Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bellweather Rhapsody” as Want to Read:
Bellweather Rhapsody
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bellweather Rhapsody

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  8,091 ratings  ·  1,362 reviews
Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside. When a young prodigy disappea ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bellweather Rhapsody, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Pat Bevins There are mentions of sex in this book. Between some characters talking about wanting it, some people having it, and others talking about having had i…moreThere are mentions of sex in this book. Between some characters talking about wanting it, some people having it, and others talking about having had it. There is never anything descriptive, but it is mentioned a number of times. I'm not a parent, so I don't really have a good idea of whats appropriate for a 14 year old. But I think the sexual references in this book are about as mild as could possibly be. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,091 ratings  ·  1,362 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Bellweather Rhapsody
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, 2014-books
I finished this book and wanted to give it a hug. Does that happen to other people?
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**A quirky and oddly compelling tale**

Bellweather Rhapsody is a breath of fresh air. It's 100% unique and reads very much like a Wes Anderson film.

The Setting: A large, dilapidated, possibly haunted hotel called the Bellweather.

The Cast: Vast, flawed, nerdy, dangerous and expressive.

The Plot: A weekend retreat for the most talented young musicians in NY state; dramatics ensue.

Two of our main characters are Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, a brother and sister duo are basically the novel interpretat
Kevin Fanning
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So, Kate is friend. But this isn't a five-star review with an asterix, like I really only liked it 4 stars but she gets an extra star b/c we hang out IRL. No. This is a five-star review because Goodreads won't allow me to give this book the 11 stars I actually think it deserves.

When I heard it was a murder mystery involving high school band musicians, set in a snowed-in creepy old hotel, I was like, OK, yes. Those sound like things I will enjoy. Sounds fun right? And it is. The Shining, Glee, Th
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it

Every year the Bellweather Hotel in upstate New York hosts a musical event called "Statewide" where talented young students get the opportunity to show off their skills.

In 1997, twin high school seniors - Rabbit and Alice Hatmaker - have both qualified to attend. Rabbit plays the bassoon in the orchestra, and Alice, an aspiring singer/actress, is in the chorus.

This year the head of Statewide is Viola Fabian, a cruel, unpopular woman who delights in crushing the aspirations of young talent, and
"Bellweather Rhapsody" by Kate Racculia is fun, fun, fun! Part comedy, part murder mystery. There's a lot of characters in this novel but none of them are interchangeable or boring. I really liked Minnie and the Hatmaker twins, Alice and Rabbit. I loved how the storylines overlapped and connected to the other characters. No plot holes or repetition. Just a well written, beautifully crafted, and wildly entertaining novel. I wish I could give it 10 stars! AMAZING. ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jill by: Leanne
It’s probably not the best criticism to say that I found Bellweather Rhapsody, a book about a New York weekend music conference attended by hundreds of theatre kids, too theatrical, but there you go. A book about teens who specialize in drama was too dramatic for me.

Some people will love its dark and humorous tone (read Leanne's review for someone who was utterly charmed by its over the topness), but for me, author Kate Racculia tried to walk a line between funny and bleak, and she falls off th
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
An extremely solid four stars for a book whose cover kept me away for months. (The intentional misspell of bellwether was driving me nuts, and the artwork: straight out of my daughter's doodle bin. These were both conveying a "Read me!, I'm so quirky and twee!" vibe. that belied the positive buzz from my GR friends.)

Kate Raccculia's Bellweather Rhapsody is certainly quirky, which is its greatest asset. If you were led to this from others comparing this to The Shining, you might be disappointed
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Take a grand but weathered old hotel a la The Shining or The Grand Budapest Hotel, a group of over-talented high school musicians gathered for an elite festival (Glee minus the convoluted mess the show has become), and don't forget the intriguing 1982 murder-suicide and the present-day disappearance of the most talented musician of the bunch...both of which take place in room 712 (dun, dun) - and there you have it - Bellweather Rhapsody.

It sounds a little macabre, but somehow it manages to be so
Celeste Ng
This was one of the most fun books I've read in a long time. Sharp, witty, and full of flashbacks to the late 1990s--if, like me, you were an adolescent at that time, you'll be giggling in delight. But lest you think it's just fluff, there are weightier issues here as ballast, too: a teen struggling with his sexuality, a woman scarred by an abusive teacher who fears she's become a monster herself, a father devastated by a long-ago tragedy. Oh, and two murders. It races along at a breakneck pace- ...more
Imagine band geeks acting out a pulpy horror film and you’ll have some idea of the quirky black comedy that awaits you in Bellweather Rhapsody. November 1997: with a major blizzard on the way, the crumbling Bellweather hotel in upstate New York will soon play host to a statewide high school orchestral and choral festival. When a fourteen-year-old flute-playing phenom disappears from Room 712, the very room where, 15 years ago, a murder-suicide occurred, shy bassoon player Rabbit Hatmaker and his ...more
Rachel (rachandbooks)
I really enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t put it down. A wonderfully bizarre blend of Glee, The Shining, Agatha Christie’s works, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. It’s full of music and heart and fun characters. AND A CORGI IS IN IT. So, yeah, I recommend it.

Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Just a little too "cartoon-y" for my tastes. It struck me as a literary "Murder She Wrote" episode - flat, mostly one dimensional characters, an over-the-top villainess and multiple unlikely scenarios wrapped up nice and neat at the end.

I liked Rabbit and his story-line very much; also liked his plucky and obnoxious twin sister Alice.

A solid 3. Good but not great.
Larry H
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kate Racculia's Bellweather Rhapsody is a sweet, slightly goofy, rollicking romp of a book that may be a tiny bit overly ambitious, but it's tremendously infectious, and I can't get the characters out of my mind.

It's the winter of 1997. In upstate New York, high school musicians from across the state are gathering for the annual Statewide festival at the Bellweather Hotel, a once-grand place which has become a little rundown in recent years, and reminds many of The Overlook Hotel in The Shining.
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a literary mystery for music lovers: right up my alley. Set at a New York state music festival in a haunted hotel, the plot twists like a crooked river through murder, grief, and longing. The characters are rich and multidimensional, the language exquisite, and some of the scenes are sublime: Natalie, one of my favorite characters, appears in most of them. I don't want to give it away, but see if you care for her as much as I did. My other favorite character, of course, is shy bassoonist ...more
this review will go live on the blog 05/13

Let's take another look at that summary, shall we? In just a single sentence I was hooked and needed to read Bellweather Rhapsody. Not only did the plot sound delightful (or as delightful as a murder/suicide can be), but then to be thrown references to The Shining and Agatha Christie! Unfortunately, when all was said and done, I felt this novel relied too much on those references and lacked its own spark. Take away Jack Nicholson and all that's left is a
Beatrice the Bassoon, Bonnie the Badass Motorbike, Auggie the Corgi Dog. These are some of the beloved transitional objects that help some of the main players in this dramedy endure some kind of personal trial or tragedy. I mention these up front because, if nothing else, I want to make sure to point out that this book really has heart. There is a warmth, emotion, and passion in this unusual novel that, though it was not my usual cup of tea, won me over, led me to care about the characters (and ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Oct 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
3.5 stars. I feel very silly saying this, but why did this book have to go and get a plot? I was enjoying myself so very much for the first hundred pages or so, even though they are all setup. Because it was nice spending time with these characters when stressful things are not constantly happening. The plot here just didn't do much for me, except to distract from the other things that I liked, and yes I know how strange it is for me, a plot person, to be saying this.

If you, like me, went to a r
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
A couple hundred of the country's brightest teenaged musicians gather under the roof of the fading Bellweather Hotel, where they'll rehearse for two days leading up to the most important concert of their young lives (college scouts might be there!). But there's also a haunting, and a sociopathic program head, and her miserable prodigy daughter, and a concierge with a secret, and a chaperone with a secret (and a gun), and a traumatized woman revisiting the site of her trauma, and talented twins, ...more
Sunny Shore
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never quite knew where this book was going or what it was trying to be. But somehow, in the end, I liked it a lot and gave it a 4. It opened the world of music prodigies to me, with a murder and a scary hotel thrown in. The characters were very engaging, if not a little over the top; and although, at times it seemed to go in a variety of directions, it kept my interest. Not all good books are perfect. This was one of them. We meet the twin prodigies, Rabbit and Alice, chaperone Natalie, conduc ...more
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful book.

In the spirit of Kate Atkinson, another Kate--Kate Racculia, this time -- has disguised her rich buoyant drama as a mystery. But what it really is is an intricate (and life affirming) analysis of broken people scrabbling to make themselves whole again...mixed with a few dead bodies.

Whoa. That doesn't sound very fun...

But man, it is. It's also very funny, tragic, creepy, exhilarating, and ultimately radiant. I mean, I really dug Racculia's story.

The backdrop is a high schoo
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful beach read: a madcap murder mystery with adorable characters along with delightfully wicked characters. I read it in 2 days. The Bellweather Hotel has a reputation of being haunted by a ghost of a bride who was found hanging in her hotel room on her wedding night. Dubbed the “Bellweather Bride,” guest claim that she haunts the hotel.

The only main venue that keeps the Bellweather hotel in business is an annual high school music festival, where musical prodigies from the state
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
The only reason why this book is deserving of a two was because of the initial pages. I enjoyed reading through a twelve year old perspective over her older sister getting married,sadly that was the only thing interesting about this novel. It quickly went downhill with the sloppy consistency, resulting in me not caring one way or the other, how the book ended up. My problem with books like this is an author would start off really great, then somehow they go off course, describing something that ...more
Jennifer Ozawa
This is the type of book I wish I’d written.
The writing in this was crazy good, really beautiful and magical with a great story behind it. The characters all felt very genuine, and I enjoyed the resolution of the mystery. I finished reading it before bed, and this morning, I still feel a lovely bittersweet ache from it.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
This was really more like a 3.8, rounded up.

Ever read a book that sounds like it's JUST for you, plus you love the voice of the author, but the story itself was a little disappointing? I expected to lovelovelove Bellweather Rhapsody and instead I just liked it a lot (maybe a case of expectations elevated too high?), though I would definitely read more by Racculia and nearly swooned with this line in the Acknowledgments section, "And last, but not least: thank you, Ellen Ermingard Raskin for sho
Twin brother and sister, Alice and Rabbit Hatmaker, are two of the chosen few who have proven themselves worthy to attend the annual Association for School Music festival. The event is held at the Bellweather Hotel, in upstate New York, also the site of a tragic murder-suicide fifteen years ago.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel, it starts out a little different from most books. The story is a little dark and creepy but it's also very nuanced and realistic. The author has assembled a
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't remember the last time I've given an author five stars for all of his/her books. But this one deserves it. As another reviewer wrote, this is a literary mystery for music lovers. Crazy things happen at a high school music festival at the Bellweather hotel in the Catskills. Read it for the great characters and plot. ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
There's a lot I didn't like about this book, but I will use this review to request that authors STOP USING SONG LYRICS in the place of actual characterization and development of setting or mood. Your book is not a mixtape. ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I went to State for both choir and jazz band, and this book really nails the weirdness of those weekends. The frantic jostling for social status, the prima donnas of multiple schools duking it out for supremacy, the hormonal self-consciousness. Not much about the actual making of music, though, unfortunately. As an introvert, that's usually what I focused on.

This book is QUIRKY. All the characters are their own special brand of weird, and the author manages to make most of them relatable. There
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Part literary mystery, part ghost story, part coming-of-age novel, this book takes place over one weekend at a high school statewide music festival. Seventeen-year-old twins Rabbit and Alice Hatmaker are charming protagonists, but several adults figure prominently in the book as well. Descriptions of musical pieces, both classical and popular, are beautiful, and the book as a whole is organized like a musical piece, with various "movements" in sequence--a rhapsody. Finally, making up its own cha ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ABC Book Review P...: Interview with Kate Racculia 4 34 Jun 04, 2015 11:46AM  
2020 In Literature: Bellweather Rhapsody 2 29 Feb 16, 2015 01:05PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • We Ride Upon Sticks
  • Secrets and Stilettos (Murder In Style, #1)
  • Curious Toys
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last
  • Greenwood
  • Just Watch Me (Riley Wolfe #1)
  • Silent Knit, Deadly Knit (A Knit & Nibble Mystery #4)
  • Sharks in the Time of Saviors
  • A Particular Kind of Black Man
  • The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2)
  • Moonflower Murders (Susan Ryeland #2)
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea
  • Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect, #1)
  • Plain Bad Heroines
  • The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
  • Catherine House
  • You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Kate is a novelist living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the novels This Must Be the Place and Bellweather Rhapsody, winner of the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Her third novel, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019.

Kate was a teenage bassoonist, and studied illustration, design, Jane Austen, and Canada at the Universi

Related Articles

Punk rock legend, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, award-winning writer, photographer, activist, and all-around Renaissance woman Patti Smith is...
194 likes · 24 comments
“Though maybe that's all life ever is. Unimaginable, until it's happening to you.” 8 likes
“There is only ever one afternoon, and it ends. But one afternoon can hold so much beauty and so much love.” 6 likes
More quotes…