Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Christine Hurley Deriso: All The Wrong Chords | Book Review

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher Flux, via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. This review may contain spoilers.

"Before Liam died, nothing was less complicated than feeling happy. Now, nothings more complicated". 

Scarlett Stiles and her family are going through a difficult time after the sudden death of her twenty one year old brother, Liam. How do you prepare to get over the death of your brother? How do you learn to live a normal life again. "I have a feeling the rest of our lives will be divided into Before and After".

Scarlett is desperate for a change of scenery but spending the summer with her grandfather where she can deal with the tragedy whilst also preventing her grandfather from driving due to his declining health wasn't exactly what she had in mind. Luckily for Scarlett, after almost knocking down a bicyclist name Zach and her grandpa taking the wheel again, she soon discovers that Zach is in a local band and he invites Scarlett and her grandpa to one of his shows. 

Throughout the first few chapters of the novel, we begin to understand the cause of Liam's death, whilst learning more about him. "I've been in town long enough now to know that "heart failure" is the Oakboro version of Liam's cause of death, thanks to Grandpa's spin. And technically, it's correct. I mean, when you fatally overdose on drugs, your heart definitely does fail. But it's kinda like blaming kidney failure when someone's been shot to death." Scarlett questions whether her grandfather is embarrassed or ashamed of Liam's drug addiction or if he just doesn't want to face the truth. We also learn that Scarlett and Liam were very close, Liam was in a band and Scarlett actually played in the band after following her brothers footsteps in having a love for music. She lost interest after Liam's death, "one of the hardest things about losing Liam was losing everything about him, losing him wasn't a single loss: It was a million losses, all at the same time."

"I haven't pulled my guitar out of its case since Liam died, and I haven't been able to listen to any of the songs we used to play together", Scarlett remembers on her way to watch the band play, who we soon discover are called the Beastings. It doesn't take long for Scarlett to notice the 'hot' and 'gorgeous' lead singer of the band called Declan, who she can't take her eyes off. Scarlett isn't one to fall in love with boys but the one time that she does, of course he is more interested in her sister. Declan learns that Sara plays the keyboard and invites her to join the band before being turned down as she is only staying at Grandpa's for the weekend. Instead, she explains how Scarlett plays the guitar and states how she should hang out with the band at some point. 

Whilst reading further into the novel, we soon learn that Declan is the stereotypical 'player' who isn't interested in any one girl but instead likes to lead a dozen on at one time. It is frustrating as a reader, because we know that Declan isn't right for Scarlett but she can't resist chasing him and trying to win him over. You are almost resisting to scream at Scarlett to look around because it is so clear that an almost perfect guy is standing right beside her, but she is too blind to see. Zach is an absolute gentlemen but she is too engrossed in Declan to even notice Zach.

I do think that this book is relatively predictable, from about a quarter into the book we all know that Scarlett will end up going for Zach instead of continuing to fall head over heels for Declan. Having said that, I do think that the journey and storyline to reach this point was fun, emotive and entertaining. We learn a lot about Scarlett's grief and we can almost relate and empathise with her, in what shes going for. She manages to become part of the band and she realises that she is still able to have fun, she learns a lot about herself and even more about her brother, who she thought she knew everything about. We experience all of the ups and downs with her. She learns to live again, whilst promising to herself to never forget Liam and all that he taught her; which heavily influences who she is today. She finally reveals the truth about Declan and follows her heart to find the right person. She also realises that she isn't alone with her grief and that there are so many people around her experiencing similar things.

"Maybe everyone needs one Declan in their past to make them appreciate the Zachs in their present.

And their future.
That's what I'm banking on."

Overall, I really do like this book and would recommend giving it a read, it isn't tedious at all and I was so sad when it came to an end. I think that it is different from the average good boy/bad boy drama and is a lovely romance contribution to the Young Adult genre. I think that it explains grief extremely well and addresses how teenagers can feel when placed in these difficult situations. One thing that I did find hard was that the time shifts very suddenly and I often found myself having to re read lines to realise that time has changed. I rate this book three and a half stars out of five and am pleased that I was able to give this book a read. Its also worth noting that I really like the title of this novel, I think it is really clever and so fitting with the story-line.

This book will be published on December 12th 2017 and includes 280 pages, divides into twenty-seven chapters. Will you be picking up this novel? Have you read it? What do you think?

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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