YA ARC Review: WHEN THE BEAT DROPS by Anna Hecker

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Title: WHEN THE BEAT DROPS

Author: Anna Hecker

Pub Date: 05.01.18

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

CW: drug abuse; death

Seventeen-year-old Mira has always danced to her own beat. A music prodigy in a family of athletes, she’d rather play trumpet than party—and with her audition to a prestigious jazz conservatory just around the corner (and her two best friends at music camp without her), she plans to spend the summer focused on jazz and nothing else.

She only goes to the warehouse party in a last-ditch effort to bond with her older sister. Instead, she falls in love with dance music, DJing…and Derek, a gorgeous promoter who thinks he can make her a star. Suddenly trumpet practice and old friendships are taking a backseat to packed dance floors, sun-soaked music festivals, outsized personalities, and endless beats.

But when a devastating tragedy plunges her golden summer into darkness, Mira discovers just how little she knows about her new boyfriend, her old friends, and even her own sister. Music is what brought them together…but will it also tear them apart?

My Review:

Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the eARC in exchange of an honest review.

Music, drugs, sisters, friends, a boyfriend, and choices on what needs saving and what needs to be abandoned in the process. It’s a heart-wrenching story of teenage mistakes and choices to fix them.

When tagging along with her sister to a party, Mira finds herself in a different music universe than her marching band. The bass, the cdjs and the hot boy make her fall for the parties immediately, but the bright lights and loud beats come in with consequences of their own—lies, drugs that can kill.

It starts off with Mira wanting nothing more than an exciting summer after junior year, and she gets it. The story escalates so quickly from her first party on, it’s easy to miss five hours faster than you can realize what just happened. And then five more days going over how it all happened. That’s how painfully good it is. It’ll leave you hurting for days.

I loved the narrative style. The writing is rich, fresh and emotional. It pulls you in the book, listening to the music along with Mira, making music out of the ordinary sounds with her.

As for Mira’s character, there wasn’t anything I could find to dislike. She loves her sister, she doesn’t agree with how her parents treat her differently than her sister like she’s not good enough but she doesn’t really want to bring it up, she is always there for her friends and knows when to be the first to apologize. What I loved more though was the rebellious side of her that started building up and turned her into this strong decisive girl who can take charge of everything.

[Spoiler paragraph] And the friends over boyfriend trope was so satisfying to read about. I so friggin happily yelled in my head ‘You go, girl’ as she stepped back from her lying boyfriend.

‘The devastating tragedy’ was so truly devastating. It’s a reality that so many of us face, and the author did an amazing job depicting Mira’s emotions as the tragedy unfolded, and the ways she pulled herself back up right after.

Overall, it’s realistically depicted, heartfelt, something so easy to connect to even if you’ve never had to be in Mira’s shoes.

when the beat drops

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