Published by Orchard Books on June 7th 2018
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?
Okay, you’re probably sick by now of me saying “I don’t really read contemporary but…”, but honestly, the stats back this up, only 10% of my reading last year was contemporaries. (Does this mean I’m more likely to write a review for a contemporary because I don’t expect to like it? I mean maybe, but that’s a whole other post). Anyway, the reason I’m starting with this is because yet again I’ve read a contemporary and been pleasantly surprised!
A Thousand Perfect Notes is written by C.G. Drews, who in case you don’t know, is Cait of paperfury.com (who I am regularly astounded by), so I had a few expectations about the book when I picked it up – largely that it wouldn’t be a fluffy, light read, that it would try and stomp on my emotions and that it would almost certainly contain cake. Safe to say, A Thousand Perfect Notes lived up to all of those expectations. Beck’s story is dark, and twisted, and full of scenes that will tug on your heart-strings or infuriate you on his behalf (or, frequently, both). Beck is miserable – he hates playing the same musical parts over and over again, and he hates the way his mother treats him. This could easily become a depressing story, but it somehow never does.
Cheerfulness is irritating, but it suits some people. Some people are born for sunlight and orange peel smiles and running on the beach and wild flowers in their hair.
The characters are interesting: from Beck himself, to August, who’s so cheerful, and kind but also opinionated, impulsive and generally super enthusiastic about life, the universe and everything. I think one of the main reasons Beck’s story doesn’t get depressing is because he has a little sister called Joey who’s like a little ball of adorable, insane, darkly twisted child, and is definitely my favourite character.
August did feel a little bit manic pixie dreamgirl to me at times, and she fell into stereotypes at times which irritated me a bit. The romance side was predictable, which didn’t bother me, but Beck’s interest in August picked up just a little quicker than I would have liked.
Chocolate is a substance worth existing for.
The story is quite dark and twisted, and if you like authors like Christina Henry or A.G. Howard but wish their stories were a little more based in the real world, this would be a perfect fit for you. your stories more real-world, I imagine you’ll like this. If I’m totally honest, my primary interest in A Thousand Perfect Notes came from being curious about the author, more than the premise, and if this were a book by an author I’d heard nothing about and stumbled across by accident, it’d be 50/50 as to whether I’d pick it up. For me to then fly through in a few days says a lot about Drews’ writing style and skill. The snarky, funny writing voice we see from paperfury shines through really well without ever being overpowering or too much. She somehow blends that down-to-earth tone with some beautiful writing, and similies and metaphors that remind me a little of Laini Taylor’s beautiful writing style. While there were a couple of occasions when it got a bit too flowery for me, generally Drews’ writing is definitely a style I could see myself reading more of, and I’ll be waiting anxiously for some of her fantasy-based books, which will be more up my alley!