"A dreamy summer rom-com that'll make you believe in love again." --Bustle
"Full of not only sigh-inducing swoons but the social commentary [Thorne] is talented at writing." --Paste
Music was Ruby's first love, but did it ever love her back? After a nightmare audition at the music school where her famous father teaches, the answer to this question is unavoidable. And so, it seems, is Oscar Bell. Musical genius, YouTube sensation, and her dad's new protégé, Oscar is the last person Ruby needs in her life. Being around him feels dangerously like being with her first love again--except music never kissed her like this. Oscar is falling for Ruby too, but he knows how it'll look to the ultra-privileged, ultra-white world of classical music--a Black guy dating his mentor's white daughter. As the New York City summer heats up, though, so does the spark between them. Can two people still figuring themselves out figure out how to be together? And will Ruby get over her first love in time to save what she has with her second?
"Delightful...Hits all the right notes." --Mackenzi Lee, author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
"Seriously swoony...I loved it." --Rachel Hawkins, author of Royals
"Sweet and intense...[An] engrossing romance with a social conscience." --Kirkus
"Utterly romantic." --Tanaz Bhathena, author of A Girl Like That
"Full of heart and humor. It crackles with energy." --Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of Picture Us in the Light
"Timely and romantic." --Publishers Weekly
"Beautiful, heartfelt, aware, and raw." --Lauren Gibaldi, author of This Tiny Perfect World
"Thoughtful, nuanced." --Booklist
In the mostly white world of classical music, 17-year-old Ruby Chertok seems like a crown princess. Her father is a composer and teacher, her mother is a pianist, and her three older siblings are musicians. But after failing an audition for the summer program that her father runs, Ruby wonders who she truly is. Then her father's new prot g arrives: he's handsome, super talented, and staying in their basement. He and Ruby connect immediately, but can Oscar really date his mentor's daughter? More pressingly, the school's board, headed by Ruby's godmother, wants to position African-American Oscar as the answer to its diversity problems, even if it means misrepresenting and stereotyping him. Thorne (The Wrong Side of Right) keeps a complex plot moving encompassing Ruby's reconnection with a childhood friend, her fraught relationship with her absent mother, and Oscar's drive to compose work while convincingly depicting the casual racism of seemingly well-intentioned liberals. Given all this, a thread about the board's financial chicanery seems almost superfluous. At heart, though, this is a timely and romantic story about teens who feel like fish out of water finding the person who understands them. Ages 14 up.
Excellent, excellent read!
This book dives deep into more than just teenaged first loves. It touches on the obstacles in a mixed race relationship, this misunderstandings on classical music, and most importantly, the depths that people go with greed and notoriety. The author paints great pictures with her words, and I felt like I was in each and every scene. Her sexual encounters are very well written. No graphic vulgarity at all, but words that describe the tenderness of two people losing their virginity in the most special way. She nails what it’s like to be an African American male in this country. Misunderstood...made to look like either a thug, or troubled, poor, ghetto, no father, non cultured, etc., etc. She contrasted that with white America and how easy it is to believe the stereotypes. I truly enjoyed this book, and it made it very easy to imagine where the relationships go in the future. Well done!