Can I confess something? In a revelation sure to surprise no one, I was in the band. I played the clarinet and later the oboe. Just in case you thought you had seen the peak of my nerdiness, I thought I would add this bit to it. Like Alice in Kate Racculia’s Bellweather Rhapsody, I also attended the prestigious state competition twice (this was New Hampshire). I still have the medals I won. I attempted to find them, but they’re buried in the moving boxes I’ve yet to unpack from when I moved three years ago. That’s totally normal, right? The moving boxes, not holding on to sentimental childhood awards that now essentially mean nothing.
As far as Alice and Betram “Rabbit” Hatmaker are concerned, those music awards mean everything – or to Alice, at the very least, who has big plans to be famous (she’s already writing her memoir). They are the musically talented twins of their hometown – Alice is a gifted singer and Rabbit is an equally talented bassoonist. They’re competing at a prestigious music festival at a formerly prestigious hotel. Fifteen years earlier, there was a gruesome murder-suicide in Room 712. This happens to be the room Alice is assigned – and so the tale of music, murder, and haunting begins.
Bellweather Rhapsody is easily one of the most delightful novels I’ve read this year. I hate to call it a beach read, because that’s not what it is by colloquial standards, but it would be perfect for a vacation. You’ll want the uninterrupted reading time. While murder-suicide, angst-ridden melodramatic teenagers, and ghosts may sound a bit dark, Racculia’s dry wit and wonderful characters make this book – a cross between The Shining (the book) and Camp (the movie) – a must read. She absolutely nails the apathy and the irony of the teenage voice, as well as their self-importance. I loved it. You needn’t have been a band geek to enjoy it, even if I was. 4.5/5.
You know how much I love a good playlist, so I was quite pleased to learn that not only had the author created a playlist to accompany this book, she had created a good one. Some of the highlights include: Garbage’s #1 Crush, R.E.M.’s Crush With Eyeliner, The Bangles’ Eternal Flame, Nine Inch Nails’ Kinda I Want To, and Sam Cooke’s Having a Party. For the full list, go here.
What’s on your beach/vacation reading list for the summer? This is the book I’ll be recommending to everyone.
*I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.