Today we're excited to be part of the International blog tour for Ashley Woodfolk's book The Beauty That Remains hosted by PRH International!
Read on for more about Ashley Woodfolk, her book, a review and a book-inspired Unicorn Cake!
Meet Ashley Woodfolk!
Ashley Woodfolk graduated from Rutgers University with a BA in English and her life-long love of books led her straight to the publishing industry. She's a member of the CBC Diversity Committee and markets books for children and teens. In her abundance of "spare" time, she writes contemporary YA. Indie movies, beer, books, and burgers are a few of her favorite things. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and pit bull puppy, Winnie. THE BEAUTY THAT REMAINS is her debut novel.
Meet The Beauty That Remains!
Music brought Autumn, Shay, and Logan together. Death wants to tear them apart.
Autumn always knew exactly who she was—a talented artist and a loyal friend. Shay was defined by two things: her bond with her twin sister, Sasha, and her love of music. And Logan always turned to writing love songs when his love life was a little less than perfect.
But when tragedy strikes each of them, somehow music is no longer enough. Now Logan can’t stop watching vlogs of his dead ex-boyfriend. Shay is a music blogger struggling to keep it together. And Autumn sends messages that she knows can never be answered.
Despite the odds, one band's music will reunite them and prove that after grief, beauty thrives in the people left behind.
*Review Contributed By Melissa Robles, Instagram Manager*
The Beauty That Remains is a heartbreaking portrayal of loss, grief, and coping. It relates the stories of Autumn, Logan, and Shay, as they are left trying to pick up the shattered pieces of their hearts with the loss of their best friend, ex-boyfriend, and twin sister.
This book is told in alternating point of views and each character has their own way of coping with the loss of their loved one. Autumn deals with anger and guilt, for not being there with her best friend when the car accident happened. Logan carries grief and guilt for wishing his ex-boyfriend to "die alone" six months before he is found dead in their school gym. And Shay feels lonely and empty after being left "twinless" as her twin sister loses her battle against Leukemia.
The Beauty That Remains is not a light read. It starts heavy as you can feel the sense of loss and anguish of the characters, as well as their downward spiral to depression and emptiness. Each point of view is incredibly heartbreaking, yet I liked reading about how they slowly started to deal with the harsh reality because as much as this book is about losing someone we love, it is also about finding strength in those we have around us. It teaches that it is okay to rely on friends and family, and perhaps also in those we never thought we could find comfort in.
One of my favorite aspects of The Beauty That Remains is that, in a way, it's a simple storyline. There isn't a big, complicated conflict to solve other than an emotional journey with Autumn, Logan, and Shay. I appreciated being able to focus with each character's grief as they dealt with panic attacks, anger, confusion, depression, plus other coping mechanisms.
The cast of characters in this book is beautifully diverse and I loved how their race or sexual orientation is not an issue. For a second I thought it would be one of the plot conflicts, but it thankfully didn't go that way. I was particularly thrilled to find two of the characters to be Hispanics, like me!
Music is also a big part of this book and while I was reading I often found myself wishing I could listen to Unraveling Lovely, one of the bands mentioned. It is this band that links all three characters together, and it somehow made me think that if I could listen to their songs, my heart would also heal with theirs. It is of course impossible, but it didn't stop me to listen to some music as soon as I was done to lift my soul!
However, one thing that I wish this book had done differently was weaving its storyline a bit better towards the end. It felt rushed and I would have loved for the main characters to interact more with each other. Their quick apologies and condolences were not enough as they reunited for the first time in the whole book. Other than that this book was great!
With a wonderful diverse cast and a gut-wrenching look at loss and moving on, The Beauty That Remains leaves a gaping whole that only time will be able to heal. Highly recommended!
Trigger warning: Death, Panic Attacks, Suicide, Drug Use
*Thanks to Penguin Random House International for the review copy in exchange of my honest opinion!*
The Beauty That Remains
By: Ashley Woodfolk
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
The Beauty That Remains Unicorn Cake!
One of the benefits of having a professional chef as a sister is that you get to ask her to create amazing desserts inspired by your favorite books. Ideally, I would have loved to recreate a dessert mentioned inside The Beauty That Remains, and while Banana-Walnut pancakes sound and surely taste delicious, it is just one dessert mentioned from one point of view (Autumn) and I wanted to encompass the whole book. Also, they are a bit tougher to photograph!
For the sake of bookstagram and doing something more awesome, I asked my sister to do my favorite thing: a Unicorn Cake!
The frosting (hair) matches the colors of the cover perfectly and we (meaning my sister, I only photographed :) added some musical notes in the hair since The Beauty That Remains has musical themes! This Unicorn Cake took around 4 hours to make (baking included) but it was so worth it in the end! Don’t you think it looks perfect? The Beauty That Remains deserves all the unicorn cakes in the world just like this one. ♥♥♥