Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather Rhapsody

eBook - 2014
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A high school music festival goes awry when a young prodigy disappears from a hotel room that was the site of a famous murder/suicide fifteen years earlier, in a whip-smart novel sparkling with the dark and giddy pop culture pleasures of The Shining, Agatha Christie, and Glee.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014
ISBN: 9780544133471
0544133471
9781306693592
1306693594
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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m
msp_pier
Nov 03, 2016

It’s probably not the best criticism to say that I found Bellweather Rhapsody, a book about a New York weekend music conference attended by hundreds of theatre kids, too theatrical, but there you go. A book about teens who specialize in drama was too dramatic for me.

Some people will love its dark and humorous tone, but for me, author Kate Racculia tried to walk a line between funny and bleak, and she falls off this line a few too many times. The combination of these two disparate tones just doesn’t work because the characters don’t act reasonably. They Jekyll-and-Hyde their way through the story, oscillating from farcical to deadly solemn.

If the novel were a grim parody of high school arts programs and the desperate, star-seeking kids that populate them, I could accept this. But it takes itself too seriously at times, like it wants to be more than a silly pastiche of Glee and Agatha Christie. Again, that’s fine, but if it’s a serious book, I expect the characters to behave accordingly. And they don’t.

It’s almost like the book wanted to be two books—either a lighthearted skewering of band geek culture and high schoolers jiving to be the Next Big Thing or a gloomy murder mystery/ghost story, where the ghosts are the characters’ secrets and haunted pasts. I would have liked both of these books if they were not bedmates in the confines of a single cover.

Kaya_D Jul 20, 2016

There were just too many characters; I forgot who people were after a few chapters and what they were doing. I liked a few of the characters but most of them I didn't want to read about, which made following the plot hard. It wasn't a super suspenseful mystery.
All of those things combined, I didn't enjoy this book.

I loved it. Not sure how much of a mystery it is really. But I love it so much I will second. It reminds me of Hotel Budapest and the Shining and is such a richly written gem

SFPL_danielay Apr 18, 2016

Picture the Grand Budapest Hotel, throw in a murder-suicide 15 years ago and a statewide music competition for teens and then add a snowstorm on top of that. A fun read that kept me guessing until the end. The teen protagonists should make this interesting to teens as well, especially if they like music.

Cynthia_N May 28, 2015

I felt like this book had a lot of potential with the characters. Twin teenagers, Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker. Viola Fabian, an evil sociopath head of the music festival. A music conductor who is missing most of the fingers on one hand. Unfortunately for me, the book fell quite short of its potential.

quagga Feb 13, 2015

Racculia's exuberant style, twisty plot and larger-than-life characters kept me entertained and turning pages. It was a bit like a cross between The Grand Budapest Hotel movie crossed with a YA novel.

MedinaReads Feb 09, 2015

Every year, the Statewide High School music festival convenes at The Bellweather, a past-its-prime hotel in upstate New York​. Mr. Hastings, the concierge, looks forward to the chaotic weekend when the hotel is overrun with talented and mischievous teenagers. Nothing has been the same at The Bellweather since a murder-suicide occurred in room 712 fifteen years ago. But this weekend, when a blizzard rolls in, things are about to change once more in a very dramatic fashion.

This book is the perfect blend of darkness and light: murder, paranoia, revenge, and rebellion mix with a cast of fascinating and eccentric characters who want to love, be loved, and be heard. This clever, quirky puzzle of a novel will win the hearts of mystery and music lovers alike.
Recommended by M.O., MCDL

Beth_Hatch Dec 10, 2014

Review by Angela Guinther, Carnegie West Branch Manager of Cleveland Public Library

"I love novels that take place in a condensed timeframe, in one location, and feature several characters. Mix in comedy, complications, and curious circumstances that keep me turning the pages, and I'm all set. Bellweather Rhapsody, by Kate Racculia, fits the bill spectacularly. The Bellweather is a once-beautiful, grand hotel that has fallen on hard times, especially since a gruesome murder/suicide occurred fifteen years ago. However, it is now 1997 and time for Statewide, a conference for the best high school musicians and singers New York State has to offer that still takes over the hotel one weekend a year. Chaperoning the several hundred students are former musical prodigies, a somewhat scattered conductor, and scary, severe Viola Fabian, the head of Statewide. When diva-in-training Alice Hatmaker checks into 712, the scene of the crime all those years ago, the page turning begins. As a reviewer in Booklist said, 'A musical mystery that strikes nary a false note. Encore, encore.' Indeed. Enjoy!"

n
Novel_Librarian
Dec 09, 2014

A tour-de-force in terms of characters: each one beautifully and completely realized. This is part mystery, part ghost story, part coming of age, and each piece works beautifully towards the whole.

ValleyViewLibrarians Jul 08, 2014

"The Shining" meets "The Grand Budapest Hotel" in this humorous mystery centered around a prestigious weekend music camp for high school students. A wide cast of quirky characters make for an intriguing and entertaining narrative. Recommended for older teens and adults who like unusual stories.

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