Title : A Thousand Perfect Notes
Author : C.G. Drews
Genre : YA Fiction
Publisher : Orchard Books, Hachette Children’s Group in June 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?
This was a very quick read for me, its a pretty slim book and I practically tore through it. There was so much emotion contained within these pages. I became quite attached to these characters very quickly. The main character, Beck, is very much a product of the abusive environment he lives in, he pushes everyone away because of the fear and insecurity his horrifying mother has beaten into him, however seeing his protective love for his little sister made me immediately root for him and desperately want his situation to improve. This book is so beautifully and powerfully written. The author has created multi-faceted characters that were burned into my mind. The running theme of music as both the tool of Beck’s oppression and his release is extremely effective. The reader does not have to understand the obsession with classical music because anyone can understand passion and extremes which is the real issue here.
This is not always a pleasant book to read. There are some truly horrible scenes and my heart absolutely broke for Beck and his sister, Joey. In some ways, it reminded me of another book I recently read which was Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. It also affected me deeply. The stories are not particularly similar but the emotion and devastation I felt whilst reading them was the same. I think A Thousand Perfect Notes is such an important read for young adults, it speaks volumes about how difficult getting out of an abusive situation can be and how friendship, or even simply kindness can change everything for someone.
Despite the intensity and sadness of the characters situation there are also moments of hope and light contained within this story. I thought the relationship between Beck and August was beautifully written. She is the tough and idealistic force of good that enters his life unexpectedly and changes everything for him but it never feels cliché or predictable. Their relationship is subtle and careful but also powerful and optimistic.
Overall I loved this novel, I did not want it to end and could have read so much more about these characters. I became very emotional reading A Thousand Perfect Notes and I cried several times during it, which is something I do not often do whilst reading. It is a powerful story that is written in a direct and sensitive manner. I will be looking forward to any further work from this new to me author. I would really recommend this book to anyone but especially young people who are struggling under any kind of pressure.
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The cover image and summary are from Goodreads.