A 2022 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist, What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson's stunning novel about brutality and beauty, and about broken people trying to survive—"Intense, brutal, and searingly honest," perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Laura Ruby, and Meg Rosoff.
To understand the truth, you have to start at the beginning.
Ava Bardem lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years, Ava’s father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He’s taught her to love no one. But then she meets Jack.
Living in poverty, Jack Dahl is holding his breath. He and his younger brother have nothing—except each other. With their parents gone, Jack faces a stark choice: lose his brother to foster care or find the drug money that sent his father to prison. He chooses the money.
Suddenly, Jack’s and Ava’s fates become intimately—and dangerously—linked as Ava’s father hunts for the same money as Jack. When he picks up on Jack’s trail, Ava must make her own wrenching choice: remain silent or speak and fight for Jack’s survival.
Choices. They come at a price.
A 2022 William C. Morris Award finalist
A 2022 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults
"Beautifully written and superbly constructed, Anderson pulls you onto a chilling footpath of love and loss—and keeps you there until you've read every last word." —Ruta Sepetys, #1 New York Times bestselling author and Carnegie Medal winner of Salt to the Sea
"A gorgeous, intense, and shocking look at chaos, survival, fate, and betrayal... A first purchase and a must-read. Prepare to be haunted and chilled to the bone by this exceptional story." —School Library Journal starred review
"Intense, brutal, and searingly honest, Anderson’s debut features intricate plotting and action that hold up against the best thriller novels, yet it is all the more remarkable for its tender, multidimensional characterization and sharp, crystalline prose. Riveting and unforgettable." —Kirkus starred review
"Debut author [Cory] Anderson captures the setting and souls of her characters through her sparse yet lyrical text, creating a suspenseful, throbbing tale of love and survival, choices and consequences. Told in alternating voices, this powerful story will mesmerize." —Booklist starred review
"Readers who like their novels pitch dark and bone chilling will revel in the horrifying villain and the trio of kids locked into a dilemma they cannot possibly resolve." —The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
"Anderson’s starkly atmospheric thriller illuminates ways in which cycles of poverty and incarceration can disenfranchise children." —Publishers Weekly
"[A] 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." - Horn Book