Author: James Moloney
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Visit The Beauty is in the Walking’s goodreads page here
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 1st August 2015
SYNOPSIS: ‘Sometimes you’ve got to show some mongrel. There’s mongrel in you, little brother, more than you realise.‘
Everyone thinks they know what Jacob O’Leary can and can’t do – and they’re not shy about telling him either.
But no one – not even Jacob – knows what he’s truly capable of. And he’s desperate for the chance to work it out for himself.
When a shocking and mystifying crime sends his small country town reeling, and fingers start pointing at the newcomer, Jacob grabs the chance to get out in front of the pack and keep mob rule at bay.
He’s convinced that the police have accused the wrong guy; that the real villain is still out there. And he’s determined to prove it – and himself – to everyone.
I was kindly sent an early copy from Harper Collins Australia, in exchange for an honest review.
When I first read the synopsis, I thought I knew what to expect. It sounded like the typical mystery YA novel, with the stereotypical protagonist. I can honestly say I was blown away! The story is beautifully written with so many hidden themes and messages, which are all extremely relevant to modern society. The wonderful tale James Moloney took us on covers racism, disability and discrimination, but not told like it typically is. It’s written as though the protagonist, Jacob, has come to terms with his disability and its apart of him, which is quite rare in the Young Adult genre.
As stated previously, I really admired Jacob as a character. He had Cerebral Palsy which meant he grew up with a slight disability that made him unique. Unlike most YA characters, he accepted his differences and didn’t let them control his life. He was treated like normally by all of his friends and family; it was a major part of his character but it didn’t over power the story. I found that he grew hugely as a character within the small frame. During the beginning he let his friends and other take advantage and walk all over him, it was as if he didn’t want to cause conflict. Where as later in the novel he became more mature and noticed how wrong it was; standing up to probably the biggest bully in the novel, Dan his so-called friend. I honestly found Jacobs’s story and growth inspirational and Young Adult literature needs more role models like him; he clearly wasn’t a hero, but highly impacted everyone, I included.
His friends were so annoying! Mitch was childhood best friends with Jacob, but became closer to Dan, leaving Jacob behind. I loved their little relationship until Mitch was easily influenced by Dan, causing them to both became rude and took advantage of Jake’s disability. They treated it as a joke, and teased him for it throughout the novel. Yet other times they took on the ‘Big Brother’ role, protecting Jacob from any harsh new comers. The irony!
The main idea to the story is that people assume things to quickly, that we don’t take a moment before we judge people. Mahmoud was wrongly accused of a crime, yet everyone assumed it was him because he was a new comer to the town. The police made it look as though he was guilty, causing the whole population to believe so, without knowing the complete story. Jacob fought for what he thought was right, that Mahmoud was in fact innocent, even if everyone thought he was being ridiculous. I really enjoyed the fact that he kept pursuing the truth, even though Mahmoud did look guilty; he didn’t let outside sources affect what he truly believed, which is easier said than done. This novel deals with peer pressure and discrimination against others, which links directly to the society we live within. People are to easily influenced by outside sources, usually people higher ‘up in the food chain’, yet this story teaches younger audiences its okay to be different and to believe what you want to, even if everyone thinks you are being ridiculous.
The main issue I had with this novel was the relationship between Jacob and Amy. They share a budding romance, which continues to grow throughout the novel. It was a sweet side story, but I feel as though it was too forced. Moloney felt the need to bring up the fact that Jacob liked Amy every chance he could, causing the story and inner monologue to become repetitive and boring. When the relationship finally started going somewhere, there was an incident running the romance, which was a bit obvious. James wrote it intending it to be a huge shock, but I guessed it about half way through the novel. Besides this minor flaw, this novel was immaculate.
This though provoking story was highly enjoyable. The character, plot and even the hidden meanings & ideas were so beautifully brought together. I highly recommend this to everyone, I feel like anyone would grow as a person after reading this story; it’s highly influential.