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Publisher's Summary

Aria's life is full of secrets - secrets about her mother's death, her father's cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart's melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a lyrical and captivating love story that will resonate long after the last word is heard.

©2014 Cedar Fort, Inc. (P)2016 Sarah Beard

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Heartfelt, emotional romance

Aria’s life is filled with pain and secrets ever since her mother died. She longs for the day she will graduate from high school so she can escape her father’s abuse and have the freedom to play the piano. When she meets her new neighbor Thomas, she feels drawn to him despite her reserve and his insistence that he does not date. The two become closer than Aria expected, which changes the whole course of her life.

This was an incredibly emotional read. I was not too sure what genre the book would be when I first picked this up, but I knew I was interested to see what direction the story took. Well, after completing the book, I know for certain this is a romance. Also, I would not really call this teen either, more like a clean New Adult since the story actually spans a few years and Aria has a lot of independence. Despite the obstacles, and growing up, the heart of this story is love. (Pun intended!)

When I mentioned that this was an emotional story, it is, but don’t expect happy emotions because most of the story deals with some very low lows and turmoil. The story was written well and it did have a happen ending (in most people’s opinion I am sure, but not really mine) but I found the book to be a bit of a downer. I was engaged in Aria’s story, I really felt like I knew her as a person, and I thought the book was interesting, but I can’t say that I loved it because I found it to be depressing. Almost every aspect of her life had a secret or issue associated with it. I also had a problem with how depressed she became over a boy, causing it to impact her whole world view negatively. I wanted her to be awesome and strong in spite of him, but that is not what happened. I guess maybe it was one thing too much for her to be able to bounce back from, so I will cut her some slack. But she was so skilled, competent and independent; it was difficult to see her broken.

I had a hard time with her love interest Thomas. From the start of the story he seemed perfect (almost a little too perfect, which makes me think of him as less a person and more an idea). I was leery, but I liked the way he supported Aria when times got tough and helped give her unknown dream shape and substance, enough so that she actually went for it when alone she might not have. But then an event occurred, which was terrible and awful (shocking I know based on my earlier statements) that changed their whole dynamic. I will admit that I enjoyed Devin and who he helped Aria to be. I wanted Thomas to be a distant memory, a time she overcame, but alas my wishes were futile. I personally think that he got off too easy for the damage he caused, but whatever, maybe I just hold grudges (which in fact I do).

I liked the writing style and the that it was a fairly adult romance without the heat to get in the way of an actual plot. I would love to read more by this author, preferably though something slightly more upbeat next time.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Emotional Listen!

Any additional comments?

This was the first audiobook that I started and had a little trouble completing. The story was very complex and had a lot of details so I would have to stop and absorb everything that was presented to me before continuing to listen. I feel this would have been a much better book to read then to listen too so you could put the book down reflect and then keep reading. This book follows Aria who lost her mother at a young age and lives with her father now. Aria’s father has a drinking problem that turns into abuse since he seems so upset about the loss of this wife. Aria runs away one night to her normal hiding spot and meets Thomas. Thomas is a young boy who is the same age as Aria living next door with his parents. Thomas’s grandfather had passed away and they were working on fixing his house to sell it. Aria and Thomas have almost an instant connection. The story is completely told from Aria’s point of view, which I did enjoy, but I do find a small fault in this. I kind of wish we got a back and forth between Thomas and Aria. I felt like Aria had so many emotions I would have loved to get Thomas’s feelings since he had such a complex situation just like Aria. Aria is an extremely strong and dedicated to anything she puts her mind too. Aria throws her life into everything she does, I love that about a person when they are so dedicated. Thomas on the other hand comes off more mysterious of a character. We get bits and pieces of his life and then we honestly get a completed picture of him right at the end of the book. The book deals with a lot of big topics and I feel does a pretty good job with them. First is the abuse that Aria gets from her father. This is a topic that does come up throughout the book and we really do get to see a lot of how Aria deals with it. I like that it wasn’t just rushed over or forgotten. Also, the idea of losing a parent so young. We can see all the pain that Aria is still experiencing from losing her mother. Another topic the author did a great job with was young love and how emotional it can be. I think the author did an amazing job with the relationship she created between Aria and Thomas she really tugged on my emotions with the two of them.The story itself is very complex I feel like we get to see a large chunk of time told through Aria’s eyes, which is great, but sometimes I felt like I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. So much happens in the story that makes you really appreciate family. The author did an amazing job with this story and the ending left me so happy I was glad I could take this journey with Aria.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A slow-building, captivating story

How to explain how I felt about this book... I might need to quote an other book to explain it:
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” (It's from The Fault in our stars, if you haven't read it yet, do read it too.)

That is exactly how I felt... about this book. The story felt kind of slow and distant at first, and then as I read listened to the audiobook, I realized that I really loved the depth of this story and the layers in all its characters. Without thinking, I found myself captivated by Aria, Thomas, their relationship, but also by all supporting characters.

The story was really well-built, revealing itself slowly, subtly.

My feelings towards the book might have been emphasized by the narration by Heather Masters. Her voice was soothing, and calm, when the story was full of emotions. And the combination of both was really delighting.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful and heartbreaking

This was a really beautiful story. I especially loved the first half of the book, when Thomas and Aria were first falling in love and Thomas was helping Aria to see her true potential and worth. The story dealt with both abuse and the pain of losing a loved one, and I completely connected to both Thomas’s and Aria’s stories – my heart ached for these characters. My only complaint was that the middle of the book was dragged out a little bit and there is a love triangle introduced that I could have done without. I think the pain of what happened between Thomas and Aria could have been enough conflict. Still, overall, I loved the story and I give it 4/5 Stars!

The narration: I thought that Heather Masters did a wonderful job with the emotion of this narration. She was a bit slower than some other narrators I’ve listened to, though. (I usually listen to books at 1.5x speed, but this one I usually listened to at 2x!)

***Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the author via YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet Romance

Ever since her mother’s death, Aria’s father has hated Aria’s music. He starts drinking and becomes volatile and abusive. One day, after escaping her father’s anger by hiding in the neighbor’s tree house, Aria wakes to find a boy invading her sanctuary. Thomas is the neighbor’s hot grandson and has moved in next door to clean up the place to sell. But trespassing and a bed-head is not the greatest first impression.

Porcelain Keys by Sarah Beard is the classic story of a senior in high school falling for the new boy who moved in next door. In some ways, it was a story that has been told a million times. You’ve seen it on TV and read it in a dozen books about high school, with the popular girl trying to steal the boy away and that girl’s ex-boyfriend using the main character to make his Ex jealous. But this book had a lot more going on that just that. It reached deeper levels, touching on abuse, grief, music, and the lasting effects of love. For those reasons, I enjoyed this book as more of an original.

Another reason why I like this story is because it does not stop at the end of high school. The characters get through a couple years in college, family changes, deaths, heartbreak, second loves, and much more. Yet, they find their way back to each other through the mess. Forgiveness and grief are major themes in this story, and they were addressed well, considering how hard such topics are. Each of the characters reacted to their grief in a different ways and had to come to terms with it in their own ways. They then had to learn how to forgive each other for the hurt they inflicted while in pain themselves. And the healing power of music had a part to play. There were a lot of hard topics in this book, and I enjoyed it all the more for it.

The audio version was pretty well done. There were a couple times in which the reader's voice would change in loudness, but she did a very good job giving voice and emotion to each of the different characters.

I enjoyed Porcelain Keys. I wish it was more original in some ways but appreciate the minor differences and hard topics addressed. I recommend it to those who enjoy a good, clean YA/NA romance.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Kept me entertained

Very entertaining. I normally read sci-fi and fantasy books but had a listen to this on whim. Glad I did. The narrator was really good. The characters were believable despite some unbelievable circumstances (but I'm used to that based on the typical genres I read). I enjoyed the emotional pull of the characters trying to figure out what is going to make them happy. How can anyone see into the future and know? It's a lot of "what ifs" (or as the books says "even if").