"This is for my peoples who just lost somebody."-Mariah Carey "Bye Bye", 2008
***This review may contain spoilers***
That song by Mariah Carey that was made in 2008 is what keeps going into my head whenever I think about the novel by Ashley Woodfolk, The Beauty That Remains. The book follows Autumn, Shay, and Logan as they go through the loss of the people that they loved. One of the main things that connects these three is music and one band, Unraveling Lovely. The mystery of how the band breaks up and how the music effected the people in this book is the pulse of the story. The heart of this book is within the process of the grief that the characters go through and how they find good and bad ways to heal.
Autumn loses her best friend, Tavia. She feels guilty because she wasn't there when she died. Instead on the night of Tavia's car accident Autumn was with Tavia's brother, Dante. Autumn tries to stay connected to Tavia as best she can by sending emails and texts. But that soon is not enough when she is reminded everyday of her friend. She goes through the loss of her best friend and how she can possibly move forward without Tavia and she must struggle and pause the feelings that she has for Dante. With the help of others she learns to accept herself and her feelings.
Shay has lost not just her sister but her twin sister, Sasha from leukemia. And now she doesn't know how to act without her sister by her side. Shay tries to keep her connection with Sasha through music and the music blog that they both ran together. She even struggles on how to be in a crowd during a concert which was her favorite thing to do. She suffers from panic attacks and acts like everything is fine from her mom and friends. Thinking that no one can ever know what it is like to lose a twin. With the help of others she learns to show her feelings instead of hide them.
Logan lost an ex-boyfriend, Bram. He feels horrible from the things that he said to Bram when he last saw him. And he feels that he was the cause of it. Logan tries to stay connected to Bram from his videos. He also tries to bury himself in alcohol and music but nothing seems to work. His self-destruction follows him as he tries to make sense of Bram's death and feelings that Logan still has for him. With the help of others he learns to take the first step of forgiving himself and for what he has done.
I don't know what to say about this book other than it was the best thing I needed to read. It is hard to write about grief fictional or not. It is even harder to make people care about the grief of fictional characters within the first pages of a book. I believe that Woodfolk does a great job of doing both. This book shows what happens to a person who is broken by loss and gives a guide on how they can be put back together.
Do you agree with this review? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr @mandwmagazine.