eARC Review: Private Lesson by Cynthia Salaysay

eARC review

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Expected Publication Date: May 12th, 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Source: Huge thanks to Candlewick Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 2.5


In a standout debut for the #MeToo era, a young pianist devotes herself to her art — and to the demanding, charismatic teacher she idolizes.

After seventeen-year-old Claire Alalay’s father's death, only music has helped her channel her grief. Claire likes herself best when she plays his old piano, a welcome escape from the sadness — and her traditional Filipino mother’s prayer groups. In the hopes of earning a college scholarship, Claire auditions for Paul Avon, a prominent piano teacher, who agrees to take Claire as a pupil. Soon Claire loses herself in Paul’s world and his way of digging into a composition’s emotional core. She practices constantly, foregoing a social life, but no matter how hard she works or how well she plays, it seems impossible to gain Paul’s approval, let alone his affection.

Author Cynthia Salaysay composes a moving, beautifully written portrait of rigorous perfectionism, sexual awakening, and the challenges of self-acceptance. Timely and vital, Private Lessons delves into a complicated student/teacher relationship, as well as class and cultural differences, with honesty and grace.

Since Private Lessons will be expected to publish on May 12th, 2020, I will do my best not to spoil anything.

In a brief, Private Lessons is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Claire Alalay who lost his father at a young age. The way she copes herself after she lost her father is only through music especially when she plays the piano. So, she decided to take private piano lessons with Paul Avon, the best piano teacher. For that, she needs to go through Paul's audition and get a place for it becomes one of Paul's students. In her journey through her piano lessons and her life in general, there's a lot of things she has to go through. The need to practice hard day by day to get Paul's approval, grief over her father's death, and people taking advantage of her.

I..have a mixed feeling over the story, honestly. I couldn't get through the story. It seems really hard to connect with the whole story. One part, I do understand and another part, I felt nothing. There are parts that I feel uncomfortable. I know for the fact that this happened around us, so the character is really understandable with the whole situation she has to face it. It wasn't easy for her too. Claire is naive somehow at the same time, she was really irritating to me. I don't hate her, it just annoyed me with her attitude. 

The story has been crafted well. The way the author portrays the real deal on how cunning people around Claire. It may not easy to read for me but I manage to finish the book so that I can be sure Claire is okay. It may not be my cup of tea but it is what it is. Don't get affected by my review, this is what I felt and it might be different for you.