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Bellweather Rhapsody

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  5,991 ratings  ·  1,060 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
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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…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)

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Amy
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-books, 5-star
I finished this book and wanted to give it a hug. Does that happen to other people?
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
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Theresa
"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.
Snotchocheez
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
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Leanne
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
...more
Jill
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
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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
Rebecca
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
Barbara
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
...more
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.
...more
Dianne
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.
Leah
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
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Cari
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
Meg
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this.

So many moments of recognition: the music festival is modeled on NYSSMA, the same music festival/competition that I participated in during high school. Alice and Rabbit are two sides of my own coin, and I found myself identifying with them alternately, strongly. The story's timeline roughly aligned with my own childhood. Plus the blizzard, the broken-down hotel (eat your heart out, Wes Anderson), the grown-ups who are struggling with their own grown-upness...

I loved what Kevin
...more
Jenna
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
Melissa
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
Barbara
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
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Amy!
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.
Erin
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
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Barb
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
...more
Truman32
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
...more
Michael
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
Lisa
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.
Bonnie
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.
gaudeo
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
Alissa
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub, own-audible
Best book I've read in a long time.
Rich
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, favorites, library
As all the blurbs and other reviews state, this is a book based around a state music conference for students. Otherwise known as band camp. Sure, it's funny, in it's own dark way, but there is so much more to Bellweather Rhapsody.

Having been a band student in my high school years, out-of-town band functions are nothing new to me. Kate Racculia really hits this background to the story on the head. And while it's a story that details some of the trivial events of the camp such as rehearsals, roomm
...more
Meghan
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quirky, mystery
3.5, rounded up for a great, friendly author photo and a tribute to children's author Ellen Raskin. The setting is a haunted, peculiar old hotel where a murder took place exactly 20 years ago, and which is currently hosting a statewide high school band competition. This setting makes for a super quirky mystery that never achieves scariness or any of the atmosphere of The Shining, but would be a perfect suggestion for fans of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Rabbit and Alice Hatmaker are twins who both h
...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
May 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laila (BigReadingLife) by: Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
This is one of those books that has been on my TBR for a few years. One of those you read about in a couple of places and say to yourself, "This sounds good!" And then it gets buried under 150 more titles, and you forget about it.

Gin Jenny from the Reading the End podcast wrote about it a few weeks ago on the blog, which reminded me about it. She said that it was The Westing Game for adults, and I was like "SOLD. That's all I need." I promptly ordered it from another branch.

It's indeed Westing G
...more
Shawn Mooney
This one wasn't holding my interest for how long it was, but my bailing on it says more about me and the tantalizing stack of books I'm surrounded by at the moment. It also says that I may have finally learned my lesson: high school novels just don't work for me at this stage of my life. That said, I can't think of anything particularly bad to say about the 30% of the novel that I did read: I suspect that others may quite enjoy this one.
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Kate is a novelist living in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Bellweather Rhapsody, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2014, and This Must Be the Place, published in 2010 by Henry Holt & Company. Her third novel, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2019.

She was a teenage bassoonist. In her hometown of Syracuse, New York, she pla
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