Published by Orchard Books on June 7th 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
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An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?
I’ll admit I was scared to read this book. Not because of what it’s about, but because of who wrote it. Cait has been a dear friend of mine for a few years new and I’ve beta read for her before. So I was scared to read this book because what if I don’t like it? Or will people think I’m biased? But of course I had to read it. And I was careful to be just as critical with this book as I am with all others. And it still exceeded all expectations I could possibly have. A Thousand Perfect Notes is nothing short of excellent.
First of all, I have to start with a warning. This book gets dark, people. Very dark. It’s an insanely intense and dark read at times so go in prepared. It’s about abuse, so I’m throwing a trigger warning here for that.
I wanted to list my negatives first but honestly I can’t think of any so I’m just going to skip to flailing about this book like an insane person. First, the writing. OH MY GOD THE WRITING. I mean I have read things from the author before and they were always beyond amazing but the writing in this book is just stellar. Above excellent. I was hooked right from the start and Beck and his story had me clinging to the pages until it was over. So yeah, I read it in one spectacular sitting in which I laughed and cried and gasped and cried some more. The emotions leap off the pages and honestly? It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that was this gripping and had such an impact on me.
Beck is such a precious boy and it’s hard not to feel for him right from the start. His home situation is downright miserable. His mom is one of the most awful parents I’ve come across in YA and I just wanted to slap her to be honest. She tries to live out her dream through him and is so demanding and negative and obsessive towards him that even I felt the pressure of it on my shoulders. And Beck just takes it and he’s so kind-hearted and gentle and he adores his younger sister Joey. It was so sad to see him suffer and try to keep August at a distance because he was so scared of what his mother might do to him for having a friend. For having a life of his own.
August on the other hand was so full of life and unique and I liked her instantly. She’s a bit quirky and she has like a million dogs at home and she tries to get Beck out of his shell and their friendship was so wonderful it might my heart happy. Is there a romance? Yes, kind of? But it’s very slow-burning and sweet and it doesn’t “cure” anything at all. So I was very pleased with that.
Overall… A Thousand Perfect Notes is one of the most explosive and excellent debuts I’ve ever read and I’m so proud of my friend, who is so extraordinarily talented. This is one book you have to read, for sure.