Title: Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined
Author: Danielle Younge-Ullman
Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult
Like Wild for teens! In the tradition of Sara Zarr and A. S. King, a girl must survive an extreme wilderness experience to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.
When she was a little girl, Ingrid’s entire world was her mother: Margot-Sophia, the brilliant and sophisticated opera star. So when Margot-Sophia loses her singing voice, Ingrid loses everything. The two of them move to a small, normal house in a small, normal town, where Ingrid tries to convince her mother that there must still be something worth living for.
It’s in this small, normal life that Ingrid discovers her own passion for the theater arts. But Margot-Sophia refuses to support her daughter’s dreams. They strike a deal: if Ingrid makes it through a summer of an extreme wilderness experience, then she can have her chance to pursue life as a performer.
Over the course of this summer, Ingrid is stripped of every dignity and freedom. But she also finally comes to terms with her inner demons—and finally confronts the secret tragedy that defines her.
Source: Thanks so much to Penguin Random House Canada/Razorbill Canada for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!
How I Found Out About It: Netgalley
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined is truly a beautiful book- I have to say that I adored it. From the characters to the plot to the writing, this book had an amazing structure, and I know it is one I will remember for years to come.
What got me to request this book was first cover love, and upon clicking on it, the synopsis got me hooked- I love drama, and I as well love reading about avid actresses, and when one is forced to go into the wilderness for three weeks… talk about pure awesomeness!
For a quick summary, this book revolves around Ingrid, who has lived with her mom, a famous opera singer, for her whole life. Unfortunately, her mom ends up losing her voice, so Ingrid is thus left with close to nothing, while her mom becomes very depressed. The two decide to move, and Ingrid finds passion for acting- a passion that her mom isn’t fond of, as she doesn’t want her to go through what she did with her singing career. The only way her mom will approve of her dreams is if she agrees to go to (and survive) a wilderness camp- does she have what it takes?
I really loved Ingrid’s character, and I felt like she was really well-rounded. Ingrid was very strong and open-minded, even despite the fact that her mom wasn’t doing so well, both emotionally and physically. Reading the book, her dream of pursuing theatre arts was super evident, and I feel like Ingrid pushed through very well to do anything she could to follow her vivid dreams, as well as to please her mom.
I felt really sorry for Ingrid’s mom; she had had such a great life before she lost her singing voice, and during the flashbacks in the book, she was usually just sitting in bed depressed, lacking strength. Though I don’t necessarily support it myself, I 100% understood where she was coming from when she didn’t approve of Ingrid’s love for drama, because her career had gotten her into such a poor position.
By the end of the book, Ingrid developed a ton through gaining strength at the wildness retreat, and if she hadn’t gone, she probably wouldn’t have had it in her to deal with what came afterwards. I loved the solid friendships she was able to make there, too!😄
Overall, Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined is a book that proves that you can be whatever you want to be in life, and that you don’t have to let others stop you- you have to put yourself first. If you are a fan of coming-of-age novels with lots of character development as well as adventure, then you ABSOLUTELY NEED to add this story to your collection, starting on February 21st!
*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*