ARC Review: All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
All Our Pretty Songs
by: Sarah McCarry
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review
Page Count: 240 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 1.5/5 stars
When I first came across this book I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful cover. I loved the colors and vines and was immediately curious as to what it would be about. After reading the synopsis I was definitely intrigued- ancient evil? A world both above and below? I thought it would be right up my alley. However, as beautifully written as this book is, I found myself bored for the majority of the time. I felt there was entirely too much description and found it to be unnecessary at times. With all the description, I felt there wasn't enough propelling the plot forward.
We learn a lot about the narrator's lifestyle, as well as her best friend Aurora's, and I felt McCarry did a good job with character development, as it gives you a true understanding of why later events played out as they did. We do not at any point learn the narrator's name. We know she lives with her mother, who was once best friends with Aurora's mother. Aurora's father, a former musician, is no longer alive and the narrator's father is not in the picture. Both girls grew up in rather unstable homes: We learn pretty early on that Aurora's mother, Maia, is a junkie and the narrator's mother, Cass, is a witch. The narrator's mother and Aurora's mother no longer speak to one another and we see that while Aurora's mother is still in a mess of drugs, the narrator's mother has changed her ways and has tried to become a more responsible adult. Both girls have grown up and learned to depend on one another, forming an unbreakable bond of friendship and sisterhood. However, the two friends really are opposites. Aurora is described as being beautiful and ethereal, but I viewed her as the weaker of the two friends. The narrator is boyish, and where Aurora is all light, she is dark- wearing black, ratty clothing, not caring about appearance. The narrator is Aurora's anchor: always bringing her back up from the darkness, never letting her get in too deep concerning bad situations. She fights for her friend, even when her friend is making poor choices.
The narrator is much more sensible than her best friend. Aurora is more of a free spirit, allowing herself to be taken to places that are not in her best interest. She is not uptight like the narrator can be and doesn't mind being flamboyant and out there. Both girls are wild in their own rights, but the narrator seems to know when to step back, where Aurora doesn't. The day the narrator meets Jack, a beautiful musician who can capture your soul with his music, she instantly falls for this man. Aurora in the meantime, has met Minos, a skeleton looking man who the narrator is instantly wary of. Since the narrator has met Jack, she does find herself longing to spend time with him and ends up feeling selfish, as she leaves Aurora to fend for herself on more than one occasion. However, although Jack seems to reciprocate the narrator's feelings, the narrator does become quite jealous when she finds he has been hanging out with Aurora. It is then that their unbreakable bond of friendship really begins to unravel. Both girls are heading in opposite directions, no longer being one and the same. While the narrator is spending time with Jack, Aurora is being drawn to what Minos has to offer her.
After a sudden turn of events, we realize that the narrator has found both the boy she loves and her best friend have slipped away from her and while she tries to accept that, she can't. She buries herself in random hook ups and literally has no joy in her life at all. The end of the novel is where we see some of that 'world above and below' we read about in the synopsis and that was by far my favorite part. However, it was not enough to make up for the rest of the book where I felt the plot was overwhelmed by the prose.
Overall, this book definitely had potential to be really interesting, but I just found myself bored more than engaged and with all the unnecessary description, it really was just not what I was expecting it to be.