Title – Author: All Our Pretty Songs – Sarah McCarry
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Series/Standalone: Series – All Our Pretty Songs #1
Format – Source: Paperback – Bought
Two girls have grown up like sisters: beautiful and charismatic Aurora and the watchful narrator. Their bond is unbreakable. When talented musician Jack arrives in their lives, their world changes. He has a powerful gift with music, and the two girls aren’t the only ones who have noticed. A dark, ancient power rises and the mythical meets reality. The narrator must find the strength to save those she loves.
It took me a while to get into this one. The prose is dense, with long, flowing paragraphs and lyrical, almost excessive descriptions. The narrator is incredibly observant, and she often falls into stream of consciousness or memories of her past with Aurora. The narration felt too mature for a teenager, but then I realized how this was offset by her actions. She can self-centered and reckless and petty.
I think this layered approach is true for many other aspects of the novel as well. Nothing is black-and-white here. At first I thought that the story was a romance, and the description makes it seem as though there’s a love triangle. The narrator falls hard and fast for Jack into an all-consuming romance. But the story isn’t really about the narrator and Jack. I think the narrator puts it best:
This is a story about love, but not the kind of love you think. You’ll see.
And we do see. As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that the real love story here is between the narrator and Aurora. It’s not a romance, it’s something so much deeper than that. Aurora and the narrator are sisters, best friends, and everything to each other.
When the mythology starts weaving itself into their lives, the story becomes haunting and sad. It’s about choices. It’s about the narrator realizing that someone can love you and still choose something else over you. It’s about the narrator realizing it’s not about her at all. All the narrator can do is be brave, so she is.
All Our Pretty Songs is a tough read. The writing style is heavy, and there’s a lot of exposition. But the story is absolutely gorgeous and a creative retelling of the Orpheus myth.
8 – deserving of a re-read – Fred Weasley