The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

Illustrator: Mikey Alam
The Real History of Thanksgiving
Erika Hartman, In-Depth Writer • November 30, 2023

Each year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all races, religions and ethnicities come together for a day of gratitude and celebration. Plates of mac and cheese,...


“Beautiful World, Where Are You” Finding Originality in a Sea of Replicas

“Beautiful World, Where Are You” was released on September 7, 2021. Source: New York Times

What do you look for when it comes to selecting your next read? Perhaps it’s a title you are taken by, a pretty cover or something a friend recommended you try. Whatever the reason, something about the book you chose stood out to you in a way the others did not. Without reading a word, you were captivated by the author’s story. Or maybe you chose the book at random, without looking at the title or so much as a glance at the cover. Those kinds of books, I feel, are always the most fascinating. A month ago, I picked up a book just like that. 

It was too hot to do anything productive. I found myself wandering the shelves of my local bookstore, lingering near the air conditioning, looking for a book to distract me from the blistering heat. That is where I found “Beautiful World, Where are You,sitting alone on a shelf next to a loud AC unit. 

The story begins like any other: an outcast main character who is looking to start anew, a best friend who is the polar opposite of her and a “will they, won’t they” relationship to keep you entertained for 300 pages. If you were to zoom out, this book would be the pinnacle of average, but there is something special lingering in this book as well. It is hiding behind pages, lurking in the comas, and every once in a while you see it: something real. Unlike most books in the contemporary genre, “Beautiful World” has characters so realistic that they are almost unnerving. In other novels, the main character will make choices that frustrate you, even making you want to throw your book across the room out of anger, but at the end of the day, you are always on the main character’s side. That’s what makes reading so fun:  no matter what, you always have someone you can root for, someone you can rely on to ultimately make the right choice. One might argue  that is the pinnacle of realism: to make mistakes but eventually find the way. While there is some truth in that, there is nothing more perfectly human than making mistakes, learning from them, and falling short anyway. There is nothing more bittersweet than knowing that you tried and failed, but still grew for the better. “Beautiful World, Where Are You” is exactly this. The portrayal of the four characters is intended to make some people dislike them, despite the fact that they are all ultimately good people. My favorite character was my best friend’s least favorite, while her favorite character was someone that I could not stand and could not forgive. 

This book, like all of Sally Rooney’s , is written in a way that encourages individual interpretations. Her writing forces the reader to question what they will and will not accept in a character, person, or friend. How could you blame any of the characters for any of their choices when given the context? How could you not?

Beautiful World, Where Are You? is one in a million. It is unnervingly human and a stark reminder to appreciate those around you and to choose your friends wisely. It is compassionate, blunt and genuine. Despite its heartbreak, “Beautiful World Where Are You is also a source of hope, and that alone makes it worth all the praise.

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About the Contributor
Abby Edwards, Scoop Writer
  Hi! My name is Abby Edwards, I am a junior, and I am a part of the Scoop section! I am learning how to be a pilot, and I love music, hiking, and reading.

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