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?
I honestly can’t even begin to express how much I loved A Thousand Perfect Notes. I knew Cait was going to rip out my heart before I even turned the first page, but I severely underestimated just how painful that would be. This book had me sobbing, smiling through my tears, and then staring blankly at a wall for 43 minutes afterwards because the thought of having to go back to my life after reading something like that was too difficult to fathom. A Thousand Perfect Notes was one of my most anticipated books of 2018, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Cait has warned us many a time that she is planning for world domination, and she’s gotten there—evidenced by the fact that I’m not sure how I’m going to get through the next year waiting for her second release. She owns my soul now. I’m not even mad about that.
Most of us know Cait AKA Paper Fury from her hilarious tweets, even funnier blog posts, and bookstagram photos that are so beautiful they bring a tear to my eye each time I double-tap. She really is the blogging queen, and we’re lucky to claim her as our own here in Australia. But from a person that has gained that title through making people laugh, A Thousand Perfect Notes is far more of a raw, heart-wrenching read than I was expecting. Sure, we also had mentions of chocolate and cake (which everyone knows is the diet of immortal beings, like Cait), and there were some pretty great one-liners, I felt personally victimised by the way this book made me feel. This novel was one that I just flew through, each page breaking my heart a little more than the one prior. I’m just still so heartbroken. I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same again.
“You are worth more than a thousand perfect notes.” – C.G. Drews
A Thousand Perfect Notes is, after all, a book about abuse. It’s about a boy who has music within him, but who’s forced to bury that creativity by methodically and rigorously practicing carefully-measured quavers, hour after hour, day after day, to appease his once-famous pianist mother—the Maestro. Seeing Beck suffer through that abuse broke my heart, and I honestly just wanted to hug him and never let go. His pain and yearning to play the music that was in his heart was almost palpable; it was almost as if there was music floating right off the pages and enveloping me. The writing was just exquisite. Cait captured the pain and suffering that Beck was feeling and weaved it into a work of art that was equally raw and beautiful. Her novel really is perfect.
The relationship between Beck and his younger sister, Joey, was undoubtably my favourite aspect of this novel. Despite having such a tormented life, Beck didn’t let the control that the Maestro had over him to affect his relationship with his sister or warp him into an angry, cold husk of a human—a monster of his mother’s creation. Instead, his heart was filled with love and hope, and he so desperately wanted to protect his sister from the Maestro and make sure she didn’t suffer the same fate as him. Their bond felt so vivid, and I just adored Joey’s presence. She was like a ray of sunshine on the pages that helped bring out Beck’s smile, and I loved the strong love they had for one another. Joey is too precious for this world.
“Music is nothing unless it fills your soul with colour and passion and dreams.” – C.G. Drews
And then there was August—a girl who loved cake and didn’t take no for an answer. She was like breath of fresh air in Beck’s life, reminding him that there was a world outside his piano practice and the possibility of happiness when he wasn’t around the Maestro. I absolutely loved watching their relationship grow from a reluctant partnership for a school project, to friends, to something more. August was just such a vibrant character who was so full of life, almost a complete contract to Beck in the beginning, and it was amazing to see her light slowly seep into Beck. August and Beck’s relationship truly is a testament to the importance of friendship and how we always need someone who believes in us, especially in the times that we don’t.
Ultimately, A Thousand Perfect Notes was a stunning, heart-wrenching read that needs to be on your TBR. It’s a book about music, friendship, passion, and above all, hope. With characters that seem to step right off the pages and a story that will demand you devour it all in one sitting (much like a, irresistible, mouth-watering slice of cake), A Thousand Perfect Notes is sure to tug at your heartstrings and induce all the feels. Cait’s debut novel is definitely one not to be missed.
Have you read A Thousand Perfect Notes yet? Is it on your TBR? Let’s talk all about this incredible novel!
Thanks to Date a Book and C.G. Drews for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.