Reviews

Bellweather Rhapsody is a Publisher's Weekly Best Summer Books 2014 pick, and one of Library Journal's Best Books of the Year and School Library Journal's Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2014!

BlueDots

Racculia’s [...] novel deserves a better descriptor than “genre-bending,” with its deft mix of horror, high school drama, locked-door mystery (or, rather, locked-hotel mystery), twin-seeking-twin closeness, adult (and teen!) romance, and some truly adult violence and guilt. At its heart, Bellweather Rhapsody is about talent: what it means to have it, what it means to lose it (if that’s possible), how on earth you’re supposed to wield a magic you can barely understand before you’re even old enough to drive, and what kind of adult you might turn out to be if you fail. — Nicole Perrin, Bookriot

BlueDots

That’s the real fun of [...] Bellweather Rhapsody: The characters are exaggerated, yes, but infinitely relatable to readers who spent any time in a high school band or choir. Racculia’s exuberant voice inspires laugh-out loud moments while also bringing to life broken people who find solace in each other’s heartaches. — Jeanne Kolker, Wisconsin State Journal

BlueDots

Bellweather Rhapsody is an entertaining and enthralling yarn, and the ending is strong and somewhat sentimental... [...] By the end, this novel lingers, even if it might be a little hard to take at times. This is the stuff that dreams and nightmares are made of: what one is willing to go through – or not go through – when you’re infused with a dazzling talent. — Zachary Houle, PopMatters

BlueDots

As much as this is a tale of youth and ambition — and, in the case of the students' messy adult mentors, regret and rage — it is at its core a humdinger of a mystery. Just what exactly is the curse of room 712? The pleasures of this great yarn are not just its full heart but its clever head. (A) — Karen Valby, Entertainment Weekly

BlueDots

It starts with a murder-suicide and ends with a murder that might be a suicide, and in between there are flashbacks aplenty to memories of abuse and trauma. And yet the book refuses to be dark; instead, it’s warm, entertaining and thoughtful, and a glorious celebration of music. — Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune

BlueDots

reviews-star-19bLaced with dark humor and remarkable insight, this smart page-turner offers an insider’s look at the competitive nature of high school music performance, the higher stakes professional world, and the complex relationships that lie within both.—Paula J. Gallagher, School Library Journal (starred review)

BlueDots

reviews-star-19bRacculia [...] delivers an experience worth rhapsodizing about as a group of teenagers and their adult chaperones descend upon a hotel in the Catskills for a statewide music festival. [...] Racculia’s droll wit and keen understanding of human nature propel a story that’s rich in distinctive characters and wholly engaging. A gem.— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

BlueDots

reviews-star-19bThis rich brew of a novel [...] mixes together murder, music, and eccentric humor. In 1982, in Clinton’s Kill, N.Y., a new bride murdered her husband, then killed herself, shortly after checking into Room 712 of the Bellweather Hotel.  In 1997, high school drama queen Alice Hatmaker checks into the same room to perform at the statewide music festival, along with her talented twin brother, Rabbit. [...] Racculia thus sets the stage for a novel of dueling wills, marked by textured characterization and an ebullient storytelling style. — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

BlueDots

reviews-star-19bIt is time for the 1997 Statewide Music Festival at the decrepit Bellweather Hotel in New York's Catskill Mountains. The Hatmaker twins, bassoonist "Rabbit" and his singing-diva sister Alice, are attending with their chaperone Mrs. Wilson, a former piano prodigy. Longtime concierge Hastings is there to welcome them and the other high school musicians, along with volatile orchestra conductor Fisher Brodie and savage Statewide Music director Viola Fabian. Aside from the festival, the Bellweather is best known for a murder/suicide in room 712. The event was witnessed by Minnie Graves, who arrives the same weekend—which happens to be the tragedy's 15th anniversary—to face her demons. As a snowstorm bears down on the hotel, the star flutist disappears from the same room. Is it a prank or worse? VERDICT: Part ghost story, part mystery, part coming-of-age tale, and part love sonnet to music, Racculia's second novel (after This Must Be the Place) is dark and delightful, with memorable characters inspired by both literature and pop culture. It will grab readers and keep them with multilayered plotting and writing that ranges from humorous to poetic. — Library Journal (starred review)BlueDots

Twelve-year-old Minnie Graves is not happy. [...] Before the day is out, she will witness a murder-suicide. Flash forward 15 years to the anniversary of the fatal incident and Minnie returns to the scene of the crime, the gracious old Bellweather Hotel. It’s a special weekend: the annual statewide music conference is being held there, which has brought teen twins Rabbit (real name Bert) and Alice Hatmaker to participate in the event. Also present is the eccentric Scottish conductor Fisher Brodie and the truly vile Viola Fabian, who is heading the conference. Before you can say “plot point,” Viola’s daughter, Jill, has vanished—after apparently committing suicide (it’s complicated). Whodunit? Well, it could be any of the above or perhaps the twins’ chaperone, Natalie Wilson, or even Harold Hastings, the hotel’s elderly concierge. That most of the characters have secrets adds a layer of intrigue to a musical mystery that strikes nary a false note. Encore, encore. — Booklist

BlueDots