WHEN THE BEAT DROPS
by Anna Hecker
I received this free digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Seventeen-year-old Mira has always danced to her own beat. A music prodigy in a family of athletes, she’d rather play trumpet than party—and with her audition to a prestigious jazz conservatory just around the corner (and her two best friends at music camp without her), she plans to spend the summer focused on jazz and nothing else.
She only goes to the warehouse party in a last-ditch effort to bond with her older sister. Instead, she falls in love with dance music, DJing…and Derek, a gorgeous promoter who thinks he can make her a star. Suddenly trumpet practice and old friendships are taking a backseat to packed dance floors, sun-soaked music festivals, outsized personalities, and endless beats.
But when a devastating tragedy plunges her golden summer into darkness, Mira discovers just how little she knows about her new boyfriend, her old friends, and even her own sister. Music is what brought them together…but will it also tear them apart?
This book had quite the slow start. It spent a few too many chapters setting up the scene and the character interactions, forcing them into a ‘backstory’ role instead of an ‘active story’ role. It honestly started to make me dread reading the rest of the book as I was concerned the entire book would be told at this same slow, arduous pace. Thankfully, it does pick up after some time.
Oh man! I expected some darkness in the book, but the actual amount of darkness and the realistic aspect of the darkness really helped develop this story. Perhaps I’m odd, but I loved when the story took a turn into the void of despair. Sometimes bad things happen and those things need to be portrayed, but portrayed in a real way that reflects reality. This book definitely did that!
Personally, I connected with the main character. I could really understand where she was coming from and her plights and all her anger and confusion. That being said, there were times when I wanted to just bash some sense into her because she literally acted like the dumbest teenage girl on the planet. That bothered me to no end, but given her age, it did (unfortunately) make sense.
On the note of the main character, her develop across the duration of the story was really well done. She changed quite a bit. Much of her change was unexpected (for her), which I find to resemble real life as we don’t always notice the changes in or around ourselves when they’re happening. I also really liked the direction in which she changed.
Just to note, I think the writing could use some work. It felt bogged down in places and just uninteresting in others, which is disappointing given the way language was used to describe music. It could have been a real awe-striking story. However, the writing simply wasn’t up to par.