beautiful and engaging
NIGHT MUSIC is a beautiful YA coming-of-age/romance that brings classical music front and center. Ruby Chertok is the youngest of our children born to musical parents and expected to be equally musical. Ruby desperately wants to live up to the family name, but it does not seem to be in the cards after her failed audition for the high-profile Amberley School of Music. However, Ruby feels the need for purpose- she is just not sure what that purpose is.
It certainly doesn't help that the new music genius, another seventeen-year-old who is already composing, is moving into the basement apartment of the house where Ruby and her father reside so that her father can mentor him even more closely. Ruby feels that her life revolves around music, and it is impossible to get away from it in her house. As the eccentric musician-type, her father assumes Ruby will continue to clean up after him, get food, and make coffee- and Ruby does, without complaint. At the same time, she is getting to know the new prodigy, Oscar Bell, who is dealing with his own problems, including anxiety, composing, and that he is viewed for his race and not for who he actually is.
As Ruby spends time trying to find herself and fit within her eccentric family, we follow not only a fantastic coming-of-age journey but also a beautiful romance. Other major themes are racism and to a lesser extent, mental illness. I would have liked these to be handled in a bigger way, as they are important themes and not fully fleshed out in honor of the primary stories/themes. However, as is, they certainly give pause and can raise critical questions for the YA audience.
I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy YA contemporary romance. Although described as a rom-com, I did not get this feeling from the book and felt that it carried an importance gravitas from which comedy was mostly lacking. However, I loved the book for what it was and think this is an important and beautiful read with a lovely musical back-drop.