Wednesday 28 June 2017

Review! - Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Something Beautiful title image


Title: Something Beautiful

Author: Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary*, Romance* (M/F; M/M,) (*ish,) LGBTQ+ (and sexually fluid)

Release Date: 27th June 2017

Amazon: UK - USA

A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via the publishers, Pen Name Publishing as an opportunity for writing a fair and honest review.

I have also talked to the author, Amanda Gernentz Hanson, several times on Twitter, and I think she's pretty cool.

This does not affect my review. I will do my utmost to be fair, honest, and professional.

(I also hope Amanda still likes me by the end of this!)

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Turns out this book has two main characters – a girl with depression/anxiety, and a boy who is sexually fluid.

If you've read this blog much, you'll be aware that I have depression/anxiety, and I'm sexually fluid.

My nerdlets, this book was pretty much calling my name!

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It actually took me quite a long time to read this – despite it only being a little over 150 pages – because there is a lot of sh** going on here.

And since a lot of the sh** hit quite close to home for yours truly, I needed a lot of breaks to process!


Dec and Cord have been friends forever.

Romance just feels like the next step.

But they're both struggling – Cord with mental health problems, and Dec with figuring out his sexuality.

As life moves on with all its twists and turns, is it possible for them to find something beautiful?

Best bits:

This book has all the feels. Like – So. Many. Feels!!!

Gernentz Hanson shouldn't be allowed characters if she can't be nice to them is adept at pulling the reader's strings, and getting you completely stuck in the story.

This is a book where emotions run high, and reader engagement runs right along with it. All. The. Feels.

Part of this has to be down to the flow of the writing – it carries you along with a slightly chatty, always intimate*, first person point of view (POV.) You can't help but go along with it.

*Not like that! Minds in the gutter, the lot of you. ;)

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Dec's POV was great.

Honestly, the author did a fab job with Dec's POV – actually using the phrase sexual fluidity and having Dec label himself simply as Queer?

That made my little fluid heart soooo happy.

(I didn't cry. It was just the gravity of reading upside-down pulling water from eyes. #FightMe.)

I would've loved it if the phrase sexually fluid was also in there – but close enough. *shrugs*

The weird thing about being represented as a sexually fluid person, is that every book represents your sexuality in some way, but hardly any represent you totally.

Like, books with asexual, bisexual, lesbian, representation etc. all represent a part of me. But I struggle to find any books which represent the experience of being fluid – even a little.

Dec gives me that. Dec says, 'screw it, love is love and I am who I am, when I am.'

Dec doesn't fit in the boxes; and even though he's definitely more defined in his sexuality than I am, to find someone like me – like us - in a book, is so beautiful that it's hard to even put it into words.

(It helps that Dec's a massive sweetie. #TrueStory.)

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The depression and anxiety representation here is #ownvoices and brutally honest.

It's harsh but hopeful. Realistic and relevant.

But please be careful if this is something that affects you – parts of this book are raw.

Not so great bits:

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OK, there's a lot of tough topics and potentially distressing content here – like a lot, so please be aware.

Potentially distressing content includes:

- depression and anxiety

- self-harm (BIG warning)

- attempted suicide (BIG, MASSIVE warning)

- panic attacks

- low self-esteem/self-worth

- mental health stigma (hiding illness)

- homophobia

- car accident

- gun violence

- homophobic violence

- murdercorner pic

- grief

- relationship/friendship issues

I think that's it. There's also swearing and sexy-times, in case that's a problem to anyone.

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The first thing I have to point out is that Dec's drunken one-night stand was a little too fuzzy consent-wise for my liking. I think Dec was probably too drunk to consent – which would make it rape.

But that's very hard to judge without having met him at that moment – which would be very difficult, seeing as how he's fictional and everything!

But it's something to bear in mind, especially if this is a particularly sensitive and/or relevant subject for you.

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There are two POVs to this book – Cord's and Dec's. Cord's takes up the majority of the book. And that's where I struggled.

This book examines sexual fluidity from the viewpoint of someone who isn't fluid. That's fine.

The author isn't fluid, and I'd rather she write a thoughtful book from a non-fluid perspective than a thoughtless book from a fluid one.

So where was my problem?

For a start, I had to try and figure out why Cord was so damned confused – which is a personal thing, I'm fluid; what's confusing to me is being one thing permanently.

Plus, my heart was breaking for Dec as he tried to put that part of him into words, whereas Cord's heart was breaking for herself, and the loss of her ideal vision of the future.

(And she needed to hug him and tell him it was ok roughly 1000 times more than she did. #JustSaying.)

I know – I have depression and anxiety, and it skews your thoughts, and can often make things about you, even when they're not.

But if we could've changed the way things were framed – even just a little – that would've been fantastic.

And if, as I assume, this was written with non-fluid people in mind, I would've expected a higher level of explanation of terms and experiences, rather than Cord's (at times) slightly wishy-washy allyship.

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The only other thing I can really fault is the sheer amount of tragedy in this book – like, can they get a f**king break?! (And, more importantly, can we???)

I think that the amount of bad stuff could've been cut down on by two to three major events, and still been affective (and given the reader a damned breather!)


Something perfect? No. Something Beautiful? Yes.  (Click to Tweet)

I recommend it, with all my heart.

(Btw, Foo Fighters' 'Wheels' has been playing in my head every time I think about this book – it was like my soundtrack for the read! Because I'm nice, here it is):

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  1. This book looks like it was made to be reviewed by you! I'm sorry it wasn't perfect, but I'm sure you're happy you gave it a go :)

    1. I still absolutely loved it, and will be throwing it at people's faces regularly! ;)

  2. It sounds like this one does so well with the representation, and I am so happy to hear that it resonated so well with you. Being able to connect with a character like you did is quite something. I think I can understand Cord's perspective more though? Because it resonates with me. I think it's okay to have your heart break over a vision you wanted but can't have... but with time you gotta move on.

    1. Yeah, I get that - I just felt like the balance was a little too much in her favour? *Shrugs* I still loved this book soooo much, and will be going on about it until you're all sick of hearing (...reading?) me! XD


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