Friday, May 15, 2015

Julie's Review: Bellweather Rhapsody

Author: Kate Racculia
Series: None
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 352
Obtained: purchased
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: Captivating
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered in the hotel’s cavernous halls for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a colossal snowstorm is threatening to trap them all in the hotel. When a young prodigy goes missing from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of conductors and caretakers, failures and stars, teenagers on the verge and adults trapped in memories. A genre-bending page-turner, full of knowing nods to pop culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee, Bellweather Rhapsody is a wholly winning new novel from a writer to watch.  

Review: Bellweather Rhapsody is a coming-of-age and murder mystery rolled into one. It has the band and choir geeks that are competing at the state level. Some of them hope to become famous, some of them hope to just survive, and to also discover who they are or perhaps reveal who they are to others. We meet the Hatmaker twins, who are talented in their own ways; Alice dreams of being famous and Rabbit dreams of telling his secret.

There is also the mystery of what happens to semi-famous, Jill Faccelli, who seems to have killed herself but then the body disappeared. To add onto that mystery a big snowstorm is about to come down on the hotel as they ramp up for the concerts.

Minnie Graves also shows up to face her demons about that fateful night 15 years ago when she was witness to murder suicide. She's come back to reclaim her life. To put behind her the fears that have held her captive for almost 2 decades.  She and Alice bond over the mystery of room 712 and help each other face their fears. For all of her bravado, Alice had her own issues.

The adults in this book are a trip. For people who should be chaperon the teens, they are acting like teens themselves. In a lot of ways the adults were still searching for themselves just as much as the kids.

I adored Ms. Racculia's first book,This Must Be the Place and felt that it was perhaps a stronger book. She's a wonderful storyteller who has a way of writing strong but quirky characters. Although for anyone who has been in choir or band, you will understand the ins and outs of a competition like this. Plus it's set in the 1990s and well for those of us who were old enough to live through it, the trip to a more recent past was fun.

I know that Ms. Racculia has sold the rights for the movie to this book and frankly I can't wait to see it on the big screen. Bellweather Rhapsody is definitely a book that will transfer well onto film. I am anxious to see who they chose to cast in the movie. Ms. Racculia has a way of writing eclectic characters in a way where you see a little of yourself in the characters.

I look forward to whatever Ms. Racculia writes next and will definitely read it.



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