Review: Touching Melody by RaShelle Workman

Pub. Date: May 14th, 2013
Publisher: All Night Reads
Format: ebook
161 pages

When Maddie Martin sees two men leaving her house, one her best friend Kyle Hadley’s police officer father, the other man with a gun, she would never have believed that she would find her parents shot to death inside. Forced by her strict Aunt and Uncle to keep quiet about Hadley’s involvement, Maddie becomes reclusive. She throws herself into music, becoming an accomplished pianist, earning a full scholarship to the University of Bellam Springs. As devastating as it was to lose her parents, never hearing from Kyle after the murders hurts her more, and makes her believe that he is just as bad a person as his father. What Maddie and Kyle don’t know is that her Aunt and Uncle intercepted all of letters Kyle wrote, in an attempt to keep the two apart.

At Bellam Springs, Maddie and Kyle are reunited. Maddie is surprised by how strongly she is drawn back to Kyle, given how firmly she believes that he is not a
good person. Kyle similarly doesn’t know how to act around the girl who has, in his mind, rebuffed him for years, but who he knows he still loves. Forced to play a piano duet for the Winter Gala, Maddie and Kyle are pushed back together. They are forced to face the lingering feelings that had for each other as children, work through their resentments, learn to work together, and ultimately fight for their lives, against a threat trying to keep them permanently apart.

Touching Melody has elements of romance, suspense and mystery, which was maybe more than it could handle.  There was so much going on in the storyline, that at times it was fairly hard to follow. The novel moves from one event to another in a speed that leaves your head spinning. As someone who appreciates more of the slow reveals, and the moments of “I never would have seen that coming, but it makes complete sense” in a mystery - where you as the reader mentally work to figure out what is going on, and then you are rewarded with the answer – I was fairly disappointed. The quick pace of the narrative and the way that the story moved from one event to the other, with the answers just being given, the bad guys unmasked, and the mystery revealed, without their being a chance for the reader to answer any of these questions on their own, didn’t allowed me to connect to the story or the characters in any worthwhile way.  

My biggest problem with how the novel fragmented was how such little explanation went into some of the biggest story elements. The fact that Maddie and Kyle for instance both become accomplished piano players, when neither played piano as children, really didn’t make sense to me. I would have like more background into how and why they were led to the piano after Maddie’s parents are killed, because the piano element in the story as is, seemed to just be an arbitrary means of forcing the two together. Especially disappointing considering the piano element was one of the biggest draws for me to the novel. The character of Gina, Maddie’s roommate, similarly only seemed to be used as a vessel into the drug storyline, and only then because she used drugs. Just as the reader got really interested and invested in her story, she disappears completely. The biggest leap for me was the drug ring. I could not believe that a huge drug ring could exist in a town, where an undercover FBI presence was warranted, yet, until Maddie link to the drug ring is revealed, the ring as a whole is never alluded to or mentioned (aside from Gina doing drugs which in no way conveys the magnitude of the apparent drug presence in the town).

Another effect of the quick pacing was how little the reader really gets to understand the characters. Maddie is in therapy and has been since her parents were killed. Yet, how she (or anyone else) works through emotions or struggles (besides using drugs), and how they are feeling (aside from being attracted to someone) is barely alluded to. Instead, Maddie frequently faints or passes out instead of handling situations maturely. Also, the length of time it took for Maddie and Kyle to actually have a conversation about the past, especially considering they have been forced to work together on their piano duet, and considering their behavior clearly shows that their idea of the other person was wrong - Kyle’s not a bad guy like his dad, and Maddie clearly wants to talk/ communicate with Kyle - was frustratingly astounding and completely unrealistic to me.

The synopsis of this story was intriguing, and gave the impression that Touching Melody was taking New Adult in a different direction, past just a romance. I feel like there was potential in the story, but the quick pacing, disjointedness between events and lack of really insight into characters and their feelings or decisions, ultimately made me completely uninterested.  

Rating 2.5/10

** I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated. 

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