The Beauty That Remains

7 CDs. 8:55 hrs. Listening Library. Mar. 2018. $55. ISBN 9780525527282. digital download.
Gr 9 Up—Logan, Shay, and Autumn are each hurting in their own way. Logan is obsessively watching his ex-boyfriend's old YouTube videos in the wake of Bram's suicide. Shay is trying to be the good daughter and act like everything is fine despite suffering frequent panic attacks following the death of her twin from cancer. Autumn is stuck in a cycle of blame and confusing romantic emotions, compelled to send emails to her best friend who was killed in a car accident. The music of a now-defunct band, Unravelling Lovely, will help them begin to heal and honor their lost loved ones. Three gifted narrators portray Woodfolk's well-drawn characters with affecting complexity. Jackie Chung's soft voice reveals Autumn's shyness and blossoming yet complicated crush on her deceased friend's brother. Alisha Wainwright's performance embodies Shay's denial of the pain and loss of control she experiences. Michael Crouch couples Logan's self-destructive attitude with an intense longing to change the past. Certain moments lag when the writing feels repetitive, but the vocal through line is strong as each narrator commits to the character's heartbreaking journey.
VERDICT A sorrowful exploration of grieving teens complemented with narration that depicts their depth of feeling and paths towards finding peace.

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