Published: June 2018 - Orchard Books.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary / romance
Pages: 300.
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.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

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?

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.

“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.”

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.

The characters' personalities are strong and vivid. But Joey, who's Beck adorable little sister, is the only person I actually loved. Although I obviously felt for Beck, I never loved his character, and August irritated me with her abrasiveness and inability to take a hint.  I also would've liked to have seen more depth to August's character, more of her hobbies, things to flesh her out. As is, she's not far from becoming a hippie stereotype. 

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.  

No comments