Title: A Thousand Perfect Notes
Author: C. G. Drews
Publication Date: June 7th 2018
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
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?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review!
Trigger warning for child abuse.
A Thousand Perfect Notes is a heart-wrenching story about family, music and unlikely friendships that tugs on all the (piano) strings.
From the very first page, you sense something is not quite right in the Keverich household since Beck addresses his mother as the Maestro. But nothing can really prepare you for what follows, for the abuse Beck and Joey suffer at the hands of the one person who is supposed to love and cherish them. Everything Beck does – playing the same piano pieces day after day for excruciating periods of time – he does so Joey never has to sit before a piano and be subject to the Maestro’s wrath.
The sibling relationship in this book is so pure. For the most part, Beck is a silent and brooding character but, in the presence of his five year old sister, Beethoven Keverich becomes incredibly soft. He always encourages her to pursue her ambition as a chef and walks her to school and every single one of their interactions really melted my heart.
Undoubtedly, what makes this story so worthwhile is the characters. Not only do you have the annoying but loveable Joey who will occasionally swear at you in German, but Beck reluctantly forms an alliance with the vibrant and carefree August who likes drinking dandelion lattes and is allergic to wearing shoes. The sibling relationship in this story really was everything, but it was the banter between August and Beck that resulted in many laugh out loud moments that eased all the difficult parts. And, in contrast to the Maestro, the small appearances from August’s parents and Uncle Jan really restore your faith in humanity.
Overall, this is a fast-paced story that is full of both darkness and sunshine. I liked how the Maestro’s abuse was never excused for at any point in the novel, even though we are told about the stroke which renders her incapable of playing the piano. On the occasion that we do see the vulnerable side to her monstrousness, we can hardly feel sorry after witnessing the horror that unfolds behind closed doors. The balance between the light and dark moments is as perfect as a thousand notes.