Bellweather Rhapsody was last modified: November 2nd, 2015 by Jenny Sawyer
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Posted on by Jenny Sawyer
Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Title: Black Dove, White Raven
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Author: Kate Racculia
Genre: Fiction (YA/New Adult, mystery)
Year published: 2014
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Length: 340 angsty, suspenseful, clever pages
In Glee meets The Shining, high school senior Rabbit and his sister Alice head to a music festival at an old hotel in upstate New York. There, they hope to have what every music nerd dreams of: the pinnacle of all musical experiences, with other music wunderkinds just like them. But things at the hotel are strange. There’s the murder-suicide that haunts the room of one of the festival’s child prodigies. There’s the Cruella de Vil-like festival director with a secret or two that may be her demise. And there’s the renowned faculty—a motley collection of adults who never quite outgrew their own misfit teen years. As the snow piles up and tensions rise, the festival participants will be forced to do what they do best: face the music.
You don’t need to be a music geek to appreciate this book about a high school music festival gone awry, but if you love music—as I do—you’ll appreciate the special resonances that come from understanding this book’s structure vis a vis a piece of music.
All geekiness aside, the best part of Bellweather Rhapsody are its—if you’ll excuse the pun—pitch-perfect characterizations. The child prodigies. The overbearing teacher. The tormented genius. The teenage boy struggling with his sexual identity. I won’t lie: This book gets pretty heavy, as each character comes to terms with his or her own demons, but the mystery at the center of this novel, coupled with the music festival hijinks, keep Bellweather Rhapsody more in the realm of thriller than melodrama.
Also fun is the string of revelations, which builds to a crescendo in the story’s last third. I had a couple of the mysteries figured out, but one in particular caught me by surprise—a testament to Racculia’s careful plotting and clever sleights of hand.
Although Bellweather Rhapsody is perhaps best enjoyed during a claustrophobia-inducing snowstorm, don’t wait until next winter to read this one. A well-crafted and thoroughly engrossing story awaits you.