Stop what you’re doing drop your coffee and let your cookies in the oven BECAUSE I HAVE IN MY HANDS THE PUBLISHED WORDS OF THE QUEEN OF BLOGGING (and some small planets) CAIT HERLSELF!
My blurb: Beck is a marshmallow boy that’s burnt on the outside since his mom abuses him verbally and physically to play piano. But one day he meets August who probably has her picture near the definition of sunshine in the dictionary and she decides to aggressively become his best friend and love him.
Ok but WOW did I absolutely LOVE this book?? It’s surprising since I don’t have this many emotions in my whole body and this didn’t seem like the type of contemporary that’ll sneak into my heart this much?? WOE IS ME?
Full honesty: I love Cait’s blog. A lot. Obviously. So up front the reason I knew I wanted to read this in the first place was because YEY she’s finally getting a book published so obviously that means mega excitement!! So imagine it was even more screeching in delighted joy then usual when I started reading and found myself completely bombarded with things that make my heart hurt!
So yeah about my tiny non existent heart?…OUCH. I’m clutching it in my cold dead claws because feels right about now. Unnerving since it wasn’t supposed to exist. Yet here I am. When people on the Internet say they cried reading this BELIEVE THEM.
“Chocolate is a substance worth existing for”
The writing! Is so! Good!! It’s descriptive and atmospheric and quirky!! And the dialogue is full of wit that’s just my cup of iced tea SO I LAUGHED SO MUCH!!!! And the format sometimes
AND IT’S GLORIOUS!
It was not overly purple prose-ish or deep enough in pretentiousness to make my brain hurt but also not too light airy and imature. It sounded exactly perfect for Beck’s thought process and the narration was up close and personal so it felt like a clever first person instead of third.
And I can only seem to describe this book with tons of EXCLAMATION MARKS and other joyfully obnoxious punctuation!! I just have so many fEEEEEEELS I have to bake them into a cakeEEEE!!
Speaking of cake: there’s cake. Of course. You are not ruled in by promises of cake that remained unfulfilled. (I mean it’s weird organic half healthy cake….which is exactly my favourite type so I appreciated the stevia)
…oh yeah let’s talk about the characters!
– I WHOLE WHOLEHEARTEDLY WITH MY NON EXISTENT HEART LOVE AUGUST! She is my favourite character. She is in my top favourite characters ever. Beck fell in love with her downright I fell in love with her too! Because cake and stars and dogssss and eating weird food and her small hurricane room and walking barefoot. I can talk about my love for August for forever I think so don’t test me.
August is the type of person that’s so bright she makes you want to wear sunglasses indoors. She forcibly cares about Beck and buys his friendship with brownies and cake and will not let him pout his way out of it.
AND HAVE I MENTIONED SHE OWNS 9 DOGS??? Because awww finally an appropriate amount of dogs in a book. My family too owns numerous dogs! I have 1 on a regular basis and 2 others that live with my grandparents, my uncle has 1…and my dad’s uncle owns 12 at any given time since he rescues them from the streets. Much like August does.
… “What about the protagonist???” huh oh yeah right.
– I loved Beck too!! So much!! And his music and his inner thoughts and my heart hurt for this kid. We’re the same age and I still want to adopt him and wrap him in a blanket (much like August does too I trust she’ll do it for me).
– And his smol murderous sister Joey that wants to smash things. Aww.
Me reading about Joey
joey : I want gumboots!
me : awWWW.
joey : I want a KNIFE!
me : AWWWWW.
Also August and Beck are 15 and I’m 15 (at the time of reading and reviewing the book you know time has a tendency to move on) and wow. I’M NEARING YA PROTAGONIST AGES??? hold me pls. this has never happened before.
– I loved August and Beck and their dorky love! I loved how their relationship started as friendship!! I don’t have a heart for romance but I can always get behind a strong friendship (especially when it was bought with food hahaha ahem pls somebody give me a brownie I’ll be your friend forever). And I liked how August was actually fully prepared to accept it being just a friendship because she actually liked Beck for his pouty gloomy self. It was very mature. And they were hilarious so there’s that.
And the song Ocean Eyes by billie elilish is just perfection for this couple you’re welcome go listen to it
“Music is nothing unless it fills your soul with colour and passion and dreams”
I liked the whole plot too!! I’ve never played piano ergo I’m as musically inclined as a straight wooden pole but I still enjoyed reading ABOUT music! Which is weird and hard to write I imagine because how do you put notes and feelings into words? But it was done beautifully and I could feel the crescendos and the notes huzzah.
The performance anxiety and the music descriptions and Beck’s self loathing broke my heart. As well as the emotional and physical abuse the Maestro inflicted. (again I just wanted to wrap Beck in a fluffy blanket this poor boy). Beck’s thought process was very much affected by the abuse and it was done well even if it was absolutely infuriating because BECK NO YOU’RE GOOD AT THIS AND YOU DON’T DESERVE THIS.
And weird thing: this book has German in it which hah. English and German are the 2 languages I speak aside from my original string of sounds I make on a daily basis so that was weird to see on page pfttt. I’m not that good at German so I should probably stick to English though.
Ok this is already too long LET’S WRAP IT UPPPP before I start listing all the things I liked. Which is almost everything. I have an extensive list. Containing every page of the book.
OVERALL: Wow how dare this book be so good it made me write a mushy feels-y review that is going to ruin my cold hearted lizard reputation??? HIGHLY RECOMMEND if you want a book that’s so sticky it’s gonna stick to your heart!
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?