Thursday, 4 September 2014

Review: Montana in A Minor by Elaine Russell

Cellist Emily Lopez, almost seventeen, feels like a discordant piece of music, full of mismatched notes that make her cringe. First her boyfriend breaks up with her then her dad, a famous symphony conductor, cancels their summer together touring Europe. To top it off, she’s forced to go with her mom and stepdad to a dusty, old cattle ranch in Montana. How will she master an incredibly difficult Saint-Saëns concerto without her dad or cello teacher? She only has seven weeks to prepare for the competition that will determine her future. To a San Francisco girl, Montana feels like the end of the earth. But she soon discovers it is full of surprises after meeting Breck, the summer ranch hand.

Paperback, 170 pages
Published April 27th 2014 by CreateSpace 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book is a YA book that I feel will appeal to the younger of the YA audience. It is a super clean and easy to read story about a teenage girl who is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants out of life when there is pressure from her father to be the best.

Within this short book Emily deals with heartbreak, learning a difficult concerto, disappointment, figuring out her future and a possible new love interest all while staying at a ranch in Montana that is far from what she is use to in San Fransisco.

Emily must master her concerto for an upcoming competition so that she can win and gain early entrance into Julliard but finds it difficult while stuck on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. She is filled with anxiety and some OCD tendencies as well as doubt. Does she really want to go to Julliard early? What will her absentee father think if she doesn't? At the same time she has another distraction from the cute farm hand Breck. Is he being honest with her? Is he just like all the other boys? Can she ignore her attraction to him?

The story itself is cute but because it is so short I did find that some of the issues were rushed or glossed over. I would have liked to have learnt more about Breck and I would also have liked for Emily's OCD to be dealt with in a little more detail. This is coming from my adult mind that likes to dissect and dig deeper into the issues. Young readers will probably not feel the same and find that it is a nice read.

Over all I did like it but feel that younger readers will enjoy it even more.

About the Author
Elaine Russell graduated with a BA in History at University of California, Davis, and an MA in Economics at California State University Sacramento. She worked as a Resource Economist/Environmental Consultant for many years, before turning to writing fiction for adults and children. She became inspired and actively involved with the Hmong immigrant community after meeting Hmong children in her son's school in Sacramento and reading Anne Fadiman's The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Since then, she has visited Laos many times to research her first adult novel, Across the Mekong River, and as a member of the nonprofit organization Legacies of War. She has written and lectured extensively on the history of the civil war in Laos, which resulted in the mass exodous of Hmong and other Laotian refugees, many of whom immigrated to the United States. Her novel Across the Mekong River was a finalist in the Carolina Wren Press 2010 Doris Bakwin Award for adult novels, the Maui Writer's Conference 2003 Rupert Hughes Prose Writing Competition, and the Focus on Writers 2001 Friends of the Sacramento Library Awards.

Her other books include the middle-grade adventure series: Martin McMillan and The Lost Inca City and Martin McMillan and The Secret of the Ruby Elephant.
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