What Beauty There Is

Cory Anderson. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-2502-6809-9
In the mountains of Idaho, quiet Jack Dahl, 17, and his little brother, Matty, live alone. With their mother dead and their situation precarious, Jack makes a tough decision: to avoid losing Matty to Child Services, he sets out to find the stolen drug money that landed his father in prison. The cash is well hidden, though, and he’s not the only one looking for it: when a vicious, unnamed drug dealer and Jack’s father’s merciless former associate, Bardem, catch wind of Jack’s hunt, they set their sights on him. Bardem’s daughter, Ava, finds herself drawn to the brothers—but to save them, she must break away from her controlling and abusive father. Alternating between the third person and Ava’s first-person reflections in a fully realized rural setting, Anderson’s starkly atmospheric thriller illuminates ways in which cycles of poverty and incarceration can disenfranchise children. Supporting characters, however, especially the two primary villains, suffer from indiscrete renderings, and a character “disfigured” after an attempted scalping is unfortunately named “Red.” Ages 14–up. Agent: Lindsay Davis Auld, Writers House. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/10/2021
Release date: 04/06/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-250-82118-8
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