Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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?” (Goodreads).
This is a special review for me because I’ve been following C.G. Drews, also known as Cait Grace or @PaperFury on Instagram, since the early days. I watched her grow as a writer, scrolled through her Pinterest boards for novels she wrote in a day, and read snippets back when there wasn’t a “am I allowed to give snippets” kind of thing attached. Needless to say, when she announced her debut novel would be published, I had to get it, even though I live in the states, and a U.S. publisher hasn’t picked up this amazing, only-published in the UK and Australia, novel.
I will admit, it took a bit to get into the writing, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down. Drews has a unique way of writing and I really can’t compare it to anyone else’s. It feels so raw and I can feel her personality in her writing. The characters are so three-dimensional, so wonderfully crafted, and I fell in love with both Beck and August. Their relationship had its flaws, but it was beautiful nonetheless.
This is a short book (and yes, I wish I had more), but so much character development is squished in the 282 pages. Beck really grows as a person, comes into himself, and the decisions he makes at the end feel so right. I usually struggle aligning a character with their endgame decisions, but this worked really well. I could see the obvious jump from where he began to where he got, could understand his choices, and they felt like Beck.
I would also like to say that as a pianist myself, this spoke to me on many levels. Sure, I didn’t relate to Beck’s hatred of it, but I appreciated the words thrown around, the idea of him composing music and how different it is from playing other people’s, and the references to classical musicians.
Lastly, I will point out that this book is not for the faint of heart. I think Drews handled the child abuse well, though. I really felt for Beck, wanted him to be okay, and to admit everything, but I can understand why he didn’t. That isn’t logical character development for someone who went through such torture.
(But really, if that’s something you can’t handle, stay safe and don’t read it.)
Anyway, I recommend this aggressively. Go read this wonderful, heartbreaking novel.
(And can I also just say as someone who saw all of her fantasy Pinterest boards, I expected something with more magic and more swords or dragons? I’m waaaaaaitinggggg.)