The Sound of Letting Go
by Stasia Ward Kehoe
For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.
But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?
I don’t typically pick up books like this, but Suzanne and Liberty Bay Books asked me to read it and gave it their highest recommendations. Also, the author is semi-local and I don’t read many books by local authors. It’s not like I avoid them, I just don’t come into contact with them very much and when I do I don’t typically notice because I don’t really read author bios or look to see where authors are from.
The synopsis makes it sound like the book is romance with a little struggle on the side. Really, the book is nothing like the synopsis makes it sound. It is a mixture of struggle, rebellion, romance, family, and all the other things the synopsis brings to mind. It is a perfect mixture. Kehoe did an AMAZING job of balancing all the different factors so that none of the pieces overrode or overpowered the other pieces.
It was written in prose. I know this is a bit controversial for people. Some people hate it, some people love it. I feel fairly neutrally about it. I don’t dislike it when it is done well, but I’m not like going out of my way to find and read books in prose. I like that it goes quickly, and the way that Kehoe wrote it, it was light, yet heavy with emotion at the same time. It was utterly perfect for this story and simply decadent. For the first few chapters it felt a little…odd to read. It felt like reading poetry, but then after the first ten chapters or so, I realized that it didn’t feel that way anymore it just felt like reading.
Daisy was lovely. She didn’t know exactly who she was yet, her interests weren’t set in stone, she had identity crises and tried different styles and things, exactly like every normal teenager. She was quite possibly the most realistic, normal and most understandable/relateable character’s I’ve read in a long time. m
Cal was not a huge part of the story. The second paragraph of the synopsis makes it sound like he is part of this intense love triangle and that he changes the course of the story and that we get to know him super well. All of that couldn’t be farther from the truth. He doesn’t come up a lot a lot, I mean he matters sure, but we don’t see a whole lot of him or really get to know him. There isn’t really a love triangle either, I mean Daisy has thoughts about Cal, but there isn’t much of a contest.
Dave and Daisy. I wanted to ship this so SO bad. Childhood friends reunited, childish love rekindled! However it didn’t feel like love. It kind of felt like Daisy was using him and he was maybe using her a tiny tiny bit, but not really and it felt like a lot more lust than love. Which I get that some relationships are like that and all that jazz, but when their relationship was supposed to be more real, lovey and serious, I struggled to believe it because there was nothing before that to indicate they really felt that way at all. It was not my favorite, I don’t know. I got it but I didn’t love it.
The story line and plot was really nice. The pacing was good and all of that was well done. It was raw, poignant, and something that every teen can relate to despite the extreme and rare circumstances.
Last thoughts: Overall it was b-e-a-utiful and I would highly, highly recommend it. Even if this isn’t usually what you enjoy reading, I encourage you to give it a try. I had a few minor issues with it so I’m giving it a four our of five stars.
Goodreads and Liberty Bay Books.