“…I stand under the giant sky, counting stars, feeling scared and raw, but at the same time full, fierce, open.”
-Danielle Younge-Ullman, Everything Beautiful is not Ruined
Hey guys! I recently took part in the Everything Beautiful is not Ruined blog tour, where I interview Danielle Younge-Ullman, the author of this lovely book. You can check that out here. Today, I’m following up with my review of this book!
EBINT is a YA contemporary standalone that focuses on main character Ingrid, and the relationship she has with her mother and the life they share. It begins with Ingrid arriving at a three week wilderness programme that she agreed to take part in as a condition of attending her dream school. However, it quickly emerges that this is not the outdoorsy trip of hiking and smores and cute cabins that she was envisaging. Instead, it is a hard core trek with a couple of counsellors and a group of “at risk youth”. Told through a mixture of past recollections of her life growing up with her mother, opera singer extraordinaire, her struggles on the wilderness programme and letters written to her mother, we begin to piece together the events of Ingrid’s life. And discover that perhaps she does need this more than she thinks she does.
When researching/googling more about this book to help me construct this review, I found it referred to as “Wild meets Gilmore Girls”, which I think is apt. I love the exploration of the relationship between Ingrid and her mother, which is often flawed and problematic, and the evolution of their bond as Ingrid grows up and into herself. I also loved how although there is a depiction of a romantic relationship, it is not the main focus of the book, but a charming sub-plot, allowing Ingrid the space to further develop her character. The depictions of Ingrid’s mother struggling with the loss of her career and subsequent depression are heartbreaking, and this book doesn’t shy away from dealing with a range of complex issues, leaving you with so many feels.
I especially enjoyed the progression of Ingrid’s character, from rebelling about the tough nature of the wilderness programme (seriously, I would NOT have survived that!), to becoming braver and strong enough to confront her past memories that are hurting her. The writing is lovely, but it is Ingrid’s powerful voice that steals the show of this one. The plot unfolds nicely and I flew through the entire book in a couple of sittings. I smiled, I cried, and I adored reading this one. 4/5 stars for me, and I recommend it to fans of YA contemporaries with heart.
Has anyone else read this one? What did you think?