Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews

Posted 15 May, 2018 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 28 Comments

*I received a free copy of A Thousand Perfect Notes from Orchard Books via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. DrewsA Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Published by Orchard Books on 7 June 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 300
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
5 Stars

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Contemporary - (un)Conventional Bookviews

A Thousand Perfect Notes is such a dark tale, where, at the beginning, there seems to be no hope. Then August enters Beck’s life and shows him that there is more. And wanting more can be dangerous…

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews


While there is definitely a lot of darkness in A Thousand Perfect Notes – especially for Beck – there is also music, love, tenderness, and a tiny slice of hope. Because of health problems, Beck’s mother had to stop playing the piano. And so, she put all of her own hopes and dreams on her son. She fled the continent and installed her little family of tree – plus an extravagant piano – at the opposite side of the world.

Because Beck’s mother could only deal with perfection, and because she wanted Beck to become what she had once been, A Thousand Perfect Notes takes more than one heart-achingly dark turn. While Beck is a virtuoso on the piano, it’s never good enough for his mom. And she holds nothing back when it comes to making him the very best. Threats. Beatings. Withholding food. And Beck does what he can to keep her calm. Especially when he understands that he also needs to protect his little sister.

A Thousand Perfect Notes also resonated with me on a personal level. I played the piano and the trumpet when I was younger – and my father was hard to please. I was the youngest soloist in the orchestra I played in, and my father only heard the one false note I played. Of course, wasn’t abused in any way, but the way Beck was never able to live up to his mother’s expectations still touched me deeply.

When August enters Beck’s life, he does what he can to keep her at arm’s length. But she refuses to stay there, and opens the door broadly so she can enter not only his life, but also his heart and his thoughts. And that’s how Beck finally understands that there could be more to life than playing the piano for hours, being hungry, and trying to please his mother.

If you are searching for a different YA story, search no more – pick up A Thousand Perfect Notes and prepared to be utterly shattered.


Beck is a prodigy piano player, but his life is filled with abuse, hardship, and feelings of being unwelcome everywhere he goes.

August has a happy, sunny disposition, and that is much needed in Beck’s life. And August is adamant to bring him some light.

The Maestro is Beck’s mother. And she will not win any mother of the year awards. Ever. She is everything readers will hate in a parent, and the lengths to which she will go to make Beck the perfect image of herself are frightening.

Joey is Beck’s little sister, and she is sweet, innocent, and in danger.

Writing style :

A Thousand Perfect Notes is written in third person point of view, present tense. This really made me feel like I was in the story with Beck, and it broke my heart! There are both dialogues and descriptions, and Beck’s inner thoughts show so much anguish it was almost unbearable at times.

Feels :

Oh my feels! Drews killed my feels – but in such a good way! I felt every note, every fear, every aspect of the abuse Beck suffered…

Fave Quotes - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Did he even sleep last night? His wrists ache like he’s been juggling blocks of cement. Did he quite at eleven? Midnight? His fingers moan, it was midnight, you fool.

He dreams of utter silence – so then the tiny kernel of music inside him could be coaxed to life. It’s unbelievably noisy in his head, noisy with songs of his own creations. But since the Maestro will have none of it, it stays locked away. 

He has an entire folder of études to learn, and not just any études but the ones the Maestro grew up performing to international acclaim.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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28 responses to “Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews

  1. Ailyn Koay

    Oh that is such a sad tale, I am not sure i would be reading this … I totally understand how he feels and I wouldn’t be able to curse his mother (even though she is fictitious, a lot of people I know have mother’s like that)

  2. I’m always a bit careful with picking up YA contemporaries because I’m not enjoying the genre much lately but I have high hopes for this one since you say it’s a different YA story. It does sounds amazig!

  3. This genre is far from what I normally read but I’m tempted to give it ago as I love Cait’s blog and so far I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book.

  4. Sounds like a beautifully written book. I’ve always been a big fan of YA Contemporary, and sometimes the “sadder” books are my most favorite. I am really excited about this book, because Cait is awesome and I hope that this does really well for her!!


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