“…it has music and songs that literally raise the story out of the world of fiction and stand it on very vivid feet in reality.”
Review by Rayleigh Setser
When her first love, J, leaves with no explanation—young singer-songwriter Sam deals with her heartbreak in the only way she knows how: writing. So she starts a blog to reach out to him. She writes him letters. She writes him songs. She writes to him, hoping he’s out there… reading and listening somehow.
“So this is a desperate attempt for you to hear me somehow. Come back. Speak. Listen. I grant you the courtesy of knowing that I’m still in love with you.”
Girl with a Broken String is a multimedia novel. This innovative book is a sensitive exploration of heartbreak, anxiety, and Sam’s coming of age through the interplay of story, song, and artwork.
Release Date: 10/1/2023
Genre: Literary Fiction
I received this book from the author. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
I received a review request for this book not even two weeks ago, and when I read: "It's a one-of-a-kind multimedia novel and e-book musical that incorporates story, song (yes, songs!), illustration, and animation for a truly immersive reading experience. (I co-wrote the songs featured in the book as well.)" I just said, "YES". Didn't even need to know the storyline. Music and books are the reasons that I breathe, so to have them combined in such an intentional and thoughtful way... gah! I just had to experience Girl With a Broken String. And I wasn't disappointed. "[Poetry] is a language for things we don't actually have enough words for. I feel that way a lot about music." The writing is lyrical, poetic, and just altogether beautiful. I highlighted so many lines because of how relatable and emotional they were. The book is epistolary, which I'm quickly finding has a very special place in my heart, as it's a collection of blog posts written by Sam. Her blog begins as an outcry of pain and confusion as she attempts to process the lack of closure from a recent breakup; but as time, and her posts, progress, she learns to love herself. On its own, the writing is spectacular and the book is definitely worth reading. But, it's not its own; it has music and songs that literally raise the story out of the world of fiction and stand it on very vivid feet in reality. I forgot that I was reading fiction. The format of the book feels like a blog, there are even photos included that look like comments on her posts. At the end of some of her posts, you can click links to the songs that she's written and it takes you to YouTube where you can LISTEN TO HER SONGS. I spent about 2 hours reading this book and listening to the music--in order--and I'm just so wonderfully satisfied with this unique project. The illustrations make the book feel cozy, the music is beautiful and fits the story so well, and Sam is such a relatable character. There was one passage where I felt completely called out: "There is a severe temptation to wear an oversized shirt and cotton pajama pants. To buy a half-gallon of rocky road ice cream, and watch 500 Days of Summer. Maybe go for a drive with my best friends (because I can't drive) and belt out Taylor Swift songs." -Everything except the driving part (I can and love to drive) is inarguably ME. It's clean; no cursing, no spicy stuff, no gore, just a really wholesome, warm-fuzzy book that speaks directly to the heart--even if it has all of its strings intact. If I were to describe this book by a Taylor Swift song (which I'm 100% going to use TWO), it's Right Where You Left Me and You're On Your Own, Kid.
*Unfortunately, at the time of this review, this book is not available for purchase on Bookshop.org.*
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