Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined

Danielle Younge-Ullman's young adult novel traces the story a young woman on a wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens.

Danielle Younge-Ullman

Then: Ingrid travelled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. Life was beautiful and bright, and every day soared with music.

Now: Ingrid is on a summertime wilderness survival trek for at-risk teens: addicts, runaways and her. She is fighting to survive crushing humiliations, physical challenges that push her to her limits and mind games that threaten to break her.

Then: When the curtain fell on Margot-Sophia's singing career, they buried the past and settled into a small, painfully normal life. But Ingrid longed to let the music soar again. She wanted it so much that, for a while, nothing else mattered.

Now: Ingrid is never going to make it through this summer if she can't figure out why she is here, what happened to Margot-Sophia and why the music really stopped. (From Penguin Random House Canada)

From the book

Dear Mom,

Thanks. Really.

I can't wait for this tiny excuse for an airplane to take off into the sky, and then deliver me into the dismal middle of nowhere. Into the stunning, unspoiled lap of Mother Nature, I mean.

I'm not scared, in case you're wondering. It would be much scarier to be looking after small children, or backpacking in Asia unsupervised, like some of my friends. This? It's just trees and lakes. The great outdoors. Nothing to worry about.

Though I gather there will be backpacks. Excursions from base out into the wild. Exotic bugs and plants. Singing, bunkbeds, roasting marshmallows, weaving friendship bracelets out of twigs from the forest, awards to those who swim in the coldest water, learning to fish, and so on.

I know you think I'm going to hate it and wimp out and maybe quit. And if that happens, you'll consider me to have reneged on our deal. But you underestimate me, and my determination. You see, I have a new, positive attitude, and I'm not going to continue all huddled, wounded, and tragic like I have been the past few months. I'm done with that. I'm going to have a fantastic time. I'm going to make new friends, connect with my inner Nature Girl, become transcendent and tough and ready for the apocalypse/adulthood/other unforeseen crappy stuff, and I will have fun.

From Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman ©2017. Published by Penguin Random House Canada.

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