TW: mental and physical abuse, parental neglect.A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Published by Orchard Books on June 7, 2018
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
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?
He wouldn’t be kissable. He’s piano keys and crumpled music trapped in his soul. Not kissable. Kickable.
Excuse me while I go bawl my eyes out. This book just tore open my soul. I haven’t wanted so badly to protect and take care of a fictional character in a long, LONG time. Let me try to put all these feelings into words.
A Thousand Perfect Notes is for anyone who needs a story of hope in darkness, of relief from oppression, of happiness out of pain and sorrow. Not being melodramatic, either. Beck’s story is one of the harshest I’ve read in the YA genre, and the first I’ve felt it really necessary to post a Trigger Warning for. My heart was bleeding by the time I finished, and trust me – I tore through this book in about two and a half hours. I was just so desperate to see what happened to him!
Beck is not perfect. He sometimes acts in ways that perhaps are not the epitome of kindness and definitely not politeness. But he carries so much pain…mental, physical, emotional. And on top of all that he is ALWAYS HUNGRY. It kills me to think of anyone being really, truly hungry – not just the hangry we all like to joke about when our regular mealtime gets off kilter, but honest-to-god hungry because there isn’t enough food and nowhere except maybe the trash to get it. All my mama bear instincts just want to go on a rampage for the person who would do this to their children.
If people cut him open, they’d never accuse him of being empty. He’s not a shell of a pianist – he’s a composer. Cut his chest and see his heart beat with a song all his own.
Part of the conflict is that while Beck’s mother uses music to contribute to his abuse, Beck has his own musical talent inside him – one that she belittles and says is worthless, but that is desperate to break out of him.
Then there is Joey. Wild, free spirited, painful Joey, the little sister that Beck would do anything for – be anything for – if it meant being able to protect her. Regardless of the personal cost to himself. He sees himself as weak for being unable to stop his mother’s abuse.
The Maestro – Beck’s mother – is a loathsome, vile person. I had such a deep anger boiling in me towards her at the end of the book, I wanted to reach through the pages and physically rescue Beck and Joey myself. Perhaps tripping the Maestro down a very tall flight of stairs in the process. Sadly, while she may SEEM to be a bit over the top, there are far too many people just like her, and even more who are willing to inflict the kind of emotional and mental abuse she deals out to Beck, without necessarily the physical.
August is amazing. While I can see many of the typical “manic pixie girl” characteristics in her, she is still very much her own little quirky self. I loved the repartee between her and her parents, who are awesome in their own right. Yay for having a healthy, loving family to contrast Beck’s horrible mother with!
The ending was satisfying, but still heartbreaking. I am very upset that there is not a sequel planned. 🙁
This might be the most incoherent review I’ve written yet, I’m just so in my feelings about these characters.
If you really enjoyed reading and would like to show your support for future content and help keep the blog running (my goal is to make the blog self-supporting), consider using the affiliate links on this page to buy your next book, or donate to the blog using one of the links below!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: