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You, Me, and Our Heartstrings

de Melissa See

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504521,266 (3.6)Nenhum(a)
Seventeen-year-olds Daisy, a talented violinist with cerebral palsy, and Noah, a great cellist with severe anxiety, plan to use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition, but when they are chosen to play a duet, they worry their differences will sink their chances.

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Exibindo 4 de 4
Well, I finally finished with this one and it was a hot mess.
First up, Juilliard level students don’t just drop their instruments on the floor. Instruments are not cheap and I can guarantee that they would take better care of them (saying this as a violinist myself). Dropping my instrument would be horrifying.
Next up, why in the world are adults giving teens condemns because (and I quote) “you never know when you’ll need them”?
Here is the part that I really don’t understand. Daisy believes that noticing her disability is ableist and so is not noticing her disability. Everything else is a microaggression but she won’t say anything because everyone should know and she shouldn’t have to explain why she didn’t appreciate ‘x’ comment. But here is the thing, in any relationship, people will offend and say things they don’t mean. You MUST communicate and explain to them what you didn’t like. You can’t just drop everyone who ever says something hurtful. This is real-life, not a fantasy dreamland.

Genre: ya contemporary
Age: young adult
Series/Standalone: standalone
Content: Daisy and Noah share the same bed but she says no to s*x, language, all the Catholics in the book are shown as bad, see note above about birth control measures, mentions of drag shows, gay side characters
Rating: 1/5 Stars ( )
  libraryofemma | Apr 18, 2024 |
Rounded up from 3.5 ( )
  chip4201 | Feb 5, 2024 |
Originally posted on Just Geeking by as part of the book tour hosted by Colored Pages.

As part of the book tour I also had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa See which you can find here!

Content warnings:
The main focus of this book is ableism and inspiration porn, and as a result there are a lot of ableist comments, and attitudes with insults and slurs including the use of the “r” slur. There are scenes involving Catholicism, healing disabilities away and one that takes place in a church. There are scenes of bullying, including forced proximity and at one point this leads to violence. Other topics include parental emotional neglect, and depression.

You Me and Our Heartstrings tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love after being placed together for a duet. Like all love stories theirs has a rocky start; they can’t decide on what type of piece to perform for their school’s annual winter holiday concert. The holiday concert is the biggest event of the year when students get to showcase their skills to the public, music conservatory professions and principal conductors. They both know it’s their shot at Juilliard, which makes it even more stressful when they keep butting heads over what to play!

The only thing to do is compromise, and when they eventually do start to practise they fit together perfectly. A romance begins to blossom, and while their duet had such a difficult start their performance goes off without a hitch. It’s so good that they end up going viral and not for all the right reasons.

Because you see, Daisy is disabled, she has cerebral palsy. Instead of focusing on the couple and their skill as musicians, their story is instantly broadcast through an ableist lens. This is just one of many disabled themes that See has expertly written about in You Me and Our Heartstrings. The personal experience of a disabled author writing about ableism and inspiration porn hit home hard, and I spent a good chunk of this book crying, especially as I read the social media messages being left about Daisy. For those who aren’t aware, inspiration porn is when disabled people, their lives and actions are used to make people non-disabled people feel good about themselves. Ever commented on a video of a disabled person doing something and called it inspiring? That would be you taking part in inspiration porn. Disabled people do not exist to be inspiration. We’re just living our lives and if you don’t understand what I’m saying then I highly recommend reading You Me and Our Heartstrings to see the events unfold through Daisy’s eyes.

I felt a connection with Daisy from the very first page when a classmate bullies her and tries to trip her up, events that I’ve also experienced. Throughout the book she remains determined with her eye on her goal of making it to Juilliard. Like many disabled people she is adaptable, not necessarily taking things in her stride, but aware that sometimes you have to find another way to get where you want to go. She’s not an unfeeling statue though, and See does a great job of showing her vulnerabilities as well as her strength. There is a sub-plot with Daisy’s parents that covers an extremely important subject, and while I can’t say more due to spoilers, it was very well handled.

You Me and Our Heartstrings is written with dual perspectives, showing not just Daisy’s side of their growing romance and reaction to going viral, but also Noah’s. One of the things I loved the most about this novel is that Noah is also disabled. He has generalised anxiety disorder and See takes the reader through Noah’s journey of self-acceptance, recognising that he needs help and then to his diagnosis. This is something that is very rarely shown in pop culture outside of medical dramas (where it is heavily dramatised) and it is so important for this to be included in a young adult novel. I have a lot of personal experience with anxiety, and representations of male characters with anxiety are another thing that are in short supply.

Noah’s condition is what is referred to as a hidden or invisible disability; you don’t know someone has the disability unless you see them have an attack or flare up. To the outside world he appeared to be healthy, while through Noah’s narrative we can see how much he is struggling. His journey is the most authentic portrayal of mental health I have ever seen. See has clearly taken her own experiences as someone with anxiety (she talked about it in our interview here) and used them to write Noah’s story. The result is phenomenal.

One thing that pop culture always fails to get right when writing disabled characters is that we aren’t alone. Disabled people know each other, and in You Me and Our Heartstrings Daisy has friends who have their own conditions. I’m not going to go into too much detail about this, but it was nice to see her friends come to Noah’s aid when he was struggling. To be able to say “I needed help too” because so many of us do need help, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it.

I could probably ramble on about this book forever! I have so many pages and quotes bookmarked as so much of You Me and Our Heartstrings resonated with me. If you are looking to read a book this Disability Pride month then this is a great one to start with ( )
  justgeekingby | Jun 6, 2023 |
Excellent, excellent! Here's a love story about two talented teens, Daisy who was born with cerebral palsy, and Noah who feels like the weight of the world sits on his shoulders because of perceived family expectations. His older brothers are extremely skilled musicians and Noah believes he must exceed their successes of be the family failure. Too bad he stuffs all that inside to a point where he pretty much shuts out the world while living in his own head.
Daisy, on the other hand, learned to accept her disability a long time ago and sees herself as talented and disabled. Much of the time, she must grit her teeth as those around her, even her parents, can't see her wholeness.
When she and Noah are selected to be one of four duets performing at their music school, that's when sparks begin to fly. At first, they're ones of frustration, as Noah is being pretty rigid about the choice of music they'll be playing, but Daisy digs her heels in and the end result is an agreement that Noah's older brothers will compose a new piece for them. After they play and are an instant sensation on the internet, things get messy and very complicated. I'll let you read the book to discover exactly what unfolds. I must say that the author, herself disabled, does a stellar job of pointing out Daisy's realities and how much Noah must learn in order to save the relationship. Summed up, this is a dandy, eye-opening love story and would be perfect for library collections where depicting disabled teens in realistic ways is valued. ( )
  sennebec | Aug 4, 2022 |
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Seventeen-year-olds Daisy, a talented violinist with cerebral palsy, and Noah, a great cellist with severe anxiety, plan to use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition, but when they are chosen to play a duet, they worry their differences will sink their chances.

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