Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman


Wild meets The Breakfast Club in this story of a girl who must survive an extreme wilderness experience to prove to her mother that she has the strength to pursue her dreams.
Ingrid traveled all over Europe with her opera star mother, Margot-Sophia. Life was beautiful and bright, and every day soared with music.

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

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.

Ingrid is never going to make it through this summer if she can’t figure out why she’s here . . . and why the music really stopped.


I listened to Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined on audiobook and the narrator, Phoebe Strole was incredible! She really brought the story to life with her emotional voice acting, I felt like she enhanced my enjoyment of the book just that little bit more.

Danielle’s writing was exceptional, it was beautiful, hilarious and heartbreaking. The writing amplified story, articulating it flawlessly. There were some amazing, introspective passages that were really eyeopening, that I thought deeply about. Ingrid’s letters to her Mum were a nice touch to the story, which I loved, especially because journaling is one of my favourite hobbies. The alternation between the past and the present was enjoyable, each one ending in a slight cliff hanger, propelling me to continuing reading the story.

The wilderness setting of this book was unique and refreshing. I can’t say I’ve read many books set in the harsh outdoors, let alone a camp. I could relate to the brutality of it as I’ve endured similar camps to that of Ingrid’s. Carrying all that you brought with you in heavy packs, sleeping under tarps, cooking your own meals, all without little or no guidance by camp leaders. I really empathised with Ingrid and her experiences, because I can tell you, it was pure hell at times.

The main character, Ingrid, holds a special place in my heart. She was an incredible character, and had everything I look for in a female protagonist. She was exceedingly intelligent and intuitive, as well as abundantly humorous and witty. Some of her remarks made me laugh out loud, they were that hilarious! She is equally strong minded as she is strong willed and is never afraid to speak her mind. And Ingrid’s transformation throughout the novel is immense, from being afraid to use a drop toilet to being a bad ass wilderness gal, it was amazing! All in all, Ingrid was strikingly real and very much a solid person and character. The other characters were also enjoyable, with a great cast of relatable and diverse people. The only thing I will say is that I didn’t feel connected or attached to any of them, none of them felt overly special to me, nor did they leave an imprint on my heart.

Overall, Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined is a remarkable story of the incredible journey of a teenage girl. It was wonderful, however it didn’t pull at my heart strings and leave me aching for more when I finished it, like a 5 star book would. But I still highly recommend it!



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