A new book on Miss Belle's shelves?
(Check out our past book reviews, here!)
A few days ago I had the opportunity to devour a delightful novel written by author Tessa Emily Hall.
The fact that this review is coming out less than a week after I read it might give you a glimpse as to how good it was!
Continue reading to to find out what this book is all about, and just maybe you might be interested in purchasing it for your personal bookcases! **
*There will be minor spoilers below, concerning some content. Please feel free to reach out if you have an concerns or would like to know more about what is briefly mentioned.
Does breaking free require breaking the rules?
Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom's rebellion. But now that she's seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother's suffocating rules, experience what it's like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.
James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal's granddaughter, he's determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.
As Cassie gets to know James over "project meetings" (more like opportunities to match her lyr-ics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie's left to wonder--did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?
Then, Grandma's control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.
*I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Unwritten Melody is a contemporary YA fiction novel written by author Tessa Emily Hall. It revolves around the life of Cassie Gilbert, a shy, sheltered seventeen-year-old girl who navigates love and loss through her only outlet—music. The story’s core themes are associated with learning how to truly live, not just survive through life, pursuing your dreams when all the odds are stacked against you, and spreading your wings to fly when you’ve been caged for so long.
I related to Hall’s protagonist deeply and my heart ached for her. Much like Cassie, I’m drawn toward music and write poetry to vent my longings and frustrations and I also am very much an introvert, too. She was a good person who didn’t want to rebel against the rules, but simply desired freedom. Cassie also loved to read (specifically Emily Dickinson) and almost had this vintage air to her, which was sweet to experience.
When I opened the first chapter, the initial thing that stood out to me about Unwritten Melody was Hall’s grasp on character VOICE. The story is composed with two first person POV’s, both female and male. Hall did an astounding job, being able to constantly switch back and forth between Cassie and James (her love interest) without there being any confusion as to who’s thoughts we’re tagging along with.
Speaking of Cassie and James, they were such an adorable pair! I mean, how beautifully fitting—a singer and a songwriter? Though both their situations were not as heathy as one would hope, the relationship that formed between them was. Though they both had problems and past (or present) pain, they were both mature and were able to forgive and work to mend what was broken from misunderstandings.
I do have to say, this book was very clean, and wholesome, but at the same time, Hall touched upon heavy topics. This is a minor spoiler, however I feel it’s necessary to mention for the sake of some who might have anxiety like myself. Hall dealt with issues like suicide, death, and birth outside of wedlock. She handled these things in a sensitive manor and was delicate with them, which I appreciate, but it was still slightly triggering to me and made me nervous, so I just wanted to give that warning.
One thing I will note is that though this book was really clean, there wasn’t much faith content. That might be more than okay for a lot of readers out there, but I’m someone who wants Jesus splashed all across the pages. I also felt that when dealing with issues like the ones I mentioned above, Jesus should have been the solution, not a mere afterthought. He’s the Resurrection and the Life, and our Redeemer, and that truth felt slightly neglected within Unwritten Melody, though Cassie went to a Christian school and believed in God. However, I understand that Hall might have been writing to a certain audience, so her decision to not contain so much faith content makes sense.
All in all, Unwritten Melody was a sweet contemporary YA novel, and if you want a wholesome read that revolves around two musically involved teens that encourage each other to chase after their dreams and fight for freedom, all with a dash of faith, then Tessa Emily Hall’s Unwritten Melody is a great book to pick up this summer!
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her devotional for teen girls, LOVE YOUR SELFIE.