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Night Music

Review

Night Music

Jenn Marie Thorne’s NIGHT MUSIC is a heartwarming tale about loving people and loving things. About growing older and removing your rose-tinted glasses to see the injustices in the world. About ignoring prejudices and about forging your own path in life.

'NIGHT MUSIC is a poignant book tackling issues relevant to teens....Thorne spins a cheesy yet adorable tale with valuable life lessons in an entertaining fashion in NIGHT MUSIC."

Ruby Chertok is the daughter of famous composer/conductor, Martin Chertok. Her mom is on tour playing the piano, and her three siblings all have jobs related to classical music. Needless to say, music has been a huge part of her life. But when she totally bombs her audition for the summer program at the prestigious music school her dad works at, Ruby decides it’s time for her to take a break from music. Permanently. What is she going to do in all the free time she suddenly has? Then comes Oscar. An African American boy from Maryland, he has all the natural music talent Ruby doesn’t. Oscar has been chosen to study with Martin Chertok for the summer, and even more surprisingly, is staying in their home. Oscar is intriguing, talented, and charming --- enough to woo Ruby. But Oscar knows that falling for his mentor’s daughter is not the best way to win any favors. Especially not from strangers. Who knows what they will think about the black newcomer going for the white musical royalty. Can Oscar and Ruby make it work?

NIGHT MUSIC is an ode to what it means to be a teenager, being thrust into an uncertain environment and struggling to figure it out. Neither Ruby nor Oscar was perfect, but they were raw and represented the challenges that teens face globally. Thorne did an excellent job of using dialogue that real people would use. Real people don’t convey things perfectly every time. Real people get distracted. I also liked how Thorne didn’t gloss over hardships. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. People fight. People are mean and they swear and they break promises. Thorne doesn’t pretend that everything is easy, but she still makes you believe that anyone is capable of a happy ending.

NIGHT MUSIC is a commentary on racism, on prejudices. NIGHT MUSIC reminds readers that not every white person is rich and thriving, that not every black person is from “the hood” with dysfunctional parents. NIGHT MUSIC challenges readers to think beyond stereotypes and to understand the life circumstances of others. Although I feel like the arts community of New York City is probably more open to diversity than this book suggests, this topic is very pressing to readers everywhere.

As is expected about a book about classical music, there are lots of references to classical music. This shouldn’t be a problem for most readers, but there may be occasions where one might need to look up a musical term or listen to a song.

NIGHT MUSIC is a poignant book tackling issues relevant to teens. Stress, love, life. NIGHT MUSIC lets its audience know that it is okay to be a kid and to let loose. We don’t need to have everything figured out. It’s okay to just live. NIGHT MUSIC reminds us that we should judge others by their merits and not their skin color. Thorne spins a cheesy yet adorable tale with valuable life lessons in an entertaining fashion in NIGHT MUSIC.

As always, a disclaimer. Cursing, underage drinking, sex, infidelity. None of it is too scandalous but it’s definitely there.

Reviewed by Becky N., Teen Board Member on March 22, 2019

Night Music
by Jenn Marie Thorne