Review: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

Title: All Our Pretty Songs
Author: Sarah McCarry
Publication: July 30th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: No idea at all.
Source: Borrowed

The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devoted, soulful, watchful narrator—find their bond challenged for the first time ever when a mysterious and gifted musician named Jack comes between them. Suddenly, each girl must decide what matters most: friendship, or love. What both girls don’t know is that the stakes are even higher than either of them could have imagined. They’re not the only ones who have noticed Jack’s gift; his music has awakened an ancient evil—and a world both above and below which may not be mythical at all. The real and the mystical; the romantic and the heartbreaking all begin to swirl together, carrying the two on journey that is both enthralling and terrifying.

And it’s up to the narrator to protect the people she loves—if she can.

-- My Rating --
2.5 / 5 Oscars: It was OK

-- My Thoughts --

     I cannot describe this book. it was so confusing that I don't even know what genre it is. One word comes to my mind. WEIRD. This book was just plain weird. A lot of strange things and an even stranger plot.
     What's even stranger is that I don't know the name of the main character in the book. The one who talks in first person. The one that the whole story is about. The author NEVER mentioned the name, so I will go with the initial "A". A and Aurora have been friends since forever. They did everything together, but everything changes when they meet Jack, the mysterious musician, and the guy with the completely-dark eyes.
     The first problem I had with this book was that I didn't know if it was paranormal, contemporary, or a mix of both? It irked me that I didn't know anything about the book's genre. So, I didn't know what to expect from the book when I kept reading. The second thing is the characters. None of them ever clicked  with me. None.  Not A, Aurora, Jack, Cass, Maia. I couldn't connect to any of them and that made me sad.
     The plot was, simply put, confusing. I didn't know what was happening well I was reading. I didn't get where they were, what they were doing, or who they really were. It got on my nerves a LOT, and I passed a lot of paragraphs unread, just because I couldn't get them. I didn't want to get them. There is one good thing about this book. It's the writing. Sarah McCarry's writing style is phenomenal, every single sentence she weaved was like silk, so smooth and pretty. I made tons of quotes in my copy, but I think that the author tried SO HARD with the writing, that she didn't give enough of her time to the plot or the characters.
     I won't be recommending this. And I definitely won't read it again. I am not saying this book was all bad, it had its ups and downs. And the end was pretty amazing. But, here are some quotes for you, so you can judge for yourself whether you'll give it a go or not:
Music turns us inside out with hunger, the need to hurt ourselves, get drunk, fuck, punch strangers, the need to take off all our clothes and run around in the grass screaming, the need get in a car and drive off in the middle of the night with a pack of strangers. We let the music shake us loose from the moorings of our bodies and hearts and brains, until we are nothing but sex and sweat and fists and hot hot light
Do  you  know  what  it’s  like  to  be  a  girl  pieced  together  out  of  appetite  and impulse?  We  do.  In  that  place  of  heat  and  noise  I  forget  everything,  forget  being  poor  and  being cared, forget the looming misery of school and the adult world, forget walls and masks and pretense.
A single note, faint and sweet, travels all the way from the stars to fall lightly to earth, and then another,  scattering  soft  as  rain.  His  music  is  like  nothing  I  have  ever  heard.  It  is  like  the ocean surging, the wind that blows across the open water, the far call of gulls. It catches at my hair, moves across my skin and into my mouth and under my tongue. I can feel it running all through me.
I want to do everything, everything, everything, but I leave my hand in his and tamp all that desire into a hot coal at the center of my chest. 
Kissing him is like falling into a river, some great fierce current carrying me outside of my body, and all around us the music of the water rises and rises, and I can hear the wind moving over the sand, the distant singing of the stars veiled behind their curtain of blue sky, the slow, resonant chords of the earth turning on its axis.
You  think  that  the  world  we  live  in  is  ordinary.  We  make  noise  and  static  to  fill  the  empty  spaces where  ghosts  live.  We  let  other  people  grow  our  food,  bleach  our  clothes.  We  seal  ourselves  in, clean the dirt from our skins, eat of animals whose blood does not stain our hands. We long ago left the ways of our ancestors, oracles and blood sacrifice, traffic with the spirit world, listening for the voices  out  of  stones  and  trees.  But  maybe  sometimes  you  have  felt  the  uncanny,  alone  at  night  in a dark  wood,  or  waiting  by  the  edge  of  the  ocean  for  the  tide  to  come  in.  We  have  paved  over  the ancient world, but that does not mean we have erased it.
 I’m a chalkboard that’s been erased over and over again until there’s nothing left but a haze of white dust. Before this I never understood how  long  an  hour  could  take,  how  many  ticks  of  the  second  hand  are  in  a  minute,  how  endless  the space between seconds can be.


  1. Sorry you didn't have much luck with this one, Soma :( It's horrible when a book is way too confusing. the writing can be phenomenal but if the plot and characters are rubbish then it lets everything down. Great review!

  2. None clicked...none at all? Ohh yeah that does not sound good at all

  3. Hi Soma!

    Great review and I completely understand how you are feeling! I just finished reading and reviewing a book that was just down right horrible. And that totally sucks when you go into a book with high expectations. All Our Pretty Songs is a book I've been debating on reading but I really couldn't get a sense of exactly what it was about from the book blurb. So I have to thank you for clearing things up for me with your review. Sometimes it is cool when a book can bend genres, but at the same time it takes a special kind of writer that can write a story that is so good that you don't even care what the genre is, ya know?

    Anyway, let us both hope for better books next time! Feel free to stop by my blog sometime!

    Best Wishes,
    Mia @ The Muses Circle

    1. Thanks for being here, Mia
      And yes, you are right
      Currently,I am reading an amazing book

  4. Your reference to the character as A remind me of Pretty Little Liars so much x)
    I'm sorry you didn't like it and all the bad things with it :/
    Anyway... great review at least now I know I shouldn't read this anytime soon

    1. hhhh It reminded me of A, too
      But they are VERY different

  5. I've seen no more than three reviews of this one, but not a single one was even remotely positive, so I think I'll pass. It does sound weird, and while I like cross-genre, I like at least to be able to recognize what's in the mix.
    Great review.

    1. I like to recognize that, too
      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. It's so funny how a negative review can make you want to read a book. I was under the impression that this was a feel-good contemporary for some reason, so I never gave it a second thought. Now, I want to read it just to see what I think for myself.

    It's too bad the anonymous narrator didn't work. Sometimes it's a great tool an author can use, but it can go very wrong if the narrator's identity isn't ever revealed.

    1. hhhh, Well, yeah. Sometimes negative reviews can give a great impression :P


Jot down your feels, your thoughts, your musings
I Listen!