“Music From Standing Waves” by Johanna Craven

Originally reviewed for Whispering Stories.

I would say that Music from Standing Waves by Johanna Craven is, in itself, a musical composition. The notes, the ingredients, they have been disposed upon a previously clear sheet of paper. There’s a particular order to these elements, a rhythm that leads you through the life of Abby, the girl who dreamed of performing her way out – or perhaps her way in.

If you want to truly enjoy this novel, you cannot be afraid of getting lost in it. Better yet, you should be capable of accepting said fear and still taking one gigantic leap of faith. Sometimes that is indeed the only way of finding yourself, of finding Abby.

Music from Standing Waves feels… fleeting; there’s a very particular sense of time that I believe is a testament to Johanna Craven’s talent. You see, this book isn’t simply about Abby, this book is Abby. It’s as if the music that composes this book has been written to the rhythm of Abby’s heartbeat, hence the ups and downs, the sometimes odd changes in pace…

It all makes sense when you see her, and for that you must not judge her. It was not always easy, I must confess, but as you find yourself struggling to understand her, she is also struggling to understand herself and those who surround her.

“Exposed in that my music was a channel for every emotion that coursed through my body. I felt that by listening to me play, someone could see inside me; read my darkest secrets and deepest desires.”

I really enjoyed how Johanna Craven tied up some of the loose ends, particularly the ones related to Abby’s family. Sarah and Nick both made wrong choices, but Johanna Craven didn’t abandon them, she didn’t let them fade-out into the concept of villain. Instead, she reminded us readers, and Abby, that at the end of the day we are all human and we all make bad decisions at times.

“The music rises, takes me with it. Circles, pulls me in.”

The love for music in this book is incredible to the point of being palpable. Even though I have never listened to Matt’s Stratosphere, I don’t think I will ever be able to stop hearing it in my head.

A beautiful coming-of-age journey.


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