Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Review: Melodies (The Bianca Grey Series #1) by Pamela Srey

Seventeen year old Bianca Grey had a not so usual teenage life. Adopted with an abusive foster mother and unpopular at Philadelphia High School, Bianca found peace with her artistic talents. Pete Carrara Jr., had a different life. He was popular in school, musically talented with good looks and brains. Pete had the ideal perfect life with the perfect family and friends. Love had never crossed his mind until one day when he ran into Bianca. That very day, he thought love to be very possible.

Bianca was guarded and had never let anyone get close to her. No one knew she was adopted, not even the school. The more Pete got to know her, the more he fell in love with her. Bianca was not so certain on how much Pete should know about her personal life but the more she learned about Pete, the more she cared for him. With him, her complicated life wasn't so complicated anymore.

Their young romance blossomed through the difficulty of a drama filled high school and a series of mysterious killings in the city. But just when Pete thought that things were perfect with Bianca, her past surface. Can their love overcome the scariest reality out there, the so called life?
~My Review~

I was contacted by Pamela Srey via Twitter to read and review this book. This was the first time an author had reached out to me to read their work, and I was excited to do it!
Overall, I'll start out by saying that I enjoyed the book.  I liked the qualities given to both Bianca and Pete, where Bianca is a loner, who chooses to be that way, doesn't yearn to be one of the cool kids, and focuses on her studies.  She comes from a broken home, and we learn more and more about her home life as the story progresses.  I really loved the focus on her art work.  Pete is a fun character, a popular kid who seems to have had the world handed to him.  He is very close with his family, and he has had an affluent upbringing, the very opposite of Bianca.  He's very into music, and I thought it was a fun quality for him to have.  Playing the piano myself, but never being able to make up my own music, I found myself really enjoying Pete's abilities.

There is an amazing underlying message throughout the book about love.  About being loved and loving others.  I really liked how unlike so many other books I've read, there was an insta-like, but not an insta-love.  This made the story more believable than many of the other books I've read in the past.  I liked that having never known what love is, Bianca is reluctant to throw the word at Pete, even though she recognizes that she really likes him.  

          "Do you love me?" he asked and she could see the tears in his eyes.  She started to cry too.  "We're too young to know what love is, Pete," she said.  "We haven't even bugin to experience life."
          "Do you love me?" he asked again.
          "I can't even figure out how to love myself, let alone love someone else."

This conversation was so profound for me.  It showed maturity in a young girl, totally the opposite of how other girls would be so quick to throw the word love around.  She also recognizes that she doesn't love herself, and having never been loved by anyone else before, how does she know that she loves Pete?  The message is so deep.

So while I did love the message brought across throughout the story, there were a few things that didn't work for me.  

While I understand that the characters were in high school, I'll admit that I sometimes felt like the characters were older.  When I was in high school, I didn't have a car and I had a curfew.  I was really surprised by the sleepovers and the amount of freedom that these kids had.  It gave the feeling of a lot more independence, and therefore maybe college instead of high school.  At the same time, while they acted older and were a bit more sexually active that I was in high school, I noticed that not once was a conversation held about condoms or birth control.  While the sex was mentioned and alluded to, there was no detail written in, as is consistent with young adult fiction, but I was still surprised for the lack of conversation.  

The book dealt with some controversial topics, including abuse & neglect, bullying, rape and murder.  I thought all the messages brought across were very important.  All these topics were brought in in multiple layers which added to the story.  However, some parts of the story were really slow.  I felt like too much time was given to describing mundane details, and not expanding on the actual story.  At the same time, there were some plot holes.  By the end of the book, even though there is a cliff hanger and you know there is a Book 2 (Which is coming out on April 1, by the way), there was conflict that happened within the book that was essentially resolved (the rape and murders, the abuse Bianca incurred by the hands of her mother, and Sandra's own abuse), but I still came away with a lot of questions.  And while the story had multiple layers to it, I felt like a couple of the layers were thrown in there for extra padding, but ended up just seemly like extra fluff.  Yes, they added to the story, and in some cases were key to helping the story, but if more detail had been given throughout, and the resolution had been a bit better, I think it could have sealed up some of those holes.

All in all, I enjoyed this read.  I liked the overall message of love, and I liked the characters and overall story.  I am looking forward to Book 2, because I want to know what happens with the characters and where their stories take them.  I also would like to learn what happens to some of the other characters that were involved in Melodies.

Book provided by Pamela Srey for an honest review.

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