A Novel by Anna Hecker, Sky Pony Press, May 2018.
* An e-galley was provided by Sky Pony Press and Edelweiss for an honest review.
You know those stories written in present tense that feel stilted and unnatural? WHEN THE BEAT DROPS, by Anna Hecker, is sooo definitely not one of them. In fact, I was on page 21 before I realized it was in present tense. That’s because this book draws you in and won’t let you go until the end.
Mira’s not looking forward to a boring summer alone. Especially when she drives her two friends to music camp even though she’s unable to go. Her summer will consist of nothing but working and practicing her trumpet to prepare for her audition to a prestigious jazz conservatory. Quite unexpectedly, her older sister Britt and a friend of hers from college encourage Mira to join them at a rave. Mira’s initially concerned that the party’s in a rundown, abandoned warehouse district. The loud music and packed dance floor doesn’t help. But everyone is so nice and the music is amazing. It’s here that Mira meets Shaye, the girl who shows her how to spin music, and Derek, the hunky party promoter who will become her love interest. The story follows Mira through the summer as she develops her DJ skills, maneuvers through life at the party scene, deals with how drugs impact her family, and decides who she wants to be while still being true to herself and her dreams.
1. Not fitting in - Mira is a misfit in her high school. She likes jazz, is in a band with two other misfits, and she’s poor.
2. Abandonment - Her only two friends are spending much of the summer at her favorite music camp, while she stays at home (due to her parents’ bad money and life management abilities). She feels alone and dreads the boring summer stretching out before her.
3. Unrealized expectations - Mira’s older sister Britt was a soccer star and all around favorite girl at her high school. At Pepperdine University, she feels alienated by the other girls on the soccer team because she’s on a scholarship.
4. Drug dependency - Britt’s turned to “Molly,” a drug supposed to make you happy with everyone and everything. Her new friend from college has encouraged Britt to try it and now Britt relies on it.
5. Being true to yourself - Mira has to decide who she wants to be while keeping her values and realizing her dreams.
WHEN THE BEAT DROPS is an enjoyable book worthy of your reading time. The author is adept at writing dialogue, developing in-depth characters, and creating tension. And though I’m not normally a fan of books written in present tense, I’ve made an exception for this story. The writing is solid and so true to life, that it took 21 pages for me to realize it was in the present tense. Readers who like music will like the behind-the-scenes look into DJing and passages about jazz history. It’s a good book that I highly recommend. Once again Sky Pony Press has published a timely, thought-provoking YA book!
Note: Because of a few sex scenes, I recommend this book for mature teenagers and/or readers aged 16 or older.
If You Like This, You May Like:
TONE DEAF by Olivia Rivers, LIFE BEFORE by Michele Bacon, THE ART OF FRENCH KISSING by Brianna R. Shrum, THE TAMING OF THE DREW by Stephanie Kate Strohm, DIRTY LITTLE SECRET and GOING TOO FAR by Jennifer Echols
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