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BROKEN CHORDS by Barbara Snow Gilbert


by Barbara Snow Gilbert

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 1-886910-23-5

Gilbert (Stone Water, 1996, etc.) writes sympathetically about a musical prodigy who yearns to be a normal teenager; a story that could have easily fallen to clichÇ becomes a penetrating study of the difference between technical brilliance and true virtuosity. Clara Alexander Lorenzo has never really considered her parents’ pronouncements that she must share her gifts with the world; suddenly, at 17, and a finalist in a competition that would assure her a full scholarship at Juilliard, she finds that the idea of becoming a concert pianist leaves her hollow. In this involving novel, the other characters are acutely drawn, each representing a part of Clara herself—Holly, her cheerleading best friend; Marshall, a committed pianist and intense love-interest; her parents, whose hopes and dreams are wrapped up in music; and Tashi, her gentle, guiding teacher, whose wisdom, perceptions, and stories of her sacrifices in her Russian homeland give Clara courage. Descriptive passages of playing are well-crafted, and Clara’s doubts about the piano are effectively juxtaposed with her passion for ballet’she is not particularly adept, but it stirs something in her. The tension builds to the competition, ending with Clara’s decision and small, unexpected gestures from the people she loves. A compassionate work. (Fiction. 12-14)