REVIEW: Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Book: Something Beautiful
Author: Amanda Genrnentz Hanson
Publisher: Pen Name Publishing
Published: June 27th, 2017
ISBN: 9781941541852

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Synopsis:

Cordelia and Declan have been best friends since they were three years old. By the time they hit middle school, Cordelia—Cord, to Declan—is already feeling the blackness in her life as depression takes hold. Their mutual attraction to each other leads to a serious high school relationship, one with their foundation of friendship at the forefront. Cordelia seems to have her mental health under control. All appears to be well.
However, when Declan starts to accept his own fluid sexuality, it sets something in motion in their lives that is both beautiful and tragic as they learn to love each other for who they are.

Source: Goodreads

My opinion:

*note: I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not change anything about my opinion on the book*

TW: suicide, depression
I will try and write this as spoiler free as possible, though this will be very hard.
I have so many thoughts about Something Beautiful, I don’t even know where to start really. First of all I should say that I enjoyed it enough to read it in one sitting and cry at the end. The concepts and ideas behind the book seem to be great, however I had some issues with how it turned out. This is because the book discussed darker topics such as depression and suicide, sometimes with raw, very emotional words, sometimes going very deep but on other parts just scratching the surface where there would have been more potential. But let’s go from the beginning.
The book is divided into three parts, two of them told by Cordelia, one by Declan. The first two are Cordelia’s and while she is the suicidal protagonist, her parts are lighter, less heavy than Declan’s. Cordelia grows up with a sister, Regan, and two professors for parents. She seems to be a smart, adventuring child. As she grows up and goes away for a year, she becomes more and more depressed. Down phases get longer, she seems to be happy on rare occasions only. Only with Declan by her side does it feel better. But something very unexpected happens with throws her completely off track. After surviving attempted suicide, she gets help and starts fighting the depression actively. From that point her character develops a lot, she becomes stronger by the page.
To be honest, I didn’t like the part that covers the protagonists’ childhood that much. How the children were written was too much adult-ish for me, if that makes sense. It was more like reading about how a grown-up imagines children to act, but they don’t really. But the part after Cordelia’s breakdown is so much better. It was really great to see Cordelia grow into such a wonderful person.

Declan on the other hand has problems on his own. The reader never knows what exactly is his sexuality because he himself doesn’t really know. He only knows that he loves Cordelia more than anybody else, no matter what sexuality he thinks he has. This gets to the point where it is confusing. I really liked reading about a character with an undefined sexuality, but his focus on Cordelia was too much at some points, even coming close to an (unhealthy?) obsession with her. The part of the book told from his point of view was too short for my liking. I would have liked to get childhood descriptions from him as well, and more depth and explanations.

Unfortunately, other characters don’t really play a big role. Regan has like two sentences of speech, we never really meet Declan’s siblings at all, other friends are basically non-existent. Other or better developed side characters would have been so, so good for the story. That’s probably what I’ve missed the most.

In general, I would have wanted more information on the families, the surroundings, other people. The complete focus on Declan and Cordelia was somewhat exhausting sometimes and I just wanted other characters, and other character’s drama. The love story was not a lovestory you’d encounter in every book and that made it refreshing. But I couldn’t really get behind the whole frame of the story and the end was… unnecessary and not really fitting?

Basically, the story gives material for more than one book. There are so many threads and characters to explore and I’m actually really sad that the book was so short and so many vital things were missing. Nevertheless I enjoyed Something Beautiful.

Rating:

★★★/5

3 thoughts on “REVIEW: Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson

  1. Hi there 🙂

    I’ve read this one too but I never got to write a review because at the end I really didn’t know how to put my thoughts and feelings into words. I really didn’t expect this book to touch me as much as it did. When I requested it on NetGalley I thought it would be some kind of romance with a gay twist on Declans side. But then… well… wow… I don’t even know how to say what it did with me.

    It was so intense and much deeper than I expected it to be. And much more dramatic. I can totally understand your criticism, although I think the focus on Cordelia and Declan is the thing that makes is book really unique.

    I have to say that I normally don’t like romance books that much (especially if love if the main topic) but this one really took me really by surprise. And and the end I cried a lot 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SHIT I FORGOT YOUR BIRTHDAY NOOOOOOOO HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you had a wonderful day!! ❤

      Same. I really thought this was going to be something really cute and fluffy and about a person finding to himself and accepting himself but noOooOOOO this was not what I expected.
      Yeah, you're right. The focus makes it special. But I just wanted at least some more other developed characters. I mean, Regan runs into the hospital once and that's basically it. And just… yeah, I guess you know what I mean 😀

      And yep, I cried as well. Again, not what I expected.

      Like

      1. Awww, thank you so much! 😀 (and I really didn’t expect you to remember it, so no worries!)
        Yeah, I had a nice day. I took it off from work, had a very yummy waffle breakfast with my wife and in the afternoon we had unicorn cake 😉 Relaxed and cozy.

        I can totally see what you mean. I think this very close focus also makes it way more intense because you really feel with the characters. And it’s like you share a very personal experience with them.

        Like

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