Featured Review: Night Music (Jenn Marie Thorne)
About This Book:
A romantic comedy that sweeps you up with breezy writing and canny social commentary, set behind the scenes of the classical music world during one hot, anything-can-happen, New York City summer
Ruby has always been Ruby Chertok future classical pianist, heir to the Chertok family legacy, daughter of renowned composer Martin Chertok. But after bungling her audition for the prestigious Amberley School of Music--where her father is on faculty--Ruby is suddenly just . . . Ruby. And who is that again? All she knows is that she wants out of the orbit of her relentlessly impressive family, and away from the world of classical music for good. Yes? Yes.
Oscar is a wunderkind, a musical genius. Just ask any of the 1.8 million people who've watched him conduct his own compositions on YouTube--or hey, just ask Oscar. But while he might be the type who'd name himself when asked about his favorite composer and somehow make you love him more for it, Oscar is not the type to jeopardize his chance to study under the great Martin Chertok--not for a crush. He's all too aware of how the ultra-privileged, ultra-white world of classical music might interpret a black guy like him falling for his benefactor's white daughter. Right? Right.
But as the New York City summer heats up, so does the spark between Ruby and Oscar. Soon their connection crackles with the same alive, uncontainable energy as the city itself. But can two people still figuring themselves out figure out how to be together? Or will the world make the choice for them?
*Review Contributed By Olivia Farr Staff Reviewer*
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.
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