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