Contemporary, YA Fiction

Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There are many YA fiction novels out there that discuss how a teenager deals with problems in her life. Some of these stories are good and some of them don’t really make the cut. I haven’t read one of these tearjerker novels in a while and I wasn’t really expecting this novel to be one. But after reading the first chapter, I knew exactly what it was all about. I continued to read… and I’m so glad I did, because this novel definitely blew me away!


When Ingrid was younger, she travelled all over Europe with her opera star maother, Margot-Sophia Lalonde. Life was full of surprises and beauty – and music. But when tragedy strikes, Ingrid and her mother must forgo their glamorous life for something simpler. And it takes a toll on the both of them. Gone is the brilliant and bright mother, replaced by someone who hides from her past and can barely drag up the energy to face the present.


At her mother’s insistence, Ingrid is on a summertime wilderness survival camp for teens, all of whom are at-risk for some reason or the other. She has to fight through mosquitoes, physical challenges that will push her to her limits, and survive crushing humiliations that threaten to break her.

As this story moves from past to present, we find out what landed Ingrid in this intensive camp in the first place, as well as how this experience will change her forever.

I adored this novel. Truly, I did. From the synopsis to the actual writing to the characters, everything was flawless and perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better story!

I loved the different characters that we were introduced to, even though it was apparent that Ingrid was the star of the show. The descriptions of the other characters was given through Ingrid and I really liked how this was done, because it showed Ingrid as someone who is not self-absorbed and consumed by her own problems. Ingrid, while seeming to be quiet, is actually a firecracker who knows how to stand up for herself. She may have wanted to back down from the challenges she faced but she doesn’t, and that made me love her character! The other characters from the camp were written very well and did a good job in terms of giving Ingrid the support and baseboard that she needed in order to “grow”.

I really enjoyed the way this story was written. The chapters would flit from the past to the present and it was really interesting to read from both perspectives and see how they all matched up. The emotions that Ingrid felt in the past, and the pain she was carrying with her in the present were powerfully written; it made me want to go and hug her! The story never dragged, which was really great to see since I frequently find books in this genre are … slow-paced.

Overall, this book is emotionally-packed. It will make you laugh out loud, and cry, and just … FEEL so much! I loved Ingrid, I loved Margot-Sophia, I loved every character (except Peace, of course)! This novel was amazing in terms of its writing style, pacing, story line, and character development. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good teen fiction that will make you emotional!

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