©2019 by Alisa Williams

  • Alisa Williams

Book Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes



A Thousand Perfect Notes

Written by C.G. Drews

Orchard Books / Hachette Book Group, 2018

Buy Now on Amazon: Paperback | Kindle

I’m a fairly new convert to the C.G. Drews (a.k.a. PaperFury) school of bookish musings. I follow her on Twitter and retweet just about everything she writes because she keeps describing my life in disturbingly exquisite detail, from the struggle for coherent words to a rabid obsession with cake. Seriously, I sometimes think she’s hiding under my bed.

I had never visited her blog or Instagram before so I didn’t really know what to expect from her book, A Thousand Perfect Notes, published last month (June 2018). I figured it would be funny. Well, it was! She has this witty but totally believable banter between the characters and it’s great. But the book was also heartbreaking – seriously, my heart is SHATTERED beyond repair which I think was her goal? Like, GOOD JOB BUT I’M BROKEN NOW, THANKS.

The story centers on 15-year-old Beck Keverich, whose mom was a famous pianist before she suffered a stroke that left her with shaking hands unable to make music anymore. She’s fueled her anger and self-hatred into making Beck the best pianist in the world so he can carry on the family legacy, but she’s physically and emotionally abusive. He’s forced to practice for hours on end and she hits him for even the most minor of errors. He’s not allowed friends, he’s forced to miss school for performances, and doesn’t have time to do homework because he’s always practicing, so his grades are terrible and his teachers either don’t care or assume he’s lazy. He’s miserable and hates playing the etudes that were her legacy.

BUT. But…he loves composing. He has beautiful notes and melodies dancing in his head and he yearns to write and play his own music. Enter August, a girl from school who starts to pull Beck out of his misery and show him that life isn’t all despair and heartache. That there can be beauty and light and…maybe even love (?!)… mixed in with the pain.

I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil anything about this fantastic book (THAT WILL WRECK YOU) and that you should totally read (EVEN THOUGH YOU WILL END UP SOBBING ON THE FLOOR).

But I do just want to add how important it is that stories like this exist in the world, in the hands of teens (and adults). Because so many kids are dealing with abuse in their lives and feel how Beck does – that it will never end, that they’ll never be free, that good and love and kindness are reserved for others but definitely not for them – and so I’m just so grateful authors like Drews are out there to write stories that the kids who are going through this (and the adults who survived it) can have that represent them and help them heal and give them hope. And of course that others can read too, so that they can maybe understand just a little bit better.

So, now, after reading C.G. Drews’ book, I have become slightly obsessed (not in a creepy way though, I promise) and her blog and Insta are my new favorite things and I may have spent like a whole day on those because I needed more of her writing and then I saw her next book is coming out in April 2019 and so of course I will be preordering that as soon as it’s available. In closing, go read A Thousand Perfect Notes, and then eat lots of cake to feel better after it completely destroys you.

Alisa Williams is the managing editor of SpectrumMagazine.org. She blogs at alisawilliamswrites.com and tweets at @AWWritesStories.

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