#YA #Contemporary Review: Broken Strings by Maria Farrer

Broken Strings

Series : N/A

Publisher :Scholastic Australia

Source : Publicist Provided for review

Release Date : March 6th 2014


It is the story of a brilliant young violinist, her determination and struggle to achieve her dreams and the discovery that she is at the center of an extraordinary secret that has pulled apart her family for two generations. Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart.

Tash M

The Broken Strings was sitting on my desk for ages and I finally decided to read this book as I wanted something different from a contemporary YA book. Jess is a musical prodigy who is on the cups of achieving her dream to go to a prestige music school. However she has stage fright and she fails at her audition. Little does she know this is the start of a journey that will take her to surprising places.

Jess only cares about getting into that school and now her dreams are dashed she thinks until she offered something she never thought she would received. Her grandmother who she never thought she existed offers her to pay and give her the opportunity she craves. Without backwards glance to her parents wants and more engrossed with her own wants and needs. She escapes and goes to London hoping for a better future. Her parents are obviously against this and her father offers her a choice come home or be unwelcome like her grandmother. And here where it starts to unravel for Jess, she does’t care about the choice, she more worried about Stefan as he has no clue where she is now. Talk about selfish and this how Jess acts for most of the book.

I don’t know what to say. As someone who played an instrument younger and   grew up with people who have taken it further with a chosen instrument. I found her to be fake and whinny little brat. Jess doesn’t try her best on her own steam to get what she wants. She runs off to her grandmother who she never met but offers everything she wants. Her grandmother is more driven than her to help her achieve what she wants. And what is that ?

She has reached the highest level in violin so what does she want to do to take it the next level , become a first chair in a world-renowned orchestra or one-off the other possibilities out there. However this push to the background as the many issue is the love triangle and how it goes back and forth between them for most of the book. Jess doesn’t want to follow what her grandmother sets out for her . She wants to have fun because in her opinion her grandmother plan sucks and is hard.

It a weird one , she has a crush on Stefan who is her accompanist, the boy she left behind but when she reaches London she gets entangled with older guy and it becomes this weird YA/NA mismatch story. She torn between these two , the older guy Charlie who is 23 and Stefan the teenager boy who has always been there for her. Stefan is her accompanist and plays an important role in this novel. Her teen love interest, Jess last tie to back home, and she concern that she wrecked anything potentially happening with him.

Only in a purely self-interested way though, she fancies being in love with him and but then there is Charlie willing to risk his job and offers her exciting and unknown. I don’t know what make of this contemporary music love story the end.   The older characters such her grandmother and Mr Riche and to extent Stefan are the redeeming features of this story otherwise it would be definitely a two stars read for me. As I wanted to shake Jess and some of the other characters by the end and ask them what they were thinking.

That why I give it 3 stars.


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