That famous bah-bah-bah-BOOM opening: Beethoven intended his Fifth Symphony’s first notes to represent opportunity knocking. In my new young-adult novel for Crwth Press, The Fifth Beethoven, my protagonist gets his own opportunity. Nate plays piano loudly and with enthusiasm, if not finesse. A developer known for less-than-ethical renovictions gives Nate a summer lunchtime gig playing in the courtyard of a new luxury office tower. With the irritable ghost of Beethoven coaching him, Nate improves his playing. But Beethoven, who famously snubbed Emperor Napoleon, also inspires Nate to make a dramatic moral choice.
The story reflects my love for Vancouver—and my concerns about
our beautiful city getting too developed, too fast.
This just in! A review of The Fifth Beethoven from Vancouver Heritage Foundation benefactor Johanna Hickey:
“I’ve just finished reading it and I absolutely loved it. It’s delightful and the whole plot is so clever, as is the title. I think what I really liked about it is that it is set in Vancouver and the fact that I could identify with so many of the issues.
“I loved the music theme. And I really liked the book’s example of the almighty big developer crushing the little people. That is so true in this city and is allowed to happen time and time again. Hopefully a book such as this will help make young people aware of this serious problem.
“In my mind’s eye, I could see all the locations in Vancouver [used in The Fifth Beethoven]. Plus, I could envision the characters, who came across as real.”
…Thank you, Johanna! And thanks VHF for including The Fifth Beethoven as an item in its 2020 online auction. What makes the timing extra special is that 2020 is Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
And hey, don’t miss a Beet. Follow me @melaniejackson.
And now, to make overtures of thanks to TD Canadian Book Week
I was tickled pink, quite pinkly pink, in fact, to be a 2018 TD Canadian Book Week author. Thanks to all the volunteers, staff and schools who welcomed me so warmly to Quebec.
Now, back to our regular refrain…
Getting kids to read shouldn’t be a challenge. Shouldn’t put them in a crescendo of confusion. The age-old attraction of reading is all in the story. A good conflict, a puzzling problem and accessible language: Now that’s a ride young-adult readers will climb aboard. In this blog, I share my adventures and enthusiasm as a children’s/YA author in writing mysteries. Thanks for visiting–and don’t forget to glance over your shoulder now and then. A plot twist may be coming at you!
Read all my blog posts, including Breaking up isn’t that hard to do–at least, not if we’re talking paragraphs. It’s advice I share with Grade 8s at the Vancouver school where I teach a mystery unit every spring.