Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction Publication.Date February 11th 2014 Pages: 352 Published By: Cedar Fort Author Sarah Beard Porcelain Keys on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Aria's life is full of secrets--secrets about her mother's death, her father's cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart's melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.
Another step closer. Too close. I guessed he was right around the corner of the cabinet. If I moved a fraction of an inch, he would hear me. My muscles cramped up from being tense for so long, but I couldn’t release them without being discovered. I heard one more step, then my stomach contracted as someone stepped into my line of vision.
It wasn’t Dad.
It was a boy, tall with dark, tousled hair. His back was to me, but a moment later he turned to face me and his eyes locked with mine. The look of surprise I expected to see was strangely absent. Instead, his expression seemed to say, Oh, there you are.
I sat on my bed and unzipped my backpack, then pulled out the Rachmaninoff book I'd picked up on my way home from school. I slid it inside my binder to use as a cover, then leaned against the wall and browsed the pieces. I found the most difficult one, with abundant sharps and flats, tightly stacked notes, and an array of dynamics. Determined to learn it, I took a pencil and began making fingering notations, all the while planning how I would avoid Thomas Ashby the next day.
Everything that morning was sweet. The golden light, the still water, and - sweetest of all - Thomas Ashby sitting three feet away, glowing warmer than the morning sun.
Aria's mother is dead. She lives with her father, who is battling his own deamons and is far from being a reliable parent. Aria's lonely, often even scared for her safety, lost. She dreams of moving away from home and starting over. But there are secrets in her past, secrets involving her mother's death and her father's descent into alcoholism, secrets she needs to deal with before she can ever truly be free. And it will take the healing power of love to give her the strength to tackle them.
Porcelain Keys is a beautifully written, lyrical tale of love, healing power of music, grief, broken trust, redemption, staying true to yourself and following your dreams. Crafted with care and passion, it's a very emotional story that pulls on your heartstrings and fills your soul with gently flowing melody. Sarah Beard weaves together a mesmerizing, gut-wrenching family drama, captivating mystery and heartbreaking love story, and she enriches it further with themes of music and art. The result is breathtaking. I absolutely loved every second of this book. I wouldn't call it a quick, breeze-through kind of read, but it was certainly a completely absorbing, intensely moving one.
The character development was simply phenomenal. I loved Aria. I thought she was a brilliant, realistically drawn and fresh character. Her emtions were real, and it didn't take long for me to connect with her. I appreciated her vibrant personality and quiet strength of character. She was a very sensitive person - one that would feel more than other people in her life, and possibly understand more, too - but she wasn't weak or whiny. She never gave up on her dreams, she was persistent and not afraid to take risks. Life was never easy on her, but every time she'd fall down, she'd pick herself up, dust herself off and try to move on. I admired that about her.
Thomas' character was a fantastic one, too, and his presence in the story - and in Aria's life - was crucial. He was a very positive, caring and warm type of person, and it's thanks to him Aria opened up and stood up to her dad. He was her cataclyst and her island of peace. At the same time, though, I really loved that their relationship wasn't rushed. They were obviously curious about each other and attracted to one another from the very beginning, but there was also a certain amount of hesitation and shyness involved. Uncertainty. The build up was pleasantly slow and therefore more realistic than in a typical YA novel. I personally loved that about this book!
While the story centres around Aria and Thomas' relationship and the way these two slowly opened up and healed each other, there are other, very important themes tackled in this book as well, including (but not limited to) physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, loss, grief and violence. The plot line is layered with important messages, insightful observations and eye-opening moments of clarity. It's a very emotional read, but also smart and powerful one, and I'm certain that you'll be reeling from it for a very long time. It's definitely not a cliched boy-meets-girl book, no, Porcelain Keys is highly original, deeply atmospheric and profoundly meaningful. And it's not a book you'll read, put down and forget about, but one that will stay with you. One you'll want to get back to time and time again.
This book deserves a special place on your bookshelf and a special place in your heart.
Because I loved this book so much, I am giving away one paperback copy of it (via Amazon or Barnes and Noble). You seriously NEED to read it!!!
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Ends: February 25th
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