The Mead Sisters Review Broken Strings by Maria Farrer

Title: broken strings maria farrerBroken Strings

Author: Maria Farrer

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 352 pages

Published by: Scholastic

Source: received for review (thanks, Scholastic!)


It is the story of a brilliant young violinist, her determination and struggle to achieve her dreams and the discovery that she is at the center of an extraordinary secret that has pulled apart her family for two generations. Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother – estranged from her family since Jess’s mother fell pregnant – shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother’s rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart.

Today I’m going to be reviewing this book with my charming sister Sophie.

You may have heard things about her. For instance that a) when we watch movies together, I’m not allowed to pick animated movies or Harry Potter.

But you also might have heard that b) she bought me books for my birthday, so I guess she’s alright.

Sophie: and c) I give the best book reviews

Emily: you wish. Anyway, let’s talk about Broken Strings. You gave it five stars.

Sophie: ya

Emily: so first of all we have our main character, Jess, who is kind of a brat (like Sophie, incidentally). She’s sarcastic in the most pigheaded way possible, and runs off with her grandmother to play violin after never having met this woman in her life.

Sophie: I liked the sarcasm, but she was kind of a wuss. And a user. Like, she only went off with her grandmother because she had the money to fuel her dream. Otherwise, why else would she have gone? But she also had tantrums about her music teacher and god knows what else and it’s just very annoying, and unusual, seeing as though she has such a sarcastic, independent personality.

Emily: This is the point where we find gifs.


(our character Jess)

Emily: So you gave it five stars, which is two more stars than I did, which means you must have liked it. (dear readers, she’s given 5 stars to only like 8 books in her lifetime, so this is kind of a big deal)

Sophie: More like 15.

Emily: *types this*

Sophie: How dare you. I really didn’t like Stefan, one of the male leads, and I also didn’t really like Charlie, the other male lead.

Emily: Oh my gosh, woman, what DID you like about this book?

Sophie: I dunno. I just liked reading it and it was a quick read and idk.

Emily: My eloquent sister, everyone.

Sophie: I’m very articulate.

Emily: Hmmm…….anyway, so this book has a lot of music. Unlike my dear sister, who gave up piano when it got too hard (boo hoo)…

Sophie: It wasn’t too hard, I just hated my teacher. What was her name again?

Emily: That’s not nice. Anyway, I didn’t give up piano, and even though piano is a bit different to violin (ha, a BIT) I really enjoyed the musical aspect of this.

Sophie: Hmm no. I found that part the most frustrating because I didn’t understand a word. I mean, I could tell that Farrer was dumbing it down for everyone to understand but some of it is just not understandable to someone who doesn’t play an instrument. Jess often talks about how she needs to feel the music, and that’s just not comprehensible (I don’t even know if that word fits there, whatever).

Emily: Sophie’s not the writer in the family.

Sophie: K. The thing I think I liked about the book was that it may be really unrealistic in parts (running off with a grandmother you’ve never met), but the struggles she deals with are all too real, like her parents’ struggles with money, the lack of friends she has, Jess’ ambition and her relationship with her family.

Emily: I also really enjoyed the parts where Jess wasn’t Classical Music Jess but instead Not Classical Music Jess. You could tell from her (very whiny) interior monologues that despite how much she loves violin, she’s also stifled by it, and her escape from that was one of my favourite parts to read about. In many parts, it’s a well-crafted story about growing up and music and family – and, of course, second chances.

Sophie: Also, (kind of spoilers), there’s kind of a love triangle in the book but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

Emily: Plus, both guys were completely boring and didn’t do anything for me.

Sophie: That wasn’t the end of my sentence. I was GOING to say that there is also the adoration between Jess’ grandmother and one of her good friends, Mr Ritchie, which I found completely fantastic to read.

Emily: YES, MR RITCHIE. He was my favourite character. This is one thing we agree on…right?

Sophie: shoosh

Emily: Don’t mind her. She just can’t admit that sometimes we agree on things. Like how amazing Harry Potter is.

Sophie: Lies. But I’ll give you the Mr Ritchie thing. In a book which was often all about the problems in Jess’ life and could become very involved sometimes, he was a refreshing character who could turn any situation around.

Emily: So there you have it. That’s our joint thoughts on Broken Strings by Maria Farrer. Would you do another review with me, Sophie? I’m anticipating her answer. It might look something like this:


Sophie: As long as it isn’t a stupid book.

Emily: I keep telling her to read Flirty Dancing but apparently she’d be embarrassed to be seen reading it.

Sophie: If I ever end up reading it, I’m actually just going to put a dust jacket on it.

Emily: (she’s horrible, isn’t she?) But in all seriousness, she just finished Dorothy Must Die and we’ll be reviewing that together because it was “okay.” Also, she’s now nagging me to read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer which is, in her words, “fantastic.” (she doesn’t have a very large vocabulary because she’s inferior to me in every way). Any last words, Sophie?

Sophie: Ruuuuuuuuuude. Also, I’m not reviewing Dorothy Must Die until you finish Unbecoming.

Emily: there you go, folks.

Sophie’s Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties


Emily’s Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties


Sophie wishes me to inform you that she’ll answer all questions for her in the comments. Also, here is her ugly (Sophie: beautiful) mug so you can put a face to the words:

beautifulEmily: Sophie is a 15-year-old person with crazy hair and no soul. She hardly ever reads the same books as me, but when she does, she steals them from my bookshelves without telling me. To my surprise she also likes cute books. And paranormal. (ugh paranormal…I’m joking…I occasionally like paranormal). Even in her five star reviews she is harsh, as you can see.

Sophie: I read many books, although not as many as Emily, and I have a very limited range of things that I actually like. As Emily said, I like both teen romance and paranormal, so when there’s a combination of the two I tend to get very excited. (wink wink Mara Dyer, ANY Cat Patrick book, The Trylle Trilogy (Amanda Hocking), Cursed (Armentrout), and Divergent.)

Look out for more joint reviews every few weeks!


20 thoughts on “The Mead Sisters Review Broken Strings by Maria Farrer

  1. Hi Sophie!
    I understand how you feel about the sibling thing. Sisters are, um…interesting. Yes. That’s one word for it. Fabulous review, BTW. I just might end up picking up this book!

    Hi Emily!
    I was just talking to (AT?) your sister about, um, how amazing sisters are. Obviously. So, as always, amazing review!

  2. This was pretty great. I’m trying to get my younger sister into reading the sames books I read, but seeing as she’s eight we have a long way to go. :p

    The story sounds interesting enough. Not sure if I’m that into it though- the meh love interests kind of kill it for me.

    I love reviews like this so great job, girls!

    • Hahaha, yeah, my sister and I are only a year and a half apart, so it’s a BIT easier. If you don’t like meh love interests…well I mean, there’s a lot of other stuff too, so you might still enjoy it, I guess? But yeah, it wasn’t the BEST book I’ve ever read.

  3. Yay for joint reviews!!! HEY SOPHIE! I loved both of your collaboration here…although you seriously gave it 5, Sophie?! Wow. Emily, I’m with you on that tantrum gif. x)

    I gave it 2-stars and I was all-round pretty disappointed. Jess was just rude so much, and EXACTLY she was completely using her grandma. And the fact that her grandma even did that was extremely petty. Plus I found heaps of violinist-esque mistakes (I played once upon a long time ago) and I agree, I didn’t really feel into the music at all. For a book about music, it never FELT it. Ugh to both the love-interests. I feel bad for the driver-one (oh darn I’ve forgotten his name) because as soon as Jess had no need for him he practically dropped out of the book. Poor chap. The way Jess only used people she “needed” was very frustrating. 😦

    Loved reading this!! XD

    • I know, right? She’s crazy. Craaaazy I tell you (also Sophie refuses to reply to comments so I get to say what I want about her). I think there are better books about music, to be honest. Like If I Stay, which I didn’t LOVE, but certainly liked more than this. Jess was a bit of an annoying character, I agree.

  4. I would LOVE more joint reviews! Haha, this was awesome! 🙂 It’s so interesting to see how your opinions differ from each others’. I think this will most likely be a novel I won’t buy, but borrow from the library or something. I mean, I guess I’m interested in it, you know? But I’ve now read quite a few conflicting things where I’m not sure if it’s something I’d actually enjoy. So yeah. Overall: I demand more joint reviews! 😉

    • Yay! Well, Sophie won’t let me until I’ve finished this Mara Dyer book, but…eventually. Eventually. This book isn’t the best out there, but it’s a nice quick read and quite enjoyable, so yeah – maybe a library will have it (although I’m sure you have a TBR mountain like me!)

  5. Hehe I enjoyed the personality behind both of you guys in the joint discussion. I haven’t picked up Broken Strings yet but interesting to see that it was a bit complicated for your non-musos (like me). The love triangle doesn’t sound very promising though, if you found the guys boring. Great discussion ladies!

    • Mostly MY personality, right? Not Sophie’s? 😛 I read this in the school holidays when I had some time on my hands, and it was a nice quick read, so that’s good. But looking back I don’t think it was too impressive, hence the 3 stars.

  6. A joint review is such a fun idea!
    This book sounds really interesting, and I can really connect to it because I also play the violin. I mean, I kinda suck at it, but I know my way around a fiddle nonetheless.
    Awesome review! 🙂

  7. This was so funny! I can’t wait to see some more joint reviews. This is a maybe book for me. I think I would like the music part because I also play the violin, but at the same time I don’t like reading books with characters that are unlikeable and annoying. Also, Sophie, do you have a blog of your own?

  8. Haha, awesome review, girls. You guys were hilarious and I can totally feel the sister thing going on between you two 😉 I wish my brothers and I could banter like this! It’s hard to even make a decent conversation with them about things outside basketball, video games, and conspiracy theories, lol.

    I’m very interested in reading this mainly for the music aspect. When I was a young kid, I played the piano. I wasn’t good at it, but I had a few public recitals before I quit, and it really is something you just… “feel” in. Like, you immerse yourself in it, and I very much would love to see another character go through the same thing!

    Awesome review, gals 🙂

    Faye at The Social Potato Reviews

    • That’s right. Sophie is like a sister to me. How sweet. Haha, it’s good having a bookish sister – my other one is completely useless in that way 😛

      I still play the piano – it’s a lot of fun. I’m not great at it, but it can be nice and relaxing sometimes. Plus, pop songs are SO easy to play on piano…just chuck a few chords around and you’re sweet! Can be a nice break from all the classical stuff I play.

  9. Pingback: This Week: Stacking the Shelves and School Again | The Loony Teen Writer

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