Disclaimer: I was sent this novel by Macmillan aus in exchange for an honest review prior to publication date (23rd July 2019).
Aghhhh this novel was so sweet!!
I agreed to review this novel for its release today because I know that Pan MacMillan Australia never ever let me down! So without further ado, Happy Release Day to Taryn Bashford for this wonderful heartfelt novel, and I look forward to more work from her in the future!
Blurb: Astrid Bell Dutiful daughter. Classical singer. Secret pop songwriter. And suffering from stage fright. Jacob Skalicky. Trust-fund kid. Indie singer. Immensely gifted performer. And refusing to sing again. Are they polar opposites? In his grief and fury at the world, Jacob certainly thinks so. But when Jacob loses everything and Astrid uncovers a shocking family secret, they may need each other to make sense of their lives.
I haven’t come across many contemporaries based around music and a character’s progression through the development of their singing ability. This novel showed how through music you can find love, but not without determination and direction, especially when there is that someone special by your side.
The main thing that stood out to me throughout this novel is Taryn Bashford’s ability to write character progression in such a small span of time (and pages). Where in any other novel it may feel as if the whole thing is moving horribly fast, The Astrid Notes moved at a pace that seemed realistically possible.
I’m trying to find the words to express the thoughts and feelings swirling around inside of me right now and I don’t actually think I can. Let’s start at the beginning…
There is this thing with this novel, where within the first couple pages of a character’s existence, I fell completely and utterly in love with them, their quirks and relationship with others. The characters are described in a very 3D way, in which their appearance is not only described to define their presence in the story but used to give the reader an insight into their personality.
In many novels, hair is a defining feature of a character to tell them apart from another, because more often than not, fictional people have pretty ‘individual’ hairstyles. In this novel, we see none of this. Taryn Bashford uses different clothing to depict mourning, acceptance, and even holding on to the past; cleanliness to show recovery, and cloaks (even though still clothing) to represent a depression-like state.
Taryn uses imagery to her advantage to show not tell the reader about emotions that the character is feeling, even if they themselves lack acknowledgment of it.
The Astrid Notes is told in dual perspective between Astrid and Jacob who live very different lives but have and are still dealing with the loss of loved ones. Their paths cross in a very cute fanfiction-esque manner, which I fell head-over-heels for!
I really really liked how neither character is perfect and how we see Jacob’s relapses, breakdowns and even how close at times, he is to quitting on himself and his dreams. Especially when those dreams do not feel like his own.
Both teenagers help each other deal with the loss of people who have died and those who are still living, as well as their own dreams and aspirations. The duo came across road-blocks and dead-ends, sometimes even finding it hard to keep motivation up and stay around the other, but the determination to fight for another person kept them going.
★ Rating ★
I gave this book a ★★★★★ (5/5 star) rating as it was a novel that I felt I could connect to. There are music references, family secrets, teen love and recovery, coming together perfectly in this beautiful novel.
Overall, I found this novel a perfect, fluffy and quick read which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Even if it did break my heart at the start, it was whole again by the end.
With Love Bree xx