The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk is a gripping, beautiful story of life and love after loss. This book is both heart-breakingly sad and hopeful at the same time, with so many wonderful characters you immediately fall in love with. If you like strong and emotional reads, give this book a chance. You won’t regret it!
This beautifully written story follows three teens who are dealing with the loss of a loved one either through accident, illness or suicide. I love all the amazingly diverse and well developed characters - Autumn, Sasha and Logan - and how we get to know each of them individually and their lives and relationships. The story goes on from Autumn’s grief over her best friend Tavia’s sudden death, to Sasha who’s lost her twin sister in leukemia, and finally to Logan, whose guilt over the horrible things he said when breaking up with his boyfriend is eating him alive after Bram’s unexpectedly committed suicide.
But there is so much more than dealing with grief in this story. Autumn is also struggling with her confusion on her emotions towards Tavia’s brother and with dealing with her other school friends, when the glue that connected her to them is gone. Sasha on the other hand is struggling with herself, now being ‘twinless’ and having panic attacks. And Logan is acting out, no longer able to write music like he used to and drinking too much to silence the voice telling him it was his fault that Bram died.
My heart went out for each of them, in a way it was so heart-breakingly hard to read this book, with all the characters going through so much and learning as they go how to find themselves again, but making so many mistakes and having such hard times. But then things started to overlap and from the middle of the book forward, these seemingly individual struggles met and found their ways to healing through music, in such a hopeful and beautiful, metaphorically way via the band that sort of had died with the lost ones and now rose again to spread love and joy.
I also have to say something about the side characters, as there were so many wonderful persons in this book. I loved Dante and the fragile love story between him and Autumn that was so lined with grief and guilt.
All in all, I absolutely adored this book! I don’t remember the last time, if ever, I’ve read a story so full of sorrow and sadness, but also full of hope and joy of life. It’s the type of story that breaks your heart and mends it at the same time. It’s a story that has everything; loss, pain, grief, confusion, anger and regret, but also beauty, love, friendship and happiness. And so much diversity and LGBTQ awareness! The characters were amazing, the plot was so on point and fulfilling to read. Despite all sadness, I felt hopeful and comforted at the end.
If you like strong and emotional reads, you should definitely give this book a chance. You won’t regret it!
Find out more about the book and the author here: Ashley Woodfolk