A lovely, if tragic book. Beth grows up ridiculed and alone; the only place she fits in is choir, where she can sing with her amazing voice. On a choir competition trip to Switzerland, she meets this charming, charismatic boy (Derek) from one of the best youth choirs in the world. Their ensuing romance is heady, sweet, and lush, though Morrison deftly weaves in red flags throughout. Derek holds Beth at a distance, despite his proclaimed (and obvious) love for her. He’s a little overbearing. He lies about things. A very realistic love triangle develops between Beth, Scott (Beth’s best friend and wannabe romantic partner), and Derek. Morrison ratchets up the tension and the questions until you can’t hardly bear to NOT skip ahead and peek to see what Derek is hiding, and she drops the bomb so skillfully it darn near tears your heart out.
Warning: this book will likely make you cry. (Books almost never make me cry, but this one did.)
Certain aspects of this book felt a bit more mature than the age level of the characters (would a 17 year old girl really be obsessing about children?), but the truth and honesty of her portrayal of musical artists — people who MUST sing because it’s in their soul — more than made up for the eyebrow-raising moments.
Morrison does a lovely job with the resolution, showing the tragedy in all its detail and yet giving us a careful hope for the future. A beautiful book about first love, loss, and the ties of music that thread through our lives. Excellent for young adult readers interested in a music themed read, or adults wanting a simpler love story.