Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of A Thousand Perfect Notes by CG Drews. All thoughts are my own and receiving a full copy of the book in no way impacted my opinions.
Release Date: June 7th, 2018
Trigger Warnings: physical abuse, emotional abuse, anxiety, depression, PTSD, lack of food, poverty, major injury, graphic violence
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health
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?
R E V I E W
I was beyond excited to be able to receive an Australian authors debut novel. I absolutely love supporting other Australian’s and if I was still in high school I definitely would have chosen to do an analysis of this book. I mean, it is just so amazing to read a book that is set in Australia. Very rarely do I understand what is happening in the surroundings of books set in America or England. I find myself googling the terrain and weather more times than I can count in order to understand things A Thousand perfect Notes by CG Drews was that perfect feeling of Australia.
I feel that A Thousand Perfect Notes hits the mark of a heartbreaking tale of a passion becoming an obsession. This was honestly one of the best debuts I have read to date and I have no problem recommending it highly. I did have some problems. Mainly that I felt that the romance was a little forced; I would have preferred the two characters simply be friends over what developed. However, that was all good by the end of the novel – without spoiling too much, ha.
A Thousand Perfect Notes follows Beck, a pianist who simply wants his mum to be proud of him. He practices until his fingers bleed and until his whole body hurts. However, he can’t play the tunes his mother used to play as well as she and that results in the hatred she has for him. Beck is virtually alone. The only person who he really talks to is his little sister, who has a habit of being a bit cruel to other kids at her school and swearing at everyone in German. That is until Beck is partnered with August for a school project. She is irritating and won’t leave Beck alone no matter how hard he tries to get her to. Over time a friendship between the pair grows and it allows Beck to feel like maybe, in this world where his mother controls every bit of his life, that he is not alone. That is something I absolutely loved about this book because it was something I have experienced in my own life.
I am truly struggling to put my thoughts and feelings into words to describe this book. I’m not sure I expected it to be as powerful as what I did find it. I was cautious when it came to the representation of abuse in this novel and with how short this novel is I got nervous about how well the topic would be dealt with. I am pleased to say that I found it well done.
L I K E S
✗ ACCURATE REPRESENTATION
I’ve said it a few times in this review and maybe it is a spoiler, but I truly feel the representation of abuser and victim in this book is well done. It was something that allowed you to feel major compassion for the victim and you never felt an ounce of sympathy for the abuser – despite their tragic backstory. The feelings in which Beck felt as well were something I have personally experienced. That helplessness and that feeling of being able to do nothing. The hope of escape is never there and until you find someone who lets you know just how wrong your situation is, a change can’t happen. I just love it so much.
✗ SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS
I think CG Drews mastered the difficulty of a sibling relationship. Things are perfect, especially in an abuse situation. Things are difficult as heck and the siblings will sometimes take it out on each other because that is how you’ve seen the parent treat the other. It is messy and hard and was so well done in this book. I loved that fact Beck felt a loyalty to his sister no matter how badly she treated him and he was so loving to her despite never having been taught what love is.
✗ MUSIC IS SO BEAUTIFULLY WOVEN IN
Now, hear me out, I know nothing about music. I’m serious. The only instrument I was good at was the recorder, and no one likes recorder. So, Beck playing the piano I barely understand it. However, I feel like the music was so wonderfully woven into the storyline. From the emotions that Beck felt towards it, the obsession, and the longing. To the ridged feeling that it would bring him to play, I feel that A Thousand Perfect Notes succeeded in delivering a story that thrived on both passion and obsession of the instrument.
D I S L I K E S
✗ SOME DIALOGUE FELT AWKWARD
I just felt as if some of the exchanges between August and Beck felt forced on the page like they could have happened elsewhere. I’m not sure if this was a technique used by the author but I seriously just wasn’t able to relate or connect to some of the exchanges. It didn’t feel like teenagers at sometimes. It’s difficult to describe, but I just feel like it should have been looked over once more because it was just strange in some places.
✗ OCCASIONAL TIMES WHEN THE WRITING FELL FLAT
This book is short but at some times the story dragged. It felt as if it could have been shortened, which I never say. Simply at times there felt there were many useless scenes, and I will say that I think without the romance between August and Beck this book would have gone a lot smoother and have carried the story through to the end – which means it would have been a five star read.
Overall, I really did enjoy A Thousand Perfect Notes. It allowed me to acknowledge just how far in my own personal recovery I have come. It was also a gut-wrenching story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Abuse is not romanticized in this book and it is shown in such a realistic and graphic way that it will make you sick. I am beyond excited to read more by CG Drews as she furthers her writing career.
Happy reading everyone!
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