He slams the keys and they howl with Chopin’s chaos instead of his own
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.
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?
* * * *
4 / 5
A Thousand Perfect Notes is not the kind of book that I typically pick up – a YA romance with a focus on abuse – mostly because I’m not a romance reader and reading books about abuse is typically quite depressing. And this book was dark, but it also had a good splash of hope.
Isn’t sixteen for kissing boys and driving cars and deciding on your future of possibilities?
I picked this one up almost primarily because it was written by a blogger that I have followed for a couple of years – C. G. Drews aka Paper Fury – and she seemed seriously excited! My interest continued to be caught by part of the premise: it’s about a guy, Beck, who plays the piano expertly but hates it. As a child, I too hated playing the piano (though I did want to be good at it, just, like, without any of the effort). The difference between me and Beck is that Beck’s mother is horrendously emotionally and physically abusive. Which sucks for him, big time.
Beck is so focused on trying to please his abominable mother and trying to shield his younger sister from her wrath, that he doesn’t have a single friend. Until he is paired up in English class with enthusiastic, hippyish, and persistent August. August, who seems to genuinely want to get to know him; August, who’s family is normal and kind; August, who he absolutely cannot be friends with because his mother would go insane.
He’s not a shell of a pianist – he’s a composer. Cut his chest and see his heart beat with a song all his own
Beck is a really complex, conflicted character. He has music in his head, in his soul, and he knows that he cannot live without it but dear God he hates practicing the piano and performing on stage with the shadow of his mother looming over his every move. It would be very hard not to feel for Beck. But I do think A Thousand Perfect Notes overdoes it on the darkness and the tension – I was constantly on edge whilst reading this book, which made it hard to relax when something nice was happening. The main point of humour in the book was “witty banter” between August and Beck, some of which hit the mark perfectly and some of which was pretty cringeworthy.
A Thousand Perfect Notes is a difficult read. It’s about love and family and friendship and abuse and it really ramps up the emotions. A fantastic debut that I definitely recommend!
My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of A Thousand Perfect Notes