A Thousand Perfect Notes

A Thousand Perfect Notes

How did I get it?:
Netgalley- many thanks to Hatchette Children’s books

Synopsis:

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?

Thoughts:

I don’t even know where to begin with this book because it’s just THAT GOOD. Yes. THAT GOOD. It deserves the capitals. I feel like this review should come with a massive trigger warning because its content is incredibly intense. Beck, our main character, suffers abuse at the hands of his violent mother. This story tore my heart into shreds and moved me… in less than 300 pages. C.G Drews is certainly a talented writer. I can’t believe this is her debut. I’m going to try and write a sensible and coherent review but I may struggle… just saying.

A Thousand Perfect Notes centres around Beck who is an incredibly beautiful character. He hates his life because of his simply horrific mother who he names Maestro. Maestro is violent towards him and also emotionally abusive. She forces him to play the piano for hours upon hours because she wants him to be as good as she was at the piano before illness stole her talent from her. She was once famous across the word for her talents and she’s determined that he’ll continue her legacy, no matter the cost. I’m actually tearing up at the thought of the story and the terrible situations Beck was in. Beck does enjoy music, but he prefers to create his own music. Any mention of this to his mother ends violently. Added to this complex family situation, is a young sister, Joey, who he wants to protect. She sees her big brother being hit and has become violent herself at pre-school. (Heart-breaking once more… thanks Cait!) Beck is paired with a girl named August for a school project. She brings joy into his life and encourages him (without even knowing it) to stand up for himself and get away from the violence at home.

This book really is exceptional. I was immediately drawn into the story and although the subject matter is incredible tense and heart-breaking it still made me flick through the pages quickly, desperately wanting a release from such an awful life for Beck. I grew so attached to Beck and his sister Joey. I was infuriated at his school for not picking up more signs. I absolutely loathed his mother. Of course, I felt sorry for her that she had lost her passion due to illness, I’m not that cold-hearted. However, Beck and Joey did not deserve a mother that didn’t know how to be a mother.

I adored August. She was a shining light for Beck and Joey and alongside her beautiful family, she gave Beck hope to stand up for himself. I loved how Beck and August’s relationship was a slow burning romance. I love a slow burning romance because it’s much more realistic.

I have to be honest and say I was worried about reading this book because of the hype surrounding it. I’ve followed and adored the author’s blog for several years now and wondered what her writing would be like. I needn’t have worried because the book was simply divine! Easily one of my favourite reads of 2018 so far!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A wonderful debut! One of my favourites of the year so far.

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A List Of Cages

A List of Cages

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…

Thoughts:

I had this book on my radar for 2017 but for some reason I never got around to it. I heard such amazing things about it, but you know what the life of a bookworm is like. Sometimes it’s hard to get around to every book. So I’m making it my mission this year to catch up on some debut releases from 2017.

I read A List Of Cages in early March and I thought it was a simply incredible book. I will warn you that it is intense. I wasn’t expecting that. I feel like I need to say that there is heavy abuse in this story, so if that is something that would be too much for you, then perhaps this book won’t be for you. If you can manage to read this book, even with a heavy heart, I do think this book is really worth a read.

It’s a book about Adam and Julian. Adam is a popular boy at his school. He has ADHD and finds sitting still a challenge. He becomes an aide for the school psychologist. He has to track down a peer that is completely avoiding the school psychologist. Adam realises that it’s Julian, a younger boy who used to be fostered by Adam’s family. Adam grows closer to Julian once again, but Julian is hiding massive secrets which will soon come to the forefront.

As expected, this book is not necessarily an easy read. It’s incredibly hard to read due to the abuse involved in the story. It absolutely tore at my heart. I was desperate for Julian to find happiness. I also loved how Adam, despite being four years older, was completely there for Julian. It was the sweetest and most genuine friendship.

Dual narratives don’t always work for me, but in this book they are perfect. I could get a sense of the characters from their points of view. They were so incredibly different. Adam was the life and soul. Mr Popular. Julian was deeply affected by his past and his current home situation. He was timid and withdrawn. I loved how Robin Roe portrayed Adam and Julian’s characters. Their friendship is one of the best I have ever read.

I also appreciated how the characters didn’t find school easy. Adam struggled with his ADHD and Julian struggled academically. I wasn’t overly impressed with how the educators in the story dealt with their struggles, but hey, you can’t win them all! Being a teacher myself it’s something that does grate on me.

This book doesn’t hold back any. It is raw, brutally honest and heart-breaking. Yet, there’s something hopeful about the future for these characters. Highly recommended!

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Stunning writing. A wonderful albeit hard to read book!