Book Nook: Hideous Beauty by William Hussey

Image Credit: Samaneh Sadeghi Marasht

Discussing Hideous Beauty by William Hussey, Rachel O’Hara-Wilde delves into the recently published YA mystery, and the perfect spot to read.

What to Read

Dylan and Ellis’ happily ever after is short-lived when an intimate video of the two together goes public. Their secret has been thrust into the open and, for a moment, life felt good for the two, not having to hide from the world.

An unforgettable accident leaves one in hospital and the other gone from the world forever. 

Dylan is determined to find the person responsible for Ellis’ death, but every turn that Dylan takes adds to the grief and confusion which surrounds him. Dylan is left in a world where all he knows has twisted, and he is left with more questions than answers.

With his best friend by his side, Dylan receives clues from an unknown source about the truth of what really happened during the accident. He throws himself into the search before he even realises what he has gotten himself into. By the time he is forced to admit that he didn’t know Ellis that well after all, it is too late.

This dark YA mystery is full of captivating scenes and moments that keep you from putting the book down. Through his compelling writing and storytelling, Hussey captures us within a world of ‘what-ifs’ and mystery. By telling such a tale through alternating past and present events, he cleverly combines emotion with revelation as Dylan and we, the readers, discover the truth one piece at a time.

I was truly addicted to Hussey’s words and waited restlessly to see what would happen next in the main story. I also really enjoyed the scenes with Dylan and his best friend Mike. Mike is living with his own struggles, an illness that has changed his and his parent’s life completely, and yet he is always there by Dylan’s side through thick or thin. Even when Mike knows that what Dylan is searching for may be impossible, he makes sure his friend doesn’t go through it alone. Mike is a key character in Dylan’s life, especially during the time after the incident when he feels so alone. He is that character that everyone loves and anyone would be grateful to call a friend.

The author provides a trigger warning page at the beginning of the book to ensure that people are prepared beforehand and can avoid being caught off guard by any sensitive material mentioned in the book. Even with the warning, I was quite shocked and unnerved about a scene that involved abuse and rape. It isn’t described in detail, however, its use in relation to the plot of the book made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I appreciate that the author and publishers of the book provided a list of numbers and names of organisations that people could contact if they had been affected by the subject matter discussed.

Where to read it

In a perfect world, where I am not trapped in the walls of my own bedroom surrounded by stacks of books and the comfort of my duvet, I would be reading in the park. The sun would be glaring down on the crisp pages between the cracks of the leaves blowing in the wind, my thumb flicking from one page to the next. The smell of wildflowers and the quiet buzz of bees, bugs, and the rare murmur of people walking by in the distance. 

There is a secret nook to which I tread, book in hand, and peace in my heart. Secluded and hidden, I pretend that it is all mine for those few hours that I sit and read. Surrounded by overgrown bushes and weeds, birds chirping in the tall green trees. A lone bench sits abandoned in the forest’s enclosure, with only my book and I to accompany it. 

The wooden bench has grown darker with age and life, as the damp dewy surroundings weather it with each season that goes by. In time, there will be another wanderer to frequent the bench and its surroundings and claim such seat as their own. 

But for now, I will sit, dream, and be drawn into the fictional worlds of the books in my hand and when I awake, I will be back here. Sitting on the bench, never ready to leave but always grateful for the time it has given me to leave the real world behind.