Night Music

400p. Dial. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735228771.
Gr 9 Up—Seventeen-year-old Ruby Chertok is the daughter of famed composer Martin Chertok. Her mother and siblings are elite musicians as well, making Ruby's failed attempt to enter the prestigious Amberley School of Music so much more than just a bad audition. Vowing to leave the classical music world for good, Ruby begins her summer searching for an identity that will provide purpose and meaning. Her plans take a detour when Oscar Bell, her father's newest protege, arrives in New York. Oscar (who is black) and Ruby (who is white) have an instant attraction but are acutely aware of how the music world will perceive Oscar's involvement with the daughter of his famous mentor. Despite their reservations, Oscar and Ruby's love of music binds them together. Their relationship is put to the test when Ruby's father intervenes to remove distractions, including Ruby, as Oscar composes his latest piece. Musically inclined readers will appreciate the countless references to classical music. The characters' voices are witty but almost indistinguishable. The exploration of issues related to racial stereotypes and sexual relationships is welcome but at times seems forced and heavy-handed. Classical music performers and fans will revel in the detailed descriptions of the elite New York music scene, but romance fans may find Ruby and Oscar's on-page chemistry to be lacking.
VERDICT Purchase where there are avid music fans; otherwise an additional purchase for large libraries.

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