Behind These Hands
Linda Vigen Phillips
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
"a richly woven, unforgettable symphony of feelings and words" -Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
Piano prodigy Claire Fairchild, 14, has always known music would be her life. So when she has the opportunity to enter a prestigious contest, she goes all in - until she realizes she's also competing against Juan, a close childhood friend and one of the most talented musicians she knows. It doesn't help that her thoughts about him are turning romantic.
"Juan on the flute,
me on the piano,
there can be
The thought of this
not being a good idea
gives me more butterflies
than the thought of
performing my own composition."
When Claire and her family receive a devastating blow from rare, always fatal Batten disease, her world enters a tailspin. Claire decides her musical goals no longer seem relevant.
"I can't do music anymore.
I don't want to do it anymore...
The bomb that just landed in
our living room threatens to blow up
in my face.
The silence is deafening,
the stunned looks are frozen."
She can't reconcile the joy that music would bring to her life while her brothers succumb to an early and ugly death. Her decision puts everything at risk: her friendship with Juan, her parents' expectations, and her own happiness.
"My hands aren't the same hands
Even my friends feel different."
After Claire accompanies a friend on a school newspaper assignment, she meets a centenarian with a surprising musical past and only one regret in life. Claire knows something in her life has to change before it's too late, but she's not sure she has the courage to take the next step.
Recommended for readers of Jason Reynolds, Kenzi Hart, Elizabeth Acevedo, Kwame Alexander, McCall Hoyle, and Julie Buxbaum.
"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)
"This is a compelling story in whose heroine other struggling teens might see themselves." (Foreword Reviews)
"Linda Vigen Phillips's lyrical language paints a vivid picture of a world colored by a crushing disease... You'll discover, along with Phillips's teenage heroine, how to face the prospect of losing someone you love and still face the day." (Laura King Edwards, author, speaker, and co-founder of Taylor's Tale, the world's leading charity focused on eradicating infantile Batten disease)
"A beautiful story! Lyrical and poignant.... You'll have a hard time putting down this novel in verse." (Skila Brown, Award winning author of Caminar)