Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS blog tour! I’m so excited because today I have a guest post by Cory Anderson to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson
Series: What Beauty There Is #1
Published on April 6, 2021 by Roaring Brook Press
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Thriller
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An exhilarating, emotionally powerful and superbly written thriller that's Winter's Bone meets The RoadWinter. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
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.
Choices. They come at a price.
TOP 3 FAVORITE SCENES IN WHAT BEAUTY THERE IS
There is something riveting about young adult characters navigating the perilous hazards of a thriller. And when you begin to love those characters—and really care about what happens to them? Its gut-wrenching for me.
Here is my question: If you had one chance to save everything that mattered to you, what would you do? I am never surprised at the shrewdness and strength of teens making heart-wrenching choices, which is not only why I highlight it in my work, but also why the three scenes I’m about to share with you are my favorite . . .
- When Jack buries his mom in the backyard.
The heroes who affect me most are not extraordinary. They don’t ride dragons, oppose supernatural enemies, or lead armies. They have no magic. They are regular teens faced with a need and no easy answers. Jack is this for me.
At 17, Jack acts as the glue in his family. This is in the backlands of Idaho. His mother sits home all day, listless from taking opioids. His father is gone, jailed for his part in a drug deal. Jack tries to take care of his little brother Matty and feed him, scraping by one day at a time. His world looks pretty bleak.
Jack comes home to find that his mother has died. Without a parent in the home, Child Protective Services will come calling. Jack will lose Matty to foster care. Just like that. It’s a question of when, not if. You will do what needs doing, Jack thinks firmly. Like you always have.
And that’s what he does.
This is the choice that starts everything—the first domino tipped in a chain reaction.
- When Ava burns down the house.
There is often a moment in a thriller that raises your pulse and leaves your heart thumping in loud heavy beats. It’s a brief moment when you really want to stop reading but you can’t because you care so much for the protagonist.
That heart-thump happens when Ava sets fire to the house.
Ava embodies this fierce, dogged grit that is the source of her character. She makes steady choices, is not loud but has courage, acts gently toward the people around her—though she has no good reason to think they will act the same. How did she become this way? She didn’t learn this from her father, Bardem, who is ruthless and amoral.
Everyone’s fate is in Ava’s hands. She knows her father is stalking the brothers. If she doesn’t help them, they won’t survive. But what’s obvious is her choice means even more than that. Whatever the cost, Ava must break free of Bardem for herself—despite believing she might not escape.
When Ava sets fire to the house, we witness her realizing her goal. But what is the price? What will happen?
Without spoiling the scene for you, it’s the shot after our heroine drives away from the burning house when we helplessly watch Bardem following her. That’s the moment when you glimpse the true horror of the situation, and the dread feels so real, you can’t look away.
- When [redacted] challenges [redacted] in the chilling dark of the Idaho forest.
This scene is a spoiler, so I can’t say much about it. But I will say this. When writing What Beauty There Is, it always felt as if the entire book was a train lurching down the track, on a collision course for this scene. I think the chance to write this scene—to be able to deeply feel and understand it—is why I wrote the whole book.
In the scene someone says, “At last, the truth.”
For me, that’s what it is.
Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.
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What do you think about What Beauty There Is? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!