A Thousand Perfect Notes Review

In the world of classical music, the Keverichs are famous. Beck Kerverich’s uncle is Germany’s leading composer, whilst his mother was a pianist of great acclaim, until she suffered a career ending stroke. According to his mother, it’s now Beck’s time to shine. Though a cruel mix of bullying and violence, she pushes Beck to become the next great Keverich family pianist. Most days, Beck is miserable; daydreaming of cutting off his own hands so that he can escape his mother’s constant pressure and torment. Then he meets August, a beautiful classmate who wows him with her bubbly nature and unflappable optimism. Can she help Beck to escape both his mother and his sorrow? 

I feel like the last review I wrote was quite negative, so I’ve decided to take a bit more of a lighthearted approach to A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews and begin by listing everything I loved about the book!

  • It’s by a young Australian author. Personally, I love supporting local authors, especially those who are early in their career.
  • ATPN is extremely addictive, I read it in less than 24 hours (generally it takes me at least a few days to finish a book). The book has quite an ominous tone and I was desperate to see what would happen next.
  • It’s got one of the cutest sibling relationships I’ve ever read. Beck’s five year old sister Joey is such a strong, larger than life character, she absolutely leaps off the page with her glitter gumboots, rainbow sweaters, and propensity for biting her fellow preschoolers. Beck, in contrast is more of a wallflower, and it’s interesting seeing their relationship play out. At the beginning of the book, Joey is all that Beck cares about, and through out the story he protects her from his mother with such ferocity.
  • One of the main characters, August, is a vegan and animal lover!! I find it’s actually quite rare to see characters in YA who are vegans or vegetarians; off the top of my head I can only think of one other book (Queens of Geek) that features a main character who doesn’t eat meat. This has always struck me as quite strange, because I’ve grown up surrounded by fellow vegetarians and people who believe in animal rights, so I love that Drews included a meat free character. There’s also a scene in which Beck visits August’s house and can I just say that I would LOVE to live there?! August’s parents are veterinarians and her home is flooded with rescue animals including dogs, cats, a turtle, and even a llama!
  • Despite the primary theme of the book being abuse, it’s also full of light moments and hope. Those who follow Drews on social media will know that she has a wicked and quirky sense of humour, and this comes through clearly in ATPN.
  • I felt that it was an accurate depiction of what it’s like to live in a lower socioeconomic area in Australia. Beck’s high school certainly felt a lot like the one I attended, and his apathetic and hopeless classmates definitely reminded me of some people I grew up with. Though I was confused about why Beck’s family was so poor, given his mother is a university professor? (In Australia, the average professor earns around $175,000 per year). It’s stated that she spent all her savings on Beck’s piano, but that was ten years ago, so I would have expected them to be in a better financial position by now. This is just a minor criticism, but I do feel like the family’s poverty could have been better explained.
  • It’s just so emotional. Drews doesn’t shy away from writing dark scenes featuring abuse, but there are also light fluffy moments where Beck, August and Joey play on swings and eat cupcakes in the sunshine. When I pick up a new book, the number one thing I want is for it to make me feel something. And ATPN definitely succeeded in that regard; it just features such a wide array of emotions.

Overall, I really enjoyed ATPN. It’s addictive, emotional and I couldn’t put it down. Drews is a fresh and exciting voice in Aussie YA and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! My only issue with the book was that I found that August occasionally falls victim to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl stereotype. Despite the fact that she’s probably the most interesting character in the book, August doesn’t really have a story line of her own. At times it seems she only exists for Beck’s sake, there to improve his mental health and save him from his mother. If I were to suggest one change be made to this book, it would be that August gets more page time and that we get to see a side of her that isn’t so bubbly and happy go lucky. That being said, I still adored her character and I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially those who are fans of classical music and contemporary YA. My rating:

four stars


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