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Reviewed by Kristina Moloney, Teacher, Titiro Whakamua - Hutt Valley Teen Parent School
Opening sentence
This wall by the Yarra River is overflowing with art and opinions and tags so thick, the loudness of the images and words threaten me with their confidence and I wonder whether there'll ever be space for me.
Grace is a talented violinist. Crux is an aspiring street artist. This is a novel in verse.

Set at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Melbourne goes into lockdown, both Grace and Crux are struggling to own and express their art as the city shuts down around them.

Crux sees a viral video of Grace performing an outdoor concert for her Grandmother across the road from an elderly care facility. He is inspired to spray paint an image of her face and her violin. She sees the graffiti portrait and wants to meet the artist behind it. But this is no easy task for teenagers in lockdown.

This story beautifully weaves their art and journeys together. Comer does a great job of capturing their different voices, but also the ways their similarities bring them together. Written in verse and varying font and spacing on the page is a creative way to change the mood and reflect each character’s thoughts.

I’ll admit that I did not relish the idea of a story set during the pandemic, but I really enjoyed how the author used this as a backdrop. It made it especially relatable and I think that teens would feel the same.

Grace Notes is a thoughtful, lyrical novel about the importance of art, of finding your path and what really matters in life.

NB: This novel does contain a death and there are some allusions to domestic violence. Both are handled carefully and teach important lessons.
Publisher: Hachette
ISBN: 978-0-7344-2172-2
Format: Paperback
Publication: Feb 2023
Ages: 13+
Themes: Coming of age, relationships, families, art