Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

Rating: (4 / 5)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Content: Mental illness, tragedy, self growth

Synopsis: Ingrid used to travel all over the global with her opera star mother. But life now is not at all the way it was. Now, Ingrid is on a wilderness survival retreat for at-risk teenagers. She is surrounded by addicts, runaways, criminals.. She feels totally out of place and must overcome her demons in order to survive and not be broken.


Yes, my synopsis is vague! I cannot give too much of this book away because I want people to go into it with an open mind. I won’t lie, I struggled to get into this book. It was an easy read, but it didn’t seem to have as much depth as I thought it would after reading the synopsis on the back. However, it grew on me about half way through, and the ending – WOW!! Did not at all see it coming. Plus, it’s by a Canadian author!

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the fact that it switches from past to present. You get lots of background this way, without it feeling like it’s dragging on and on. Some things don’t seem super relevant at first but once you look at the book as a whole, you understand why the author included certain story lines and pieces of information.

The other aspect I liked was it’s focus on mental health and different teen issues as well. I think it’s a really important book in this day and age, as we are starting to finally open up more about different illnesses and issues that plague society. Troubled homes for teens, depression, eating disorders, etc. The author does a great job of addressing different problems that face people today and really brings it to light. The one thing I will say, is that I wish we learned a little bit more about certain characters.

That being said, I took off a star because of the lack of character development. Not necessarily with the main character, but the supporting ones. Some of the characters really intrigued me and I wish that there was more written about them. She does focus on one of the people Ingrid grows close to at the retreat, but other than that we don’t get to know the others very well. In a way I feel bad criticizing that, as I think it reflects the fact that Ingrid did not bond with these people quite as much, but I think it would have added a little more to the story and make it a little more interesting if there was more dialogue between some of the other characters.

Lastly, I really enjoy how much we get to see into Ingrid’s head. By the end of the book, I felt as if she was my own friend. We really get to understand her thoughts and feelings, her frustrations, her triumphs, her demons.. I think that’s a really important part of a book for me, is feeling like I really get to know the protagonist on a personal level.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book! Although, I’m not sure how much the older crowd would enjoy it. It’s definitely “teen” literature.

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