I’ll be honest, I dove in to this book wondering if it would be any good. I’d seen it around bookstagram a lot, but it’s written by a bookstagrammer/blogger (@paperfury) which made me wonder if I saw it around a lot because it was genuinely good, or because it was written by someone with over 45,000 followers. After reading it, I’m pretty sure it’s that first one.
A Thousand Perfect Notes is about a teenager, Beck, who is forced by his ex-pianist mother to spend almost all his waking hours outside of school to practice piano until his hands bleed…and then some more. She lives out her dreams through Beck in an abusive and aggressive way (there’s a trigger warning there). And then August comes along, thrust in to Beck’s path by the dreaded ‘partner work’ in school. As much as he tries to fight it, August might actually be the first friend Beck’s ever had…
I honestly didn’t really know what to expect when I started this book, so the opening few chapters were a bit of a surprise, and frankly not really what I was expecting! But the characters grew on me and it was heartbreaking to read how Beck’s mother treated him, and the effect that had on his internal monologue and thought patterns.
The book looks at the effects of abusive family relationships and, from my extremely limited/non-existent personal knowledge on the matter, give an interesting perspective on how that kind of relationship can twist itself in to your psyche and manipulate your thoughts. Seeing Beck slowly open up to a new person as the story unfolds was both a joy and a constant worry to read (because WHAT IF THE MAESTRO FINDS OUT?!).
I flew through the book on a 2.5 hour flight, so there’s proof that the writing style isn’t difficult to read (it’s fairly standard YA prose), but this is a book with heart and depth. Certainly not your normal young adult fodder and for the most part the characters are multi-dimensional, faceted humans – not cardboard cutout clichés.
Rating: A captivating read with some dark themes and likeable characters. This Young Adult novel lived up to its bookstagram fame. Those who are readers of contemporary YA books should add this to their collection!
What YA books have you read that dealt with heavier themes?
I’m quietly loving the way Young Adult literature has been reaching out in to more and more diverse and deep themes in the past few years. As much as I love adult fiction, there’s something about picking up a genuinely GOOD book for Young Adult readers that brings me joy. To know I can devour it in the space of a few days and be absorbed in the story, but also to know that teenagers are getting more and more good literature to dip their toes in to is amazing.
You can check out C.G. Drews’ blog here.
Until next time,
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