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Reviewed by Justine Reyes for Readers' Favorite
“Sometimes you have to do crazy things to truly experience life.” The mantra of young adults who don’t yet know the fragility of life. As the story opens on a summer's day, we find ourselves in Snowdyn, North Dakota, riding along in an old yellow pickup truck where one of the main characters, seventeen-year-old Dylan Erickson, is loading a rifle. He and his buddies, Dutch and Strong Bear, are about to go deer hunting. Kildare captures readers’ hearts in The Tragedy of Beauty as he unfolds for us a story of the untamable wildness of youth. Early in the story, Dylan is prompted by another character named Nevada to stop his friend from making a grave mistake, but youthful indiscretion overpowers him and he eventually finds himself stumbling through life until he can make things right again.
A lot of young adult novels focus on fantasy and romance these days and although there is nothing wrong with any of them, it is refreshing to find a gem such as this. It is reminiscent of short stories like The Body and novels like The Outsiders and The Catcher in the Rye. A simple story about friendship and growing up. It tells us to appreciate life and embrace what we have because in the blink of an eye it could all be taken from us, sometimes because of our own careless volition. Kildare’s novel speaks nothing short of the truth. I cannot wait for others to be able to read this because it is something that should, at the very least, be read once in your lifetime.