Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review: The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

Book info:
TitleThe Beauty that Remains
Author:  Ashley Woodfolk
Genre:  YA Contemporary
Release Date:  March 6th, 2018
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Source:  E-galley from publisher
My rating:  3.5 stars

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.

Each of them wonders: How different would my life be if this hadn’t happened? And now that it has . . . what’s next?

My Review:
Overall, this was a wonderfully written book.  The characters were very deep, the tragedies very emotion-wrenching, and the connections between the three intertwining stories were creative and perfect.  

First you had Autumn, who had lost her best friend Octavia.  She felt guilt over Tavia's death because she had not been with her that night, she had been with Tavia's brother Dante instead of at the party where Tavia had left to go try to make up with her ex-boyfriend Perry.  Every chapter begins with Autumn writing a message to Tavia on one of her social media sites, followed by an actual email to her.  

Then there was Logan.  Logan's ex-boyfriend committed suicide.  Logan's guilt comes from the fact that when he broke up with Bram, he said horrible things to him about hoping he died alone.  You feel for Logan.  I mean he didn't even know he was gay for sure until Bram kissed him.  And then when Bram basically broke up with Logan for a girl, it was a huge blow for Logan.  Every one of Logan's chapters begins with a post from Bram about how he was so bored he was going to do something, and so it is Logan watching Bram's videos.

Finally there was Shay, who lost her twin sister Sasha to cancer.  The beginning of each of Shay's chapters is a band review by Sasha on their BaMF site.  Shay is having panic attacks, really bad ones whenever something makes her think about Sasha.  A song, a memory, just about anything.  She doesn't feel guilty necessarily, but it is hard for her to think about how her mom and Sasha's boyfriend now see Sasha whenever they look at her, and that must be hard for her.  Plus learning that she is what is now called "twinless".  

All three have a connection to the band Unraveling Lovely, a band that is currently split up.  It is this connection that they may be able to use to save each other, save themselves really, help to pull themselves back to life after the death of someone that they each loved more than they can ever say.

I loved all the connections.  I liked how little bits that related to each of the losses led to the connections having their issues and separations.  The saddest part for me had to do with Bram, and what all we found out had happened between the time he had broken up with Logan, and what it really was that led to his death. 

My only complaint is that I struggled a bit to get through it.  I had problems remembering who was who at first.  Keeping characters and side characters straight between each chapter.  That's probably what it was that kept me from being able to get sucked in and not put it down.  It was easy to stop reading when I had to put it aside.  But it was not easy to pick back up.  While it had some great messages, it just wasn't my top read so far.  I probably will not spend the money to purchase for my school library, but if someone was asking for a good book about suicide or grief for teens, it would be one I could suggest as a new choice.