All Our Pretty Songs (All Our Pretty Songs, #1)
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All Our Pretty Songs (All Our Pretty Songs #1)

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  572 ratings  ·  181 reviews
The first book in an exciting YA trilogy, this is the story of two best friends on the verge of a terrifying divide when they begin to encounter a cast of strange and mythical characters.

Set against the lush, magical backdrop of the Pacific Northwest, two inseparable best friends who have grown up like sisters—the charismatic, mercurial, and beautiful Aurora and the devote...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
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Faye, la Patata

Have you ever had dreams where they were so surreal and weird that they didn't make sense at all? Those kind of dreams where the most random of things meshed together in a gruesome way, making them visually look like Dali's paintings, except only ten times more bizarre? It's this book. A huge sloppy mess that gave this out-of-the-world feeling, like you're frozen in time and surrounded by distorted faces and deformed objects. I wish I could describe it better, but in a nutshell, this was how Al...more
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

All Our Pretty Songs: an unnamed (and unreliable) narrator, a love story (but not like you expect) and a retelling of the Orpheus myth (but not like you know it).

All Our Pretty Songs: almost too good to be true. How is this a debut work? With this level of awesome prose? And gutsy storytelling? And by gutsy I really mean: simply writing a story that follows young characters who experience life – sex, drugs and rock & roll – in a way that is as real...more
A beautifully written, nostalgic little book that captures both a unique moment in time and a unique moment in the lives of young, troubled artistic girls. I found the prose to be spot-on perfect--all the beauty of Francesca Lia Block without any of the cloying twee. This is a good book for bad children, the kind of book you don't get often in YA these days, because it's about people who are haunted, selfish, conflicted. Do the narrator and Aurora love one another or is their relationship predic...more
Aug 22, 2013 Leah marked it as dnf
Shelves: beautiful-prose
DNF at 42%. No rating. There just isn't enough story for me to keep turning pages. The writing is lovely, frustrating, and self-indulgent. I will absolutely give McCarry's next book a try, but this one didn't work for me. When a book clogs up my reading pipeline like this, it usually means I should just DNF and move on, so I'm calling it here.

As I mentioned on Faye's review, this is an odd, experimental little book. It's a literary fiction cliché: the type of plotless, self-indulgent (that term...more
‘Aurora and I live in a world without fathers,’ – so begins this tale by an unnamed narrator, about her and Aurora living on the edge until one of them falls in.

Aurora is the daughter of a famous and deceased rockstar; a Cobain-esque legend who left behind a wild daughter and her junkie mother, Maia, in a too big house with plenty of cash but no moorings. Our anonymous narrator is the daughter of Cass, once Maia’s best friend who was there in the rockstar hey-days and saw her best friend decay...more
This is one of those times when I'm almost completely stumped as to how to reflect on a work I've read. I debated in my head what I wanted to rate this book because there were times when it had me, there were times it completely lost me, and yet somehow in the go-betweens, I found a way to push through the narrative enough to care where where it went to the end. Note to all, though, I don't think this book will strike home with everyone who picks it up. And I'm wondering just how much of a fit t...more
Nov 09, 2012 Kassiah marked it as to-read
Shelves: ya, pub-2013
Pretty cover is pretty.


First, what didn't work for me: I don't get why this is a trilogy. The writing is absolutely beautiful and lush and enveloping, but it did remove me as a reader from the story. And there's not a whole lot of story because the story is in the writing. This could have been expanded to be the entire story in one volume and not lost the style at all.

I also do not understand why it's set in the 90s. Maybe because the 90s teen age life is before my own time as a teenager -- I turned 13 in 1997, whi...more

** DNF **

I got to admit that at first I though the prose of the book was just poetic and lovely! An don't let me start on the cover, I was instantly drawn by it! *so pretty*

I ended up building high expectations of it, the story and the prose sounded unique. BUT the longer I kept reading, the less I kept interested in it.
For me it was just one of those cases that a sneak peek would leave me contempt but a full length novel, was excruciating!!

Sadly, it was just not the book for me!

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*ARC kindly p...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews!

"Do you know what it's like to be a girl pieced together by appetite and impulse?"
- All Our Pretty Songs, p.18

This review is probably going to end up quite short -- I don't have a lot to say about All Our Pretty Songs and almost none of what I do have to say is good.

All Our Pretty Songs has a great premise. It also can boast some truly amazing prose. When the mood strikes/the planets align/etc,. McCarry can create some truly visual an...more

I wish I could give this book zero stars. It's unreadable. I didn't even get a hundred pages in before I started skimming to get to the end. I am glad I did that, but would have preferred never having picked up the book at all. It's pointless, nearly plotless, and a waste of time.

The central characters are Aurora and a nameless narrator. It's a toss up as to which is more annoying. Both are badly written characters - self-obsessed, self-involved, better than everyone else, and so, so gifted...more
As I started to read this novel, I found myself engulfed and enraptured by both the descriptive language and the relationship that seemed to exist between the two main characters; Aurora and our Narrator. We aren't given a name for the eloquent and artistic Narrator, whose words and experiences lead us through the tangled maze of this story.

At first, that is to say, for the first two-thirds of this novel, I thought I was reading an amazing coming of age tale; a story similar in vein to _The Out...more
Soma "Insomnia Of Books"

I cannot describe this book. it was so confusing that I don't even know what genre it is. One word comes to my mind. WEIRD. This book was just plain weird. A lot of strange things and an even stranger plot.
What's even stranger is that I don't know the name of the main character in the book. The one who talks in first person. The one that the whole story is about. The author NEVER mentioned the name, so I will go with the initial "A". A and Aurora have been friends since forever. They did every...more
Confuzzled. On the one hand the gritty feel in this drew me in. How they’ve only got each other (or at least, how she thought they only had each other). Then there’s how oddly lyrical things went… because of said darkness, it’s moody and descriptive, but at times too much. Points of this, had me questioning the images conjured, was it them tripping in a bad way? (Good) Or was this trying too hard to be atmospheric and whimsical/ fantastical? (Not good.)

That split set aside, this was filled with...more
Jessica (Lovin' Los Libros)
1.5/5 stars

When I first came across this book I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful cover. I loved the colors and vines and was immediately curious as to what it would be about. After reading the synopsis I was definitely intrigued- ancient evil? A world both above and below? I thought it would be right up my alley. However, as beautifully written as this book is, I found myself bored for the majority of the time. I felt there was entirely too much description and found it to be unnecessar...more
I'm on the fence about this one; I'd call it literary young adult fiction with a strong splash of surreal mythology mixed in, with a writing style that veers on the decadent.

I have very little interest in reading about teenagers who are heavily into rock bands (as was the sense I got about this book), but there was something about an early description that reeled me in:
Here's me and Aurora in the pit: hot press of bodies, humid smoke-thick air, the two of us up against the stage, elbows planted
Claire Legrand
Haunting and gorgeous, strange and heartbreaking, ALL OUR PRETTY SONGS is a beautifully written book that I won't forget easily. It hurt me in all the right places, and left me feeling inspired. Easily a 2013 favorite.
Wendy Darling
Beautiful writing, but unfortunately, slight in story.

Full review is on the blog:
this is the book. this is the book i spent my whole adolescence fantasizing that my life was like. i want to live in this book.

Andrea at Reading Lark
*3.5 Rating
Review Posted on Reading Lark 7/3/13:

All Our Pretty Songs is a gorgeously written paranormal tale with a heavy sprinkling of Greek mythology. Add in a Pacific Northwest setting (I'm pretty sure it's Seattle, but it's never stated) and you have a recipe for success. I love stories set in the Pacific Northwest; I also appreciated that there is a not a vampire or werewolf in sight. This story deals with something even more chilling.

I liked that I...more
Wendy Hines

I love the premise of this novel and the cover is gorgeous. McCarry writes lyrically and poetically, with grit and determination as she introduces her two sister like characters, Aurora and the unnamed narrator.

The girls pretty much raised themselves, if you believe them. Both have an extreme amount of freedom and music plays a prominent role in the novel. I really struggled to get to the meat of the story because it seemed like the one or both of the girls were consistently wasted, high or hook...more
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
2.5 to 3 Stars
I honestly can't tell you if this book is poetic and beautiful or just strange and the inner workings of a mad man. Would it really matter either way?

The author pulls you right into this tale, a tale about a girl I don't even know the name of. I don't think once the narrator's name is spoken and yet, we know everything about her. Every single dark, twisted, thought. Every damaged aspect of her and Aurora's very sad childhood.

We know everything there is to know about two girls so v...more
I received this book from GoodReads First Reads

Aurora and the nameless Narrator are best friends, sisters really. Despite differences in their socioeconomic status and personalities, they feel a visceral bond with each other, one that cannot be broken. That is until Jack, a musician, comes into the picture. Our Narrator falls madly in love with him, and despite her insecurities, she believes that she can live happily with the people she loves most. That is until one day she finds herself compl...more
I received this book through Goodreads Giveaway and am surprised that the book was not remotely what I had expected after having read the back cover summary. (I have thoroughly enjoyed a Neil Gaiman book and this does not come near being able to be classed with his books.)

This author does have a gift for beautiful words and thought provoking conversations (especially with Raoul, a friend of the narrator), but too bad that these meaningful conversations were few and far in between. This author al...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2013 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: grunge fans, fantasy fans, literary fiction fans
All Our Pretty Songs, Sarah McCarry's YA debut, is one of my favorite novels of the year. Set in modern-day Seattle, it tells a story of friendship, love and loss in haunting, lyrical prose. The nameless narrator tells us her story and that of her best friend, Aurora, who is not-so-subtly a fictionalized Francis Bean Cobain (the late Kurt Cobain's daughter). This is literary fantasy at its most beautiful.
Grunge references abound in this novel, including its title (from the lyrics of Nirvana's "I...more
Aurora is beautiful, rich and the daughter of a neglectful, addicted mother and a deceased rock star. She lives life large, on her terms and for the most part, only her best friend keeps her from total self-combustion. "Our Narrator" is Aurora's best friend, a sister of the heart, loyal, poor and the one who stays a little back to watch over Aurora. Enter Jack, a musician with a gift that mesmerizes anyone who hears him and "Our Narrator" is a goner. A dark stranger starts lurking about, aurora...more
Lisa Forester
Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing this book for review.

Oh where do I begin with this review? I hate to be negative, I really do, and I always try to find the good in any book I read… but with ‘All Our Pretty Songs’ this is going to be a struggle.

Okay, so let me try and focus on the positives.

All Our Pretty Songs is the tale of two best friends – brought up as sisters and leading whimsical lives that distinctly lack authority, direction or boundaries. Aurora is the daughte...more
P๏€cɨℓią* ~SLiTsRead
For the most part, this reads very much like a YA realistic novel. It's about friendship, growing up, and dealing with life. The friendship between Aurora and the character felt real and quite touching. The romance part on the other hand was very superficial. Basically, Jack just popped up out of no where and immediately they were "in love". The paranormal part was like reading a magical realism book, eerie with no explanation. I was never really a big fan of it. If you are a fan of YA realistic...more
Miki Habryn
It took me months to stumble through the opening romantic building-up, and then being stuck on a plane with nothing else to read for hours to push through to where the story goes somewhat off the rails and into the surreal. I don't know that I'd describe it as worthwhile, but I did enjoy the second half much more than the first.
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I'm Sarah McCarry. The Rejectionist is my blog. I was born in Seattle and live in Brooklyn. I write books and eat a lot of dumplings. I like fomenting insurrection, crushed velvet, and getting in trouble.
More about Sarah McCarry...
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“You think that the world we live in is ordinary. We make noise and static to fill the empty spaces where ghosts live. We let other people grow our food, bleach our clothes. We seal ourselves in, clean the dirt from our skins, eat of animals whose blood does not stain our hands. We long ago left the ways of our ancestors, oracles and blood sacrifice, traffic with the spirit world, listening for the voices out of stones and trees. But maybe sometimes you have felt the uncanny, alone at night in a dark wood, or waiting by the edge of the ocean for the tide to come in. We have paved over the ancient world, but that does not mean we have erased it.” 10 likes
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