"a richly woven, unforgettable symphony of feelings and words"
– Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Fourteen-year-old Claire Fairchild knew from an early age that she had hands made for the keyboard and a future full of music. Entering a prestigious music contest means competing against her childhood friend, Juan, just as her feelings towards him are becoming more complicated.
Claire's younger brother, Davy, undergoes extensive tests to determine why his learning and visual difficulties are worsening. Claire struggles to balance the tension at home with contest preparations. No one is prepared for the news that Davy has an incurable childhood disease called Batten. Shortly after Claire enters the contest, DNA testing reveals that her youngest brother, Trent, also has Batten and Claire is a carrier.
While attending a conference on Batten Disease, Claire receives word that she has won the contest. Her musical dreams no longer seem relevant and she struggles to reconcile her goals with the realities of her brothers' declining health and probable early deaths. When Claire accompanies a friend on a school newspaper assignment, she meets a centenarian with a colorful musical past and only one regret in life. This inspires Claire to use her talent in a new way to celebrate the lives of her brothers before it's too late.
Awards, Reviews, and Coverage
"This is a compelling story in whose heroine other struggling teens might see themselves." –Foreword Reviews
"A beautiful story! Lyrical and poignant. Emotional and heart-grabbing." –Skila Brown, award winning author of Caminar
"The stream-of-consciousness narrative allows readers to participate in Claire’s internal struggles, deepening the psychological intensity of the story... This affecting portrait of a family in crisis will win hearts." – Anne O'Malley, Booklist
"an excellent portrayal of a first-hand account of what it’s like to live alongside Batten disease" –LitPick Book Reviews