Rating: 4/5 This story is about a talented teenager named Ingrid that has the ambition of becoming a vocalist. Her mother is an ex-opera singer and decides to send her daughter on a wilderness trip. This wilderness trip is a test to see if Ingrid has the strength to pursue her dreams in a very emotionally and physically challenging field. This story highlights the deep bond between mother and daughter and the effects of depression on that relationship. The characters in the story were well developed and multi-dimensional. However, the storyline seemed to gloss over major issues that came up between the campers on the trip. Also, the plot seemed to check boxes of relevant topics instead of blending seamlessly. All in all, the plot was exciting and the ending left me on the edge of my seat!
@sunsetzuzu of the Hamilton Public Library Teen Review Board
Every character in this book was so complexly written and I loved every one. The contrast between the glamorous past travelling through Europe and the present day wilderness survival gave the story a unique spin. The protagonist is relatable to everyone in the way that she has to fight to follow her dreams. Me and I assume many people grew up in a household where our parents or other family members, wanting the best for us, discouraged or even forbade us from following certain dreams. Everyone can relate to this book and I enjoyed it very much.
- @bookanarchy of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
This book showcases the struggle of coming from a life you loved into a new life that is confusing and full of sadness and regret. The characters are complex, and Ingrid reveals how even though the beauty in life may seem lost it can always be revived again. As she tries to settle into her new life after her mother’s music career ends, she is left wondering why, as well as why not begin again. The book reveals the true complexities of a mother-daughter relationship as well as the tragedies that false expectations hold. Although dramatized at times, the book is well written and very artistic. I would rate this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to those still searching for answers and looking to relate to a new rendition of a classic tale.
- @The_Reviewer of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Danielle Younge-Ullman wrote a beautiful blunt-spoken novel. The story is told in the perspective of Ingrid Burke as she flips between her current adventure on a 3-week wilderness retreat and her past life traveling across Europe with her Opera-singing mother. The story unfolds in such a clean manner that you begin to learn a little more about Ingrid after reading each page. It was a fantastically creative book that shined a light on hard experiences. The experiences that make you push yourself to the limit and trek through countless hiking trails. Since the book was written in the perspective of a gruntled teenager the phrasing was harsh and unpolished but it was still written perfectly. The author did an outstanding job of mirroring the voice of a 16-year-old and was able to keep the plot clear and never straying. This book deserves many more readers so I award it a 4.5 out of 5 rating.
- @Fanny_Shoir of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
Just... wow. I don't even know what I just read but it was definitely a beautiful work of art. The story is based off a young girl coming to light about herself, at a wilderness camp that is nothing what she expected, while recounting her past. Along the way, her hardships strip away the barriers she holds up, and readers will find themselves cheering her on as the journey treks by daily. I had suspicions about her mother, but I still didn't anticipate how that could have affected me as a reader when I finished the last few chapters. So many deep issues are covered in this book that left me wondering, what happened to everyone else after?
- @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
A spectacular adventure that a teenage girl, Ingrid, goes through in her life. This book is about a girl named Ingrid who made a deal with her mother to go to a camp during the summer in order for her to go to a special music school in London. Ingrid learns her mother may have signed her up for a different program than the one she was told she was going to because her mother wants her to learn how to survive without her in London and to be independent. Different points in the novel deal with different issues many teenagers are facing and by reading about a person who is facing them, we, as readers, have a better understanding for how Ingrid is feeling. This book is very fascinating with how Ingrid deals with these problems and so, you will find yourself standing next to Ingrid, supporting her every step of the way in order for her to succeed. With a shocking ending and many heartbreaking truths being revealed, you will find yourself not wanting the novel to end and begging for more. An extraordinary novel and one of the best novels I have ever read. 5/5
- @booklover327 of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library
When I received Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined in the mail, the synopsis had me instantly intrigued. This is a story about family, self-discovery, and how people can transform after a difficult event. Readers will spend a lot of this time wondering who Ingrid is writing to, what has actually happened to her mother, and why she is on this crazy wilderness retreat.
I absolutely loved this book. I found Younge-Ullman's writing so beautiful and very gripping. Ingrid's voice is crass, it's raw, and I found myself always wanting to know more about her and her situation. I absolutely loved her relationship with her "father" and I loved that he wanted to accept Ingrid and her mother, flaws and all. There's not a lot of people out there who are willing to go that extra mile when joining a family. Having these flashback sequences were so beneficial in telling this story, because when you go back to the bits with Ingrid in the wilderness, you begin to see all the cracks in her facade.
I also loved Ingrid's adventures in the Canadian wilderness. As a young woman who spent the majority of her life traveling around the world with her opera singer mother, it's intriguing to see Ingrid's responses to nature, particularly right at the beginning of the book when all her supplies are taken from her and disposed. I feel like I would have had the same traumatic reaction. Furthermore, I love her transformation during the excursion, because she goes from being pampered and disgruntled to someone with intense drive and purpose. I also loved Ingrid's letters as well and I found them to be a wonderful touch in the story.
Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined is a story that grows on you. Ingrid is an amazing protagonist and she's accompanied by such an amazing cast of support characters. I found myself compulsively reading, needing to know what happened between Ingrid and her mother, and the payoff was worth it. Emotional and raw, this book will continue to resonate with you long after it's been completed.
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