A Thousand Perfect Notes
Rating: 5/5
Buy/Borrow: Buy
Source: Proof courtesy of Team BKMRK (Published 7th June 2018)

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?

Thrilling and powerfully written, this is an explosive debut for YA readers which tackles the dark topic of domestic abuse in an ultimately hopeful tale.

Firstly, I just want to thank Team BKRMK for this proof. I had no idea I was receiving one, so it was such a lovely surprise when I came home yesterday and found it on my doorstep. I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I didn't read the press release, I tried to avoid any spoilers on the cover - as I say frequently, sometimes going into a book blind makes it all the more exciting. And boy, was there a lot to be excited about.

Before you read any more of this review, I want to give some trigger warnings. Abuse is a huge part in this story, and it does not shy away from graphic, intense scenes. If this is something you're triggered by, please click off of this review now. Also, although mental health isn't discussed, in my opinion, it's effects are touched upon a lot.

The story focuses on 15 year old Beck. Beck lives with his little sister, Joey and his mother - but we'll call her "the Maestro". Beck comes from a line of extremely talented pianists, and as his mum is no longer able to play (due to having a stroke), it's down to Beck to follow in her footsteps.

Beck hates music. If there's anything he's passionate about, it's his hatred of the piano. Playing until his hands bleed, until his fingers are numb, is something he is far too familiar with. He is not allowed to socialise, to have friends, to have anything besides a devoted life of piano playing. And then he meets August...

August is everything his home life isn't. She's bubbly, fun, full of life and love for Beck. She offers him something he didn't know existed in his life: hope.

I don't want to say much more about the plot than that, because I think you should join Beck on his journey, with as little information as possible and make the same discoveries and decisions when he does.

I'll be honest, there were parts of this book that completely horrified me. I've read many YA books involving abuse, but never one that felt so real. Tears were shed throughout the book, many times. As I mentioned earlier, the scenes are very hard-hitting and the author does not shy away from showing how brutal, abuse really is.

A character I related to the most, rather unexpectedly, was Joey - Beck's 5 year old little sister. Growing up, my childhood was very similar to Joey's. Watching someone you love get abused is utterly Earth-shattering, but she has the most beautiful bond with her brother because of it. And that bond reminded me of me, my mum and my sister.

One last thing I must mention is Beck's character development. I don't want to say how he develops, but it is done so beautifully. It's realistic, it's gradual, it's believable - and most importantly? It's everything the reader wants, and more. When I read the last page of the book, I could barely see through tear-filled, blurry eyes. What I found most fascinating about Beck's character, is the way that you could almost feel his mental health improving with every page that you read. He truly was shattered at the beginning, unable to locate pieces of himself - but with each page, he was finding a new piece and gluing himself back together.

As the front cover says, this is most definitely an explosive YA debut and has released me, well and truly, from my reading slump. What an incredible book, truly magnificent - and it's fantastic to see YA discussing issues it seems to have shied away from in recent years.

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