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Music From Standing Waves

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'When I was performing, it didn't matter that I'd handed in a dodgy techniques assignment, or that Justin had slept with Mia instead of me. It didn't matter that my parents didn't want to know me, or that my brother had done a runner with Clara's money. With a bow in my hand I was able to eradicate anything I didn't want to think about. But playing for Matt was different. 'When I was performing, it didn't matter that I'd handed in a dodgy techniques assignment, or that Justin had slept with Mia instead of me. It didn't matter that my parents didn't want to know me, or that my brother had done a runner with Clara's money. With a bow in my hand I was able to eradicate anything I didn't want to think about. But playing for Matt was different. The emotions were his, the secrets and desires his... I never felt closer to him than when I was playing his music.' Music is Abby's lifeline. She dreams of being a concert violinist; escaping her tiny Australian home town- and a disastrous relationship with her childhood best friend Justin. At eighteen, she is given a chance at her dream: a place at the Melbourne Conservatorium. But when she falls for charismatic composer Matt, Abby discovers love for a person can be as consuming as love for music. Their passionate relationship has her questioning everything she thought she ever wanted. Abby realises that to face the future, she must first confront the past; uncovering some uncomfortable truths about herself, her family and the passion that has shaped her life.


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'When I was performing, it didn't matter that I'd handed in a dodgy techniques assignment, or that Justin had slept with Mia instead of me. It didn't matter that my parents didn't want to know me, or that my brother had done a runner with Clara's money. With a bow in my hand I was able to eradicate anything I didn't want to think about. But playing for Matt was different. 'When I was performing, it didn't matter that I'd handed in a dodgy techniques assignment, or that Justin had slept with Mia instead of me. It didn't matter that my parents didn't want to know me, or that my brother had done a runner with Clara's money. With a bow in my hand I was able to eradicate anything I didn't want to think about. But playing for Matt was different. The emotions were his, the secrets and desires his... I never felt closer to him than when I was playing his music.' Music is Abby's lifeline. She dreams of being a concert violinist; escaping her tiny Australian home town- and a disastrous relationship with her childhood best friend Justin. At eighteen, she is given a chance at her dream: a place at the Melbourne Conservatorium. But when she falls for charismatic composer Matt, Abby discovers love for a person can be as consuming as love for music. Their passionate relationship has her questioning everything she thought she ever wanted. Abby realises that to face the future, she must first confront the past; uncovering some uncomfortable truths about herself, her family and the passion that has shaped her life.

30 review for Music From Standing Waves

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Ward

    I loved this gentle story of a young girl, who dreams about becoming a concert violinist and escaping her small town life. This is very much a character driven story, following Abby as she moves to the big city, to follow her dreams by studying at the Melbourne Conservatorium against the wishes of her mother. It is a story about a young girl growing up, her first boyfriends, challenges with her family, encountering the competitive world of the Conservatorium and all the accompanying emotions, wh I loved this gentle story of a young girl, who dreams about becoming a concert violinist and escaping her small town life. This is very much a character driven story, following Abby as she moves to the big city, to follow her dreams by studying at the Melbourne Conservatorium against the wishes of her mother. It is a story about a young girl growing up, her first boyfriends, challenges with her family, encountering the competitive world of the Conservatorium and all the accompanying emotions, which are conveyed through excellent writing. If you happen to enjoy classical music then I suppose there is an extra appeal in the story but I gave up the violin after one year aged twelve and have no musical talent but still really enjoyed this book. After finishing the book, I read the author's bio and wasn't surprised to discover the author had studied at the Conservatorium, as the descriptions of everything about Abby's time studying and playing seemed very authentic. The plot does have a few twists, which add to the interest but mostly it was Abby who kept me turning the pages, wanting to find out what would happen next. A great read which will appeal to readers young and old!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Originally reviewed for http://whisperingstories.com/ - 3.5 stars I would say that Music from Standing Waves by Johanna Craven is, in itself, a musical composition. The notes, the ingredients, they have been disposed upon a previously clear sheet of paper. There’s a particular order to these elements, a rhythm that leads you through the life of Abby, the girl who dreamed of performing her way out – or perhaps her way in. If you want to truly enjoy this novel, you cannot be afraid of getting lost i Originally reviewed for http://whisperingstories.com/ - 3.5 stars I would say that Music from Standing Waves by Johanna Craven is, in itself, a musical composition. The notes, the ingredients, they have been disposed upon a previously clear sheet of paper. There’s a particular order to these elements, a rhythm that leads you through the life of Abby, the girl who dreamed of performing her way out – or perhaps her way in. If you want to truly enjoy this novel, you cannot be afraid of getting lost in it. Better yet, you should be capable of accepting said fear and still taking one gigantic leap of faith. Sometimes that is indeed the only way of finding yourself, of finding Abby. Music from Standing Waves feels… fleeting; there’s a very particular sense of time that I believe is a testament to Johanna Craven’s talent. You see, this book isn’t simply about Abby, this book is Abby. It’s as if the music that composes this book has been written to the rhythm of Abby’s heartbeat, hence the ups and downs, the sometimes odd changes in pace… It all makes sense when you see her, and for that you must not judge her. It was not always easy, I must confess, but as you find yourself struggling to understand her, she is also struggling to understand herself and those who surround her. “Exposed in that my music was a channel for every emotion that coursed through my body. I felt that by listening to me play, someone could see inside me; read my darkest secrets and deepest desires.” I really enjoyed how Johanna Craven tied up some of the loose ends, particularly the ones related to Abby’s family. Sarah and Nick both made wrong choices, but Johanna Craven didn’t abandon them, she didn’t let them fade-out into the concept of villain. Instead, she reminded us readers, and Abby, that at the end of the day we are all human and we all make bad decisions at times. “The music rises, takes me with it. Circles, pulls me in.” The love for music in this book is incredible to the point of being palpable. Even though I have never listened to Matt’s Stratosphere, I don’t think I will ever be able to stop hearing it in my head. A beautiful coming-of-age journey.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Iva Kenaz

    Music From Standing Waves is a very nice, touching, and feel-good novel that takes us on a journey through one unique girl’s life. Abby grew up in a small beach town in Australia, spending her childhood years alongside her best friend, Justin. As they grow up, they realise that their interest in one another is more complicated. They have a good chance of starting a beautiful romance, but Justin simply isn’t as mature as Abby and a bit of a jerk. Also, Abby has big plans for her future and thinks Music From Standing Waves is a very nice, touching, and feel-good novel that takes us on a journey through one unique girl’s life. Abby grew up in a small beach town in Australia, spending her childhood years alongside her best friend, Justin. As they grow up, they realise that their interest in one another is more complicated. They have a good chance of starting a beautiful romance, but Justin simply isn’t as mature as Abby and a bit of a jerk. Also, Abby has big plans for her future and thinks that her plans and dreams wouldn’t go hand in hand with Justin’s. I enjoyed reading this novel very much. The story weaves in different faces of love - being friendship, romance, and love between siblings. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Abby and her brother Nick. I thought her romantic feelings for Justin were very real and I was touched by it. I liked how the author decided to approach that relationship, even in the end. The story really follows Abby as she’s growing up, learning, maturing into a wise, strong woman. Having never been in Australia, I was enticed by the settings. I felt like I’m learning something new about places I’m not familiar with, but would like to visit one day. The novel managed to surprised me, as there were certain things I didn’t expect to happen. And the fact that it wasn’t predictable was what I liked most about it. I look forward to read more books by this author in the future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ruby

    I had this book recommended to me by a friend and really enjoyed it. Even though I'm not a musician, I was really drawn into the story by the very realistic characters. Great for a holiday read. I had this book recommended to me by a friend and really enjoyed it. Even though I'm not a musician, I was really drawn into the story by the very realistic characters. Great for a holiday read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jana Petken

    Poignant and very well written story about Abby, her love for the violin, and her relationships with friends and family. The tale begins with a little bit of a mystery. Abby disembarking the aircraft and wondering whether to leave her precious violin on board. This is not a fast paced roller coaster ride but more of an even paced, page by page development of relationships with various character who are introduced and lovingly developed. I loved the way in which we earn about Abby's inner feelings. Poignant and very well written story about Abby, her love for the violin, and her relationships with friends and family. The tale begins with a little bit of a mystery. Abby disembarking the aircraft and wondering whether to leave her precious violin on board. This is not a fast paced roller coaster ride but more of an even paced, page by page development of relationships with various character who are introduced and lovingly developed. I loved the way in which we earn about Abby's inner feelings. She does not want to end up with a life similar to her mother, Sarah Marie, nor does she want anything like her parents' cold marriage. Not wanting to give too much of the story away, I will leave it there and finish by saying that this was a refreshing, lovely story that will linger with me for a while to come.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Vita Rogers

    I was sceptical about whether I would enjoy this book, as I'm not a musician. But the story and characters really drew me in and I read the book in a few sittings over the bank holiday weekend. I found Abby's drive to achieve her dreams really relatable; and admired her commitment to follow them in spite of family expectations and rural upbringing. Although I must say Acacia Beach didn't seem that bad; I might even visit if I ever get over to Australia! I was sceptical about whether I would enjoy this book, as I'm not a musician. But the story and characters really drew me in and I read the book in a few sittings over the bank holiday weekend. I found Abby's drive to achieve her dreams really relatable; and admired her commitment to follow them in spite of family expectations and rural upbringing. Although I must say Acacia Beach didn't seem that bad; I might even visit if I ever get over to Australia!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Edelmira

    Wow. This book was one heck of a ride. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be a rollercoaster. Its because it made me feel some type of way. I literally felt all kinds of emotions while reading this. This book is about family, finding unexpected love, and chasing your dreams. Overall, the plot was amazing and it got me hooked from start to finish. I couldn't put it down! I love the drama ! It also had a lot of character developments. I appreciate that so much. I love the ending a Wow. This book was one heck of a ride. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be a rollercoaster. Its because it made me feel some type of way. I literally felt all kinds of emotions while reading this. This book is about family, finding unexpected love, and chasing your dreams. Overall, the plot was amazing and it got me hooked from start to finish. I couldn't put it down! I love the drama ! It also had a lot of character developments. I appreciate that so much. I love the ending a whole lot. I did not expect that. Although, I was hoping for an epilogue but it's still okay. I still love it. Honestly, Abby is one of the strongest character in all book history. I feel like giving her a hug just about now and tell her it's okay to chase your dreams even if it hurts the people you love. She went through so much from her childhood to adult years. She is one brave girl and I applaud the author for writing this character. Abby is just so relatable. I adored her so much. I will never forget this book and it deserves another read. A MUST READ ! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ! I give 4 stars ! :) *I was given an ebook copy from New Adult Book Club / Author in exchange for an honest review.*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carissa Lynch

    It's obvious that a musician wrote this book because the words just sing from the page, with such lyrical and beautifully written prose. The opening of this book was magical, with this sense of untold mystery in the air. I was immediately hooked! When Abby hears a violin for the first time, she immediately falls in love with music. Nothing and no one can stop her from pursuing her one life's dream-- to play at the Melbourne Conservatorium. As the story progresses, gliding us through her experien It's obvious that a musician wrote this book because the words just sing from the page, with such lyrical and beautifully written prose. The opening of this book was magical, with this sense of untold mystery in the air. I was immediately hooked! When Abby hears a violin for the first time, she immediately falls in love with music. Nothing and no one can stop her from pursuing her one life's dream-- to play at the Melbourne Conservatorium. As the story progresses, gliding us through her experiences with pursuing her dreams and finding real love in another person, we start to realize that this mystery alluded to in the beginning is something dark and harboring. Abby has to face her demons in order to embrace the life she wants and we, as readers, are dying to discover these secrets for ourselves. I loved this story. It was beautiful and inspirational, with heart-stopping lines that made me want to break out a highlighter. Kudos to the author. This is a terrific read I highly recommend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer D

    This was such an enjoyable and easy read. While the book did at times tackle some quite heavy issues, it was done in such an effortless way that I never felt bogged down by the story. The characters were so real, the situations very believable and the settings very vivid. I read this through the new adult fiction group, but this book could easily be enjoyed by older readers too. Abby's problems were all very relatable and the opening section set in the 1990s made me nostalgic for my own childhoo This was such an enjoyable and easy read. While the book did at times tackle some quite heavy issues, it was done in such an effortless way that I never felt bogged down by the story. The characters were so real, the situations very believable and the settings very vivid. I read this through the new adult fiction group, but this book could easily be enjoyed by older readers too. Abby's problems were all very relatable and the opening section set in the 1990s made me nostalgic for my own childhood! I give it four stars, as I save 5 star reviews for books that totally blow me away, but I have to say I did really enjoy this. Looking forward to reading more by this author. Thanks to the author for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Loiske

    Sometimes you have to go far to see the truth… Abby is a small town girl with big dreams. In spite of her horrible mother who does everything in her power to stop Abby from reaching her dreams, Abby decides to try her luck and moves to Melbourne. However, the grass rarely is greener on the other side… This is a gem for young adult readers. Something different… A book that matters… The language is vivid and the writing style easy going. Love for music is leaking through the pages, and you can almos Sometimes you have to go far to see the truth… Abby is a small town girl with big dreams. In spite of her horrible mother who does everything in her power to stop Abby from reaching her dreams, Abby decides to try her luck and moves to Melbourne. However, the grass rarely is greener on the other side… This is a gem for young adult readers. Something different… A book that matters… The language is vivid and the writing style easy going. Love for music is leaking through the pages, and you can almost hear the voice of a violin as Abby concentrates on her music. This book has a taste of life in it, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes quality growing up stories or/and books by John Green.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Paulette Mahurin

    This beautifully written lyrical prose starts out with the protagonist Abby disembarking from a plane, arriving in Australia. There’s a moment when she thinks of leaving her violin in the storage compartment lending an air of mystery. Why would she want to do that and what happened to provoke it? A good start that grabs attention. As the story progresses, characters are introduced: Justin her childhood BFF; Andrew her piano teacher; Andrew’s wife Hayley the glamour girl from a rich family, and N This beautifully written lyrical prose starts out with the protagonist Abby disembarking from a plane, arriving in Australia. There’s a moment when she thinks of leaving her violin in the storage compartment lending an air of mystery. Why would she want to do that and what happened to provoke it? A good start that grabs attention. As the story progresses, characters are introduced: Justin her childhood BFF; Andrew her piano teacher; Andrew’s wife Hayley the glamour girl from a rich family, and Nick-Abby’s’ older brother, the parents, etc. The writing is smooth sailing with metaphors and descriptions that resound on scenes that come alive. Descriptions like, “Music gives love a voice then rips out its vocal cords and kicks them to the gutter,” not only lend to the richness of the writing but portend the story of what was, obviously something painful. The pain is interjected in tiny samplings allowing the story to unfold in a gentle yet compelling way. The story continues in a sweet slow pace developing the characters and relationships with hints of what may come. Abby’s performance at the High School and she proclaims she’s going to be a concert pianist. A closer view at her parents, John her father and particularly her mother Sarah-Marie, reveals there is not much love lost between them with descriptions like their marriage of convenience had marriage vows that ended in a handshake. Her mother vehemently protests Abby’s love for playing the violin for some unknown reason that the reader doesn’t find out about until the very last gut-wrenching pages. So convincing is the writing we ache for Abby when she yearns to get away, determined that her mother’s “colorless life” wouldn’t be hers. As the mother’s resistance surfaces to Abby going away to study under a more experienced teacher, her relationship with Justin blossoms from a kiss, to a grazing of her breast, to the proclamation that he has become “her boyfriend.” As Abby ages things change not all for the good. Her mother continues to protest her violin playing and when Abby has finally had enough she challenges her mother by playing to her in their kitchen. The outcome is shocking and motivates Abby all the more, to become a concert performer and leave. The conflict is created and the story moves on with the tension rising. More characters are introduced (Jess, the friend, and Clara, the snob, John the teacher, Brown dog, and Matt the love interest and from whom we learn and understand what the clever title of this book is all about, etc.); there are the good guys who support Abby and those creating barriers. Will she overcome the barriers? What choice will she make about her future? And how will it all turn out? The reader will be asking these questions while turning the pages and… No spoilers here. The ending is unexpected right till the last page. Unexpected but satisfying with the reality of the writing. Reading this story is like reading a diary of a great grandmother I never met. It is so familiar, inviting curiosity into something unfolding to give me an understanding of a person/persons I’ve never met but yet oddly enough really want to get to know. The writing is endearing, and reminiscent of some of the classics (like George Elliot’s “The Mill on the Floss). A well-written prose that does not disappoint.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Kelly

    A novel about a girl from a remote little town in Australia who begins taking violin lessons and develops a real passion for music. There are a large number of themes running through the book, each one becoming predominant at times, but all ever-present, blending in the story of Abby's life, relationships and decisions. There's the theme of artistic obsession. I've never been able to play an instrument, but I'm a great lover of music and I can certainly understand creative obsession. And it's an o A novel about a girl from a remote little town in Australia who begins taking violin lessons and develops a real passion for music. There are a large number of themes running through the book, each one becoming predominant at times, but all ever-present, blending in the story of Abby's life, relationships and decisions. There's the theme of artistic obsession. I've never been able to play an instrument, but I'm a great lover of music and I can certainly understand creative obsession. And it's an obsession that others never quite understand; even the most well-meaning and supportive friends will never be as passionate about your projects as you are yourself. There's the tug of war between technical expertise and pure passion, the need to conform to received opinion and practice contrasted with the desire to pursue new and exciting projects. There's homesickness, the lure of the comfortable and familiar, even if it means giving up your dream. All of these rise, fall and resurge within the various stages of the novel. Abby - like me - is one of those people who finds it difficult to say no, and soon finds herself overwhelmed with the amount of things she is expected to invest her time in, the inevitable consequence being that all areas begin to suffer, as she does herself. And inevitably, every decision she makes is perceived as being selfish and unreasonable by someone else, whose goals and dreams differ from her own. There are several crucial decision points within the story. What makes these particularly satisfying is that none of them are black and white, right or wrong, decisions. As I think about them now, any of these decisions could have been made differently and taken Abby down a different route, which would not necessarily have been better or worse than the one she took; just different. This is refreshing in a book, because this is what real life decisions are like. Ultimately, the story is a good one, a very human one, and keeps the interest riveted throughout. The ending was the one I had come to hope for as the story unfolded (I won't spoil it here) and the overriding message of the book is that we must make our own choices to pursue our passions, but be sure to remember the reasons we do the things we do.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hunter

    This is a lovely story of a girl with a passion for music. She grows up in a sleepy corner of Australia that she feels suffocated by. She’s bored. There’s nothing here for her. And music is her only escape. Ironically, what she’s recoiling from, many of us would consider paradise. The charm of the local characters, scenery, and culture of the Australian province, the slices of travel literature that sneak up on you through the pages, makes the world the lead character wants to escape very much o This is a lovely story of a girl with a passion for music. She grows up in a sleepy corner of Australia that she feels suffocated by. She’s bored. There’s nothing here for her. And music is her only escape. Ironically, what she’s recoiling from, many of us would consider paradise. The charm of the local characters, scenery, and culture of the Australian province, the slices of travel literature that sneak up on you through the pages, makes the world the lead character wants to escape very much one we want to inhabit. This makes for a good bit of fun in the reading and for easy immersion in the story. Fans of music get to inhabit the mind of an artist, to struggle along with her through her process of being and becoming. Beyond the travel-lit dimension of the story, this is the other dimension enfolded within each page. The coming of age story of an artist, I would like to think, being one myself, is ripe with insights into our humanity and what it means to live a life consciously and with passion. Something not everyone achieves. Whether our heroine has something to teach you or just ways of validating your own experiences and lessons learned, it’s a worthwhile read. Abby’s struggles with her family dynamic, and a mother who vehemently doesn’t want her to pursue her dream, are all too easy to empathize with. On the one hand she sees the price paid by her mother, living a colorless life in a loveless marriage. This is the path of people who settle. But in pursuing her dreams, she risks complete failure, and sacrificing any life at all for her music. At no time is that fear greater than when she actually reaches the music conservatory and realizes what she’s up against.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Young

    Music From Standing Waves is a coming-of-age novel with added grit — the health warning comes at the outset, as it really isn’t for anyone who can’t take a lot of swearing. If you can get through the realism then it’s a good and gripping read, detailing young Abby’s love affair with the violin and the way music takes her from a small town in Queensland to studying music in Melbourne. Johanna Craven is a terrific, engaging writer and the story holds the reader from the beginning as Abby stumbles Music From Standing Waves is a coming-of-age novel with added grit — the health warning comes at the outset, as it really isn’t for anyone who can’t take a lot of swearing. If you can get through the realism then it’s a good and gripping read, detailing young Abby’s love affair with the violin and the way music takes her from a small town in Queensland to studying music in Melbourne. Johanna Craven is a terrific, engaging writer and the story holds the reader from the beginning as Abby stumbles through the difficulties of adolescence and early adulthood and the competing challenges of love (if it is love) and ambition. The cast of characters who occupy her two lives, the city and the back of beyond, are all colourful, well-drawn. And the plot keeps you guessing as well. Will Abby choose hometown Justin or metropolitan Matt, or will it be her love of music that prevails? I like a sympathetic protagonist in a book and so I confess that I found it difficult to warm to Abby. Though believable I didn’t find her engaging: she’s too self-obsessed and lacks empathy. When those around her — her brother Nick, her friend Hayley and even her mother — confide in her or reveal their secrets she proves unsympathetic and more concerned with what things mean for herself. In the hands of a weaker writer I might not have cared but the story is so well-told that I kept reading — and, in the end, thoroughly enjoyed it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Grant Leishman

    Being someone who is musically challenged, I was a little concerned when I first picked up Craven's book, Music From Standing Waves. Would I understand it or would it be too muso. for me? I needn't have worried on either score. What it was was a wonderful story about a young girl from "the back of beyond" in Australia, who dreamed of one day playing the great concert halls of the world, as a concert violinist. The story was beautifully written and the characters well developed and complex. We fo Being someone who is musically challenged, I was a little concerned when I first picked up Craven's book, Music From Standing Waves. Would I understand it or would it be too muso. for me? I needn't have worried on either score. What it was was a wonderful story about a young girl from "the back of beyond" in Australia, who dreamed of one day playing the great concert halls of the world, as a concert violinist. The story was beautifully written and the characters well developed and complex. We followed Abby from tiny, little Acacia Bay to the bright lights of the Melbourne Music Conservatorium and lived through the pain and angst that goes with such a competitive, driven place. The author kept us guessing right until the very end, as to how this journey would end up and that really was part of the immense pleasure of reading this book. This really is a fantastic read and I had no hesitation in awarding it the five stars I did. Craven has done a wonderful job of educating even the musically illiterate about something she clearly knows a lot about herself. I noted the author had indeed attended the Conservatorium (Con.) and was able to impart her considerable knowledge of the place and its routines. An excellent work and one I would recommend to anyone. Well done!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Craven

    This book caught my eye and I decided to review it because I adore classical music, the violin especially! I absolutely loved this book! It was such and unexpected find and I'm so glad I picked it up. Abby is a strong willed, determined young woman, but she's still flawed and struggles to find the right path for her life. Her passion for music is as admirable as her determination to make something of herself. As a reader, I'm always looking for female leads like Abby because she is a great examp This book caught my eye and I decided to review it because I adore classical music, the violin especially! I absolutely loved this book! It was such and unexpected find and I'm so glad I picked it up. Abby is a strong willed, determined young woman, but she's still flawed and struggles to find the right path for her life. Her passion for music is as admirable as her determination to make something of herself. As a reader, I'm always looking for female leads like Abby because she is a great example for young readers to look up to. Well done Johanna Craven! My only hesitation with giving that elusive five star rating is the pace of the book. It's long, and while the story maintained my interest, I felt it could have reached the climatic end much sooner than it actually did. I also had a LOT of trouble with Abby's romantic indecision later in the story. I loved that she questioned the path she was on professionally, but it almost felt like she was making her decisions based on which guy she wanted to be with in the end. That situation rectified itself when she got her head on straight, but it was worrisome and very uncharacteristic of her there for a while. Overall, a solid, excellently written story for the music lover.

  17. 4 out of 5

    E.M. Cooper

    I absolutely loved ‘Music from Standing Waves’ and I’m wondering how I can do it justice. It’s wonderful. It brims with so much life and feeling and is so well written. When I learned the author, Johanna Craven is a musician I began to understand how she was able to capture the contrasting atmospheres of both Acacia Beach and the Melbourne Conservatorium and why her writing style is so lyrical and musical. The tale follows the struggles of a talented musician, a young Australian girl living in Ac I absolutely loved ‘Music from Standing Waves’ and I’m wondering how I can do it justice. It’s wonderful. It brims with so much life and feeling and is so well written. When I learned the author, Johanna Craven is a musician I began to understand how she was able to capture the contrasting atmospheres of both Acacia Beach and the Melbourne Conservatorium and why her writing style is so lyrical and musical. The tale follows the struggles of a talented musician, a young Australian girl living in Acacia Beach in Northern Queensland. The story moves from a background of cicadas, frogs and outboard motors to the competitive and soul destroying music school in Melbourne. Abby has so much to contend with as she battles to break free from emotional family restraints and faces adult relationships and demands in suburban Melbourne. The author has realistically captured the fears and experiences of young people moving to a big city to pursue dreams at university and discovering how complex and difficult life can be. The twists near the end of the plot with her mother are fantastic. Abby is such a likeable character and as the story reached its climax, I churned through the pages hoping she would hold onto her dreams. What a great book. I highly recommend it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Gates

    I thought that the 'standing waves' of the title related to the the narrator's childhood. Abby grew up in what sounds and feels like an idyllic setting in coastal north Queensland where rainforest meets sea. But no, it refers to music or more specifically sound waves. And it's the tension between home and music that is the nub of Craven's novel. The first half deals with Abby's desperation to escape the small world of Acacia Beach -- her musical talent is her ticket out. But when music becomes a I thought that the 'standing waves' of the title related to the the narrator's childhood. Abby grew up in what sounds and feels like an idyllic setting in coastal north Queensland where rainforest meets sea. But no, it refers to music or more specifically sound waves. And it's the tension between home and music that is the nub of Craven's novel. The first half deals with Abby's desperation to escape the small world of Acacia Beach -- her musical talent is her ticket out. But when music becomes a serious business, the urge to give it all up and flee to the certainty of home seems like a good idea. There is an authenticity to Craven's writing which puts the reader right beside Abby whether she's swimming in a rockpool or standing on a stage. I very much enjoyed 'Music from Standing Waves'; now I want to hear what it sounds like.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marian Thornley

    I love it when I read a book that captures my thoughts all day long - that is what happened with this book, and I almost completed it in one sitting. Abigail takes us through her childhood in a remote town in Northern Queensland - her longing to escape; the increasing role of music in her life; the awkwardness of her relationship with the boy next door. The weather plays such a role here it is almost another character. When Abigail moves on by means of a scholarship to a prestigious music school I love it when I read a book that captures my thoughts all day long - that is what happened with this book, and I almost completed it in one sitting. Abigail takes us through her childhood in a remote town in Northern Queensland - her longing to escape; the increasing role of music in her life; the awkwardness of her relationship with the boy next door. The weather plays such a role here it is almost another character. When Abigail moves on by means of a scholarship to a prestigious music school in Melbourne we travel with her, hoping she will achieve her dreams. The description of the stifling atmosphere and competitiveness of the music school is so good I thought while reading it that it could only have been written by someone who had experienced it first hand, and indeed reading the author bio, so it proved to be. A wonderful, emotional, lyrically written book. Loved it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colin Griffiths

    I loved this book. Not my usual genre but I really loved it. For me the style of writing is perfect for such a beautifully written story. I loved the main character Abbey as she chases her dreams and the events that sometimes come between her and those dreams. I loved the journey that the author created for her and the love hate relationship with her parents, particularly her mother. In some ways it was like reading someone's memoirs because the main character was so real I'm sure she actually e I loved this book. Not my usual genre but I really loved it. For me the style of writing is perfect for such a beautifully written story. I loved the main character Abbey as she chases her dreams and the events that sometimes come between her and those dreams. I loved the journey that the author created for her and the love hate relationship with her parents, particularly her mother. In some ways it was like reading someone's memoirs because the main character was so real I'm sure she actually exists. The descriptions in this book are superb. Music from standing waves is not just a novel for music lovers, it's an even paced beautiful story of a young girl chasing her dreams and challenges. I loved every page, I could see this easily as a film.

  21. 4 out of 5

    May Panayi

    This was a surprisingly good book; I did not expect to like it anywhere near as much as I did. I could hardly put it down. As a child I played second violin in the music school orchestra myself, so it brought back some memories, but my similarities ended there. Though I do know all about un-supportive parents in other ways. I shouted at the book a couple of times, willing Abby not to answer her phone at one point. The characterisation is brilliant, you really feel involved in Abby's life. Not th This was a surprisingly good book; I did not expect to like it anywhere near as much as I did. I could hardly put it down. As a child I played second violin in the music school orchestra myself, so it brought back some memories, but my similarities ended there. Though I do know all about un-supportive parents in other ways. I shouted at the book a couple of times, willing Abby not to answer her phone at one point. The characterisation is brilliant, you really feel involved in Abby's life. Not the outcome I'd have wanted, but realistic nonetheless. Life isn't perfect and even the highly gifted have it hard. A gripping great read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Reg Shell

    Highly Recommended I chose Music From Standing Waves because of my love for historical fiction and my country Australia. The settings of far north Australia contrasted in an interesting way with the Melbourne Music Conservatorium. I have personal knowledge of both, northern Australia and Melbourne's classical music world, and feel that the author Johanna Craven successfully captures the surroundings as well as the sensitivity of characters in this superb novel. Highly Recommended I chose Music From Standing Waves because of my love for historical fiction and my country Australia. The settings of far north Australia contrasted in an interesting way with the Melbourne Music Conservatorium. I have personal knowledge of both, northern Australia and Melbourne's classical music world, and feel that the author Johanna Craven successfully captures the surroundings as well as the sensitivity of characters in this superb novel.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Davis Galimberti

    A very enjoyable light read. Would recommend to those who are musically inclined, children of the 80/90s or have a general interest in Australia. The author captures really well the tension between one's aspirations in life and their heritage/family background and associated inhibitions. Would recommend. A very enjoyable light read. Would recommend to those who are musically inclined, children of the 80/90s or have a general interest in Australia. The author captures really well the tension between one's aspirations in life and their heritage/family background and associated inhibitions. Would recommend.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Kincaid

    Took awhile to get into the story but once I did I found that I could relate to the story. Wonderful story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Arditi

    Stunning! A story of passion, regrets and hope. A young woman led by her fierce love for music and a desperate need to escape her small town and small minded family. Highly recommend it...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Doughty

    This is a great story from a different perspective - a young musician who wants to be a professional soloist goes after her dream, but it's not as easy and fun as she thought it would be. Abby's dream begins when she is 12 years old, and the reader follows the story until she's 20. I appreciated the depictions of music, skills, dedication, hard work, and the choices that need to be made when trying to become a professional musician. I also enjoyed the description of the small town mentality vs t This is a great story from a different perspective - a young musician who wants to be a professional soloist goes after her dream, but it's not as easy and fun as she thought it would be. Abby's dream begins when she is 12 years old, and the reader follows the story until she's 20. I appreciated the depictions of music, skills, dedication, hard work, and the choices that need to be made when trying to become a professional musician. I also enjoyed the description of the small town mentality vs the large city mentality. The cast of characters felt authentic and genuine. There were parts of the writing that were quite jarring and disruptive to the flow. Several times every chapter, there is a time jump with no space delineation. The paragraphs just flow together even though there is no transition or acknowledgement that we are skipping ahead hours or days. This is definitely worth the read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dominique Kyle

    This is a wonderful book, all hemmed about with the claustrophobia of living in a small community and spending your whole life dreaming of getting out. I was so invested in the heroine that I actually had to stop reading the book at about 95% of the way through because I was so agonised by the bad choices she was making that I could no longer bear the suspense of whether I was going to be disappointed in her final fate. If I hate the ending of a book then I throw it at the wall, and since I was This is a wonderful book, all hemmed about with the claustrophobia of living in a small community and spending your whole life dreaming of getting out. I was so invested in the heroine that I actually had to stop reading the book at about 95% of the way through because I was so agonised by the bad choices she was making that I could no longer bear the suspense of whether I was going to be disappointed in her final fate. If I hate the ending of a book then I throw it at the wall, and since I was reading this on a kindle, it could have been an expensive ending. However, it ended in a satisfying enough way to save me the need to shop for a new reading device. Don’t nibble this book around the edges, it’s a piece of writing worth devouring in a few short sittings to stay with the emotional intensity.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

    I had such high hopes for this book. After seeing how highly praised it was and the amazing reviews, I expected to get sucked into it. However, I was disappointed. It wasn’t an awful book, but I definitely did not find it super captivating or interesting. I probably wouldn’t recommend this one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ely

    Originally posted at Tea & Titles *A copy of this book was supplied to us by the author in exchange for an honest review. I’m writing this review immediately after finishing Music From Standing Waves—my mind is racing a million miles a minute. Basically, I can’t promise that this is going to make any sense but I’m going to try my best to explain how much I loved this book. The moment I opened the e-mail from Johanna, I knew this book was going to be my cup of tea. It’s set half in Queensland, half Originally posted at Tea & Titles *A copy of this book was supplied to us by the author in exchange for an honest review. I’m writing this review immediately after finishing Music From Standing Waves—my mind is racing a million miles a minute. Basically, I can’t promise that this is going to make any sense but I’m going to try my best to explain how much I loved this book. The moment I opened the e-mail from Johanna, I knew this book was going to be my cup of tea. It’s set half in Queensland, half in my home city of Melbourne. It’s about music. I was completely sold. I’m not a musician myself, but I’ve always loved books about music and art. I’m really interested, and awed, by the dedication needed to succeed. More than that, I love reading about characters with big ambitions, but I’ll go more into that later on in the review. I loved reading about Melbourne. I’ve only read a few, and so the excitement of actually knowing the streets mentioned hasn’t worn off yet. There’s a part in the book where the characters are walking down Lygon Street, and I could the atmosphere perfectly. I love being able to do that—it makes the story that much more real to me. I don’t know how I would have felt about this story without the familiar setting. The characters are great. Abby is definitely the one I connect the most with. She’d incredible ambitious, which is something I definitely understand. I might not be into music, but I understand her need to succeed. Just like Abby, I’d never give up my dreams for someone else. I haven’t read about a character that I’ve connected with on that level for a long time—it was very refreshing. She wasn’t without faults, of course. She made some really stupid decisions, but that’s what made her so realistic. I honestly felt like I was reading about a real person. I also really liked Abby’s friendship with Jess. They just had a really great relationship, which I’m always up for in books. I have to admit, I don’t know a lot about violin, but I think that aspect of it was great. I was never bored by the details we were given, and I could understand what was going on even if I didn’t know the specific pieces. I am actually really interested to look up the pieces Abby played so that I can get a real sense of them. I probably could’ve done it while I was reading the book, but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. I even lost track of time, and was incredibly surprised that it was a lot later than I thought it was when I actually finished. I felt like it just flew by so quickly, and I didn’t want it to end at all. I would definitely recommend to this book to all of you, especially my fellow Melbournians. It’s a really incredible story so I hope some of you will pick it up in the future so we can fangirl together. Thank you to Johanna for sending me a copy of this beautiful book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    Wow! I loved it! I loved Abby’s story so much that I read the book literally in two evenings. It is such an inspiring story which I’m sure can resonate with so many young people, who are trying to find their path in life. It’s a story of a teenage girl living in suburban Australia… and hating it. She feels miserable, confined in a tiny community when all she dreams about is becoming a famous violin player and performing with an orchestra in a big city. Despite her mother’s resentment to her musi Wow! I loved it! I loved Abby’s story so much that I read the book literally in two evenings. It is such an inspiring story which I’m sure can resonate with so many young people, who are trying to find their path in life. It’s a story of a teenage girl living in suburban Australia… and hating it. She feels miserable, confined in a tiny community when all she dreams about is becoming a famous violin player and performing with an orchestra in a big city. Despite her mother’s resentment to her music and her teenage best friend turning into her first boyfriend, Justin, reproaching her that she puts her music before everything, Abby’s teacher Andrew keeps pushing her towards her dream, partly because he can recognize her incredible talent and partly because he had to abandon his own career to take care of his new family. Through a lot of struggle Abby finally gets into the Conservatorium, but now she has to face even a bigger challenge – her own fears, fears that she’s not good enough, that it’s not what she really wanted, fear not to get anywhere and lose everything on her way. But isn’t that what every dream is about, the ultimate sacrifice which one has to make to prove to the world and to oneself that the dream was worth it? I was biting my nails towards the end of the book, when Abby was asking herself all those questions, and I couldn’t be happier with her decision (which I’m not going to give away). A highly inspiring novel, which I will definitely be re-reading many times.

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