Riley Rose, atheist and bad girl, has been tricked into attending Spirit Ranch, a Christian camp. There she meets Dylan Kier, alumni camper and recent paraplegic, who arrives with a chip on his shoulder and a determination to perfect all of his bad habits. United in their personal suffering and in their irritation at their fellow campers, they turn the camp inside out as they question the meaning of belief systems, test their faith in each other, and ultimately settle a debate of the heart.
Favourite Quote: "He swallowed and wiped his mouth. 'I think you're beautiful'."
Everything Beautiful is a wonderful coming age of tale that was both hilarious and heart wrenching. It sends a message how important it is to truly love yourself with all your uniqueness.
The writing from the very first page had captured my interest, by the third page it had me laughing and by the fifth page it had pulled at my heart. When a book can do that within the first 5 pages then you know it is going to be good and well it was.
Everything Beautiful is a character driven novel and these characters are quirky, complex and entertaining. You either love them or hate them, there is no in between. Riley, our a female protagonist, is a misfit and a vibrant character. Instantly likeable and completely relatable. I liked how Dylan described Riley:
’Well most people try to avoid trouble. You go for it with open arms. Also, for someone who wears a lot of black, you’re very colourful. You like this…action feature where there’s so much going on that the audience can’t tell who they’re supposed to be barracking for.’
Dylan, a paraplegic, who is on his own journey was my favourite character though. His witty personality kept me amused. This story felt like it was his too and I think it would have been just a strong from his point of view.
There was some romance in this story and had a nice natural progression to it. There was no instant declaration of love. I think again Dylan summed it up well: ‘We’re just in deep like’.
Overall, a great read that left me in a good mood!
Note: I would recommend this for older teens and adults as it contains lots of swearing, some sex and drugs reference.