Anderson, Cory

What Beauty There Is

(2) YA Seventeen-year-old Jack comes home one day to find that his drug-addicted mother has hanged herself from the ceiling fan in her bedroom. He initially hides the suicide from his younger brother Matty, along with the fact that they are days away from being evicted. If only Jack could find the drug money his father stole and went to prison for--and that Bardem, the ruthless leader of an organized crime gang, will stop at nothing to retrieve. The deck seems stacked against the brothers but for a chance meeting with a girl named Ava, who reappears several times when they desperately need help. Ava harbors a secret of her own: she is Bardem's daughter, and while her loyalty clearly lies with the boys, her interspersed narration brings constant reminders of how dangerous her father is. The cat-and-mouse game between the young people (Jack, Matty, and Ava) and the adults (Bardem's gang and a sheriff) heightens the tension in this taut psychological thriller. Anderson's spare, lyrical writing yields great insight into her characters, and the unforgiving Idaho winter landscape is almost a character in its own right.


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