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I received a free ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange an honest review after the author reached out to me.
Last year, Lenora "Lenny" Ragno should have rocked her duet with Jeb, her long-time crush, at the Gypsy Cob music festival - and they should have finally kissed. That's how thing's should have gone, but in reality, she completely choked on stage in front of everyone. Since then Lenny has spent the last year avoiding Jeb and avoiding playing her fiddle in public. She thought her worst nightmare was behind her, but she was totally wrong. Now's she back at the music festival and avoiding playing her fiddle is just as impossible as avoiding Jeb. Facing Jeb should have been the scariest part, but then another friend convinces their group to try astral projection after picking up a book from a new festival vendor. While on the other side, Lenny catches the attention of a frightening demon. This demon can now pull Lenny from her own world into it's disturbing in-between plane of reality which is full of its past victims. If Lenny doesn't want to be next, she's going to have to face an actual demon, as well as come to terms with personal ones.
I'm so glad that Jessica Bayliss contacted me about her newest release, Broken Chords, because it's exactly up my alley. I mean, YA Horror Fantasy, demons, astral projection, plus bluegrass and acoustic folk music? What's not to love? Luckily, this short, fast and thrilling read hooked me right from the start - and I have to mention that it's a perfect read for the Halloween season. I also loved that it balances the horror and nightmarish really well with the non-horror elements of the music festival and the tight knit friendships. I was so pleased to see a couple of my favorite real life bands, Nickel Creek and Del McCoury, get mentioned in the story - you usually don't see bands like that show up in YA! I don't want to spoil too much about the horror aspect of the novel, but I will say that it's incredibly dark, eerie, and intense. The author does an excellent job of describing what Lenny experiences during those traumatic astral projection scenes and really amping up the tension. I'm pretty sure this is also my first YA novel featuring astral projection so prominently, and after this I'd love to see it used more. In my opinion, the only things that could have made this a little better would be getting to know Lenny's parents better, know a little bit more about Lenny and her musician friends relationship outside of festival season, and to see some more of Lenny's other friends who don't get as much page-time like Amanda, Darnel, and Jose.
Overall, Broken Chords by Jessica Bayliss is a great new YA Horror release that features both astral projection and bluegrass and acoustic folk music. I have a feeling that if you liked the style of The Call by Peadar O'Guilin which I loved, you will also enjoy this brand new book. Like me, you'll probably want to finish it in one sitting! I am definitely looking forward to more of Jessica's future projects.
Thanks again to NetGalley and Jessica Bayliss!
I read this novel on October 19, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads. This book was released on October 9th, 2017.