Plot: Jack Morton has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he'd do anything for. Even die for. Now with their mother gone, and their funds quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a 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 has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one. Trust no one. Now Victor Bardem is stalking the same money as Jack. When he picks up Jack's trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or help the brothers survive.
What did I think?
What an absolutely stunning and beautiful book is basically what I thought while reading the third (!) page because Anderson's debut (!) is just that well written.
The sparse and lyrical prose immediately drew me in, and at times it almost felt like reading a very long poem. Anderson's writing is captivating and dark, laced with both beauty and despair.
I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I was completely blown away by most of it. At times, I was speechless. A haunting experience.
The three young characters are filled to the brim with trauma and their anxiety drips from the pages, squeezing my heart with every sentence. They're so young and raw, and yet they have to be brave if they want to survive. And they are. Oh so brave!
Ava, Jack and Matty are beautifully crafted, and I just wanted to step inside this novel and protect (adopt) them. Most of the novel is written from Jack's point of view, and his relationship with his younger brother Matty was possibly my favourite aspect of this book. It's heartbreaking to see how much Jack loves Matty, and Matty looks up to Jack.
The entire novel is a rollercoaster of emotions and the predominant themes are: darkness, pain, and hope.
The pacing is on point, and I couldn't put this book down. The short chapters and the sparse prose invited me to fly through the chapters to the point where I had to force myself to slow down and enjoy the poetry in Anderson's words.
I can't recommend What Beauty There Is enough to all fans of contemporary thrillers. (For those of you who need trigger warnings, please have a look before picking it up.)
A special thank you to Dave at TheWriteReads for organising this blog tour, and to Netgalley for allowing me to read this one early. As always: I appreciate it and my review is honest.