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Book review: 'Porcelain Keys' is a gripping but melodious read

By Shelby Scoffield

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 8 2014 3:15 p.m. MST

"PORCELAIN KEYS," by Sarah Beard, Sweetwater Books, $15.99, 352 pages (f) (ages 13 and up)

"Porcelain Keys" by Sarah Beard is a gripping young adult romance that tugs the heartstrings.

The young adult romance begins with Aria being chased by her emotionally abusive father. The reader quickly learns that after Aria's mother passed away, her father went off the deep end.

Aria shares her mother's passion for music. She desperately wants to study music at Julliard, but she feels trapped in her situation. She becomes more and more depressed as she realizes that her dreams are not attainable.

Soon enough, Aria meets a young man named Thomas. Thomas opens Aria's eyes to her situation and helps her find the courage to follow her heart.

At first glance, "Porcelain Keys" seems like a typical teenage soap opera, but it has more depth and feeling.

Aria is a relatable character who begins as weak and beaten-up. As the story progresses, Aria becomes stronger and more sure of herself. She even develops the courage to confront her father about her mother's death.

Thomas is also a likeable character. He is so much more than a prince in disguise. Although his romance with Aria is schmaltzy at times, it is sweet and free of drama.

The best part about "Porcelain Keys" is the musical imagery. Beard uses musical terms to describe the emotions that Aria is feeling. It is a powerful technique that makes "Porcelain Keys" an engaging read — especially to those who are musically inclined.

"Porcelain Keys" has clean language and is free of sexual innuendo. However, there are several references to emotional abuse and implied physical abuse by Aria's father.

Beard lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and three boys. She has a degree in communication from the University of Utah.

If you go ...

What: "Porcelain Keys" launch party and Sarah Beard book signing

When: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, sarahbeard.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

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