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Review of A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

by - February 28, 2018

Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 300
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: 07/06/2018
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(Received from NetGalley for 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?

I was ridiculously tempted to just review this book via copy and pasting every beautiful, quote-worthy section of it that I highlighted (on my kindle, I'm not a heathen), but that would be over 60% and probably copyright theft so I'll have to resort to banging on the keyboard for several paragraphs instead.

This is one of those beautiful, precious, rare books that is just so perfect in every single way the only thing you considering doing when you close the final page is to open the first one and read it all over again. There were so many heart wrenching moments and every. single. character. felt real, in that imperfect, messy, human way.

The message of this book is obvious - sometimes you have to save yourself. It takes the manic pixie dream girl trope and makes it completely and utterly human, showing that just because the girl you meet is made of smiles, sunshine, and rainbows and draws on her legs in a multitude of coloured Sharpies doesn't mean that she's the one that will save you. She has her own problems to deal with.

"He hates how innocent her face is, how her lips are twisted in a quiet smile, how her breath puffs in globes of cold white. He hates it because she is hope and tomorrow and he is goodbye and the end."

Beck wakes up every morning to the sight of the very thing he hates - the piano that's likely worth more than his entire house and he knows that if he doesn't start playing within minutes he'll bring the wrath of the Maestro down on him - his mother. I never realised this separation from the parental term until writing this review but it really shows just how little of a true relationship they have.

This is a story of piano playing, German and abuse. The abuse is horrific, made stifling by how small Beck's house feels. Beck feels pathetic for not standing up to this towering figure but he wanted to protect his little sister. Every time Beck hit a wrong note on that stupid piano I swear I stopped breathing, waiting for what was coming next.

"She's going to see how bare the house is. How bleak. They don't own much, just useful furniture and filing cabinets of music. No decorations. His family collects bruises and German insults instead of crockery and photo frames."

August is our manic pixie dream girl - except - she isn't. She's a fully rounded character, a hippy girl that kicks boys who harm animals, draws rainbows on her legs and walks home barefoot to her veterinary parents and her home full of dogs, cats and pretty sure I heard rumours of a llama. She has actual, real, parents with fully rounded personalities and lasagne and I really wanted to find their lost table and join for dinner. I both loved her and wanted to be her, absolutely one of my favourite characters.

The ending absolutely stabbed me in the heart because it hits you without warning when you read that final line. I wasn't the only reader desperately hitting "next page" on my Kindle and I'm pretty sure I left a dent. It's almost impossible to believe that this is a debut novel and if the author's books continue to be this good, she's going to dominate the YA market. And rightly so.

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  1. please spoil the ending. It is happy or sad?


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