(N.B. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley)
The only constant in Riley’s life has been the love and support of her older brother, Aidan. The two endured childhoods that would’ve crushed many kids’ souls, but as a team, they endured.
As childhood ended, Aidan moved on to his further adventures, and Riley found an outlet for her own passion and genius through her virtuosity on the cello, which earned her a scholarship to The University of Texas.
It’s at UT where Riley is really left on her own, with her big brother away. She clings to him as her only source of protection at first, but soon–with the help of new friends (and her first love)–Riley finds she can endure her past, and even face the most-crushing blow yet.
It would be difficult to write a huge synopsis, and not give away too many spoilers, so I’ll leave that to the other summaries and reviews you might read.
“The Melody of Light” is a two-fold tale. First, we have Riley dealing with PTSD from a nightmare of child abuse, something she’s only handled previously with help from her brother, Aidan. The second story is Riley dealing with her own romantic awakening. During her freshman year at UT, she finds herself torn between two women–one the brashly sexy Tori, the other the nerdily cute Beth.
For me, the book really picked up once we got Riley to college. It has nothing to do with her new girlfriends, or anything salacious as that. It’s simply that Riley seemed to blossom as a character once she started making her own way through life.
Big brother Aidan was there as much as possible to lend support, but in the end, it was her friends–and girlfriend–who saved her.
This book works well as a YA Romance, especially for LGBT readers, for whom there is a tragic shortage of decent fare. Some of the early scenes seem to drag with Riley at one age, then the next chapter zooms her ahead six or seven years. That aside, I liked the pacing of the book, and most of the characters were pretty well-drawn (though one I won’t name seemed a bit cliched to me).
The last quarter or so of “The Melody of Light” dragged the bow pretty hard across the heartstrings, but then again, isn’t that what a romance is supposed to do?