Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

All Our Pretty Songs
The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Kat's Review
I can't decide if this book is genius or a great YA book that goes off the rails. I kind of wish it wasn't a trilogy, because I think the way the book ends would make it a great stand alone. I also kind of wish the paranormal/supernatural element was left out, because this could be a great gritty tale about love, privilege, excess, and the spiral into self-loathing and drug addiction. And in some ways, it is, but there's this whole other element thrown in that confused the storyline and made it difficult to follow, particularly near the end.
I was pulled into the novel right from the start, into the lives of these two best friends who have known each other from birth and share a love of music and rebelliousness. The differences in their individual home lives becomes evident as the story goes on one, and the reader becomes aware of the differences that weren't so apparent in the beginning. Then along comes Jack, the mysterious man who is more than what he seems, and things fly off the rails.
This is around where the book gets a bit weird for me. At first I think that all the weird creatures are the result of a drug induced haze, and I'm still not entirely certain that it's not, but it left me wondering exactly what was going on. I don't know if this explanation is making any sense, but to be honest, this is the way I felt after finishing the book. Enthralled, but not really sure what I had just consumed.
Kat's Rating: A Good Read
Even though I'm not sure how I feel about the novel now that I'm finished reading it, I do know that it's different from most of what's available in the YA market right now, and that alone makes it worth a read. It's certainly gritty in parts, but it's imaginative, and passionate, and managed to suck me in and want to read right up until the end. Even if I'm still not sure exactly what I read.

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