut about identity, family, relationships, sibling love, music, and grief. The music aspect was probably one of my favorite parts; each of the characters is a part of/listens to a band called Unraveling Lovely, talk of how music has/continues to save(d) them. All of the gig scenes were amazing. Really, though, this book is about the many different ways people deal with the death of a loved one.
There are three POVs–Autumn, Shay, and Logan–and each of the have recently lost someone. It’s interesting to see their differences, the complex emotions, the purposely-placed detachment from those emotions they each struggle with. But the beauty (ha ha ha) is in their similarities, the way their stories intertwine, and the message that grief never really goes away, you just learn to live with it.
It’s in these POVs I found the four-sunflower (star) rating. I loved this book, but there were a few times when I wondered if three narrators were too many. I loved how naturally diverse this book was, but I did find that I loved Shay a little more than the others, that I kept wanting the next chapter to be hers. I wanted more of her story, more of her POV, but by the end, I had accepted that she couldn’t have carried this novel on her own.
According to Goodreads, we can expect to see another novel by Ashley Woodfolk in 2019 called When You Were Everything. I’m already all heart-eyes at that title! She’s definitely now an auto-buy author for me, and I cannot wait for this next one.