Review Detail

Better Than This Featured
Young Adult Fiction 697
Brilliant, heartbreaking story about triumph over adversity
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
The story:

Samantha “Sam” Becker wants only one thing – to go to Juilliard. She’s a veritable prodigy with the guitar, a fact that everyone who’s ever heard her play is entranced by her ability. But she is trapped in a house with an alcoholic mother and a domineering father who has her life completely planned out … a life that doesn’t include any ‘pipe dreams’ such as music.


What I loved:

Let’s start with the beginning, where Sam’s father ‘accidentally’ chops off her fretting finger. Right away, I felt her pain, and the ensuing struggle for her to relearn her instrument of choice. Just when all seems lost, she meets Tad, the twelve-year-old boy who lives next door. He was easily my favorite supporting character, though college student Laird ran a close second. Both of these guys were exactly what Sam needed to keep going.


What I didn’t love:

I realize conflict is what drives drama, and drama is what drives fiction, but my gosh, this book had a lot of it. Seriously, the lengths her father went to in order to crush his own daughter’s dreams was beyond despicable, to say nothing of Sam’s bandmates attempts to use her ‘disability’ to further their own goals. I understand that this book was released several years ago under a different title, and yet, I found numerous typos that should probably have been caught.


My Final Verdict:

Better Than This is a great story about crashing through ever wall that life throws in your way. It goes from heartbreaking to heart-warming numerous times over the course of the book, and I’m happy to say, it pained me to set it down before I reached the end.
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