A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES - by C.G. Drews
Published: June 2018 - Orchard Books.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary / romance
Triggers/Content Advisory: The whole book is centered around the abusive relationship between a boy and his mother. It could be very triggering. There are also a number of extremely violent scenes.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is Cait's book! And I feel so absolutely terrified reviewing it! She's so popular that reviewing her novel is frightening. So please don't kill me ;) This is just my opinion.
Drews writes well, her style deeply poetic, unique, and profound. The dialogue is also excellent, showcasing the characters' distinct voices and always staying tight and witty.
But honestly, I found the writing too melodramatic. It's also occasionally - and nonsensically - purple prosy. The drama in every line is packed on too thick and some descriptions are so flowery that they don't even make sense. There are also so many sentences
and although I understand the author is trying to create an affect, it just feels fake and melodramatic. I even think it might make a better poem than a novel. The language and style would suit that better.
The theme of abuse is handled brilliantly. It's gut-wrenching and horrific, of course, but it's also sensitively and realistically dealt with. I also appreciate how the author showed the effects of Beck's mother's treatment of him on Beck's little sister, Joey, as well. It makes perfect sense that such violence would affect other members of the family, too, and I like that Drews includes that.
The plot is fast and never boring. It's predictable, but that doesn't distract from the story. There are great atmospheric scenes and plenty of tension to keep you gripped.
Yet I still wanted more. I wanted a rounder story. I wanted to see stronger subplots (and more of them...), a more fleshed out town, more quirks to the characters, and more depth. The focus is on Beck and his mother and Beck's relationship with August and that's all done very well, but I wanted to see around them. Instead, the story and theme are one dimensional. There's very little else going on besides the main plot. I just didn't like that; it didn't feel like a totally dynamic story.
A Thousand Perfect Notes is a heartbreaking and hopeful composition, rich with strong personalities. But the writing is too melodramatic, better suited for a poem than a novel, and the story isn't well rounded.