All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Two girls grow up, as close (or closer) as sisters, until a boy and a strange man (?) come between them. Aurora is the daughter of a famous musician, who died when she very young; her mother still spends most of her days in a drug-induced haze. It's up to her best friend (whose name we never learn -- she's simply the narrator of this tale) to protect Aurora, who is described as lovely and other-worldly, from herself. The girls spend their days together -- watching movies in Aurora's bed, partying hard, dancing in mosh pits at concerts, etc. One day they meet a musician named Jack, a beautiful man/boy, who enraptures the narrator, and seems to set them on a course to be torn apart.
This is a very strange book. The first half or so is actually pretty compelling and interesting. The story of Aurora and the narrator's friendship is fascinating, and their "girls gone wild" story is plausible, if not a little much. Aurora's mom could clearly care less where her daughter is. The narrator's mom, Cass, was friends with Aurora's mom, but they clearly fought when the girls were young and are not on speaking terms, though Cass cares deeply for Aurora. This is all good stuff.
Once Jack arrives and Aurora meets Minos, a bizarre music producer, things get weird. The book takes on this mystical, paranormal feel, and it's just strange. It almost feels like this part of the plot was forced into what was otherwise just a good (really, good) story about friendship and teenage girls and life. I won't go into many more details about the plot, but the narrator basically goes on a quest, which I didn't completely understand and then the book just ends, leaving you hanging and everything unresolved. And despite the fact that there is another book in the series, it looks to be about the girls' mothers, not the girls, therefore giving me no resolution whatsoever! Grr.
That's not to say that McCarry's writing isn't lovely. It's a beautiful, poetic book - almost too much at times, as I found myself practically skimming to get to the actual plot. The narrator was a compelling character, and the whole story was so well-written that I could imagine every person, every wild party, every journey. I just think that it almost would have been just as good, if not better, without all the crazy characters and odd mythology-type "stuff" thrown in. But what do I know, really? And I'll probably read the second book out of total curiosity because Maia (Aurora's mom) and Cass were pretty fascinating.
This was probably closer to 2.5 stars for my overall feeling at the end, but bumped up a bit for the beginning and the general writing.
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