'Then we just set there, silent and lonely for you together, because hellos are nice and neat and so much easier than goodbyes'.
The debut novel by Ashley Woodfolk, The Beauty that Remains published by Delacorte Press is a poetic story written and told for the teenagers facing nowadays death more openly and frequently that it used to happen not as far as ten years ago. Shared through social media, death, including in its violent form, is more obtrusive and visually common nowadays, but the pain and mystery surrounding death remains. Regardless the age, we still cope with understanding death, and when young people at the beginning of their lives are taken away, often violently, the words are silent. We are trying to replace their absence through memories, Instagram pictures or emotions. And there is also music, as a way in which the protagonists of the stories of love and life after loss in the book are trying to fill up the void of the friends who are no more. More than words that are lying - 'Lying is the new language we speak. It's the only way we can talk at all' - , music is a way to continue telling the story, in the best, strongly emotional way. Each and every particular story shared is full of emotions and impressive in its simplicity, while connecting the dots of the hardships of advancing through adulthood.
The perspective shared are belonging completely of teenagers as the aimed audience is made of them. Maybe as adults we may find a lot of the stories and the pace unattractive, but once we keep in mind the aimed audience, we will realize that in fact it makes a lot of sense to just put on the side the over-critical perspective given probably also by the life experince and focus on the emotional challenges of the young adults coping with the loss of someone they love, the same age as them, not necessarily family. The feeling of breaking up while challanged by the lack of answers because life is still too young to offer the necessary emotional and intellectual support to create our own support stories. If we keep in mind that reference, we will clearly appreciate the fine and elegant writing of Ashley Woodfolk, which makes the book a great addition to a reading list for teenagers, because it calibrates the voice and the messages to young people looking for way too many answers to painful questions.
Woodfolk succeeded to be well connected to the realities, without neglecting the quality of the writing and with the promise of creating even more such beautiful books. The Beauty that Remains (ISBN 9780525578284) is that kind of book that will for sure keep your young adult a little bit away from social media or that will at least prompt them to create a meaningul Instagram post.
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher in exchange for an honest review #sponsored #prhinternational #ad