My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Jenn Marie Thorne’s The Wrong Side of Right stole my heart in March. That being said, I couldn’t wait to dive into her latest release, Night Music. I devoured this book up over two incredibly beautiful days outside (with plenty of sunburn as a result). How could I not love a summer contemporary set in NYC with such gorgeous writing?
Night Music follows Ruby’s summer in New York City as she tries to figure out a life without music, which is pretty hard when her parents and siblings are all famous classical musicians. Music becomes an even bigger reminder in Ruby’s life when Ruby’s dad takes seventeen-year old music genius Oscar under his wing for the summer.
Night Music blew me away for its amazing writing style. Jenn Marie Thorne’s writing style in the book reminded me of Morgan Matson, but with its own uniqueness. I’ve read books with protagonists who are musicians or have a deep appreciation for music, but this book especially features music, specifically classical music. The only other book I can think of is with a strong classical music presence is Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. Night Music is only told from Ruby’s point of view, which I appreciated because the book’s premise made it sound like it was told from both Ruby and Oscar. In addition, I also didn’t really get the official premise’s rom-com vibes. If I had to summarize Night Music, I would refer to it as a romantic family drama or just a romantic contemporary! Through Jenn Marie Thorne’s writing, readers are able to experience all the layers of Ruby’s life: her relationship with music, her family dynamics, her growing feelings for Oscar, her confusion about what she wants to do with her life, and yes, her feelings towards delicious-sounding French pastries.
I was most invested in Ruby’s personal growth and her relationship with her parents. Like many rising high school seniors, Ruby is not sure what she wants to do with her life. But with music such a integral part in her family, it’s difficult for her to imagine a life not working as a performer. I think YA has gone a long way with giving us incredible and supportive parents and family members, but that was not exactly the case with Night Music. While some of Ruby’s family do redeem themselves, Ruby’s parents are particularly invested in their music careers. Their comments towards Ruby as a person and as a musician herself were heart-breaking and sometimes uncalled for.
As per the romance, aka Oscar, I did enjoy Ruby and Oscar’s relationship to an extent. I’ll admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Oscar. Ruby gives him the support that he needs, but I think he could have done more to be more supportive of Ruby. Although we don’t get Oscar’s POV, Jenn Marie Thorne tackles many of Oscar’s challenges, ranging from his anxiety to the pressure to perform and most presently, the racism he experiences as a young black man. Through Oscar especially, Thorne provides incredible social commentary about diversity in (classical) music, something I had not really thought of before reading this book. Night Music is incredibly multilayered through its two main characters.
Overall, I adored Night Music for its incredible writing style, unique story, and multilayered characters. Give me all the Jenn Marie Thorne books NOW please.
Have you read Night Music or any other books by Jenn Marie Thorne? Share in the comments!