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Review of Dirty Wings

Dirty Wings - Sarah McCarry

Dirty Wings - Sarah McCarry
Series: All Our Pretty Songs #2
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin,St. Martin's Press, on 15 July 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288, Format: eARC
Source: ARC Netgalley
 2 Stars

A gorgeous retelling of the Persephone myth, Sarah McCarry brings us the story of Cass and Maia--the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs--and how their fates became intertwined.

Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents' house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, scraping by with her wits and her knack for a five-fingered discount. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. Cass springs Maia from the jail of the only world she's ever known, and Maia's only too happy to make a break for it. But Cass didn't reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who'd capture Maia's heart as soon as Cass set her free--and Cass isn't the only one who's noticed Maia's extraordinary gifts. Is Cass strong enough to battle the ancient evil she's unwittingly awakened--or has she walked into a trap that will destroy everything she cares about? In this time, like in any time, love is a dangerous game

*I received a free ARC of Dirty Wings from St. Martin’s Press / St. Martin’s Griffin via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*


Dirty Wings is one of the strangest stories I have read in a very long time! No real plot, no real explanation, but a wonderful friendship between two girls who seemingly have nothing in common.


My Dirty Wings review:

Dirty Wings is kind of a non-story in some ways. Let me explain what I mean: we meet Maia who is a prodigy piano player, she is playing, then chatting with her teacher Oscar after finishing her lesson. Her whole life is centered around the piano, and her life goal (or at least her parents’ life goal for her) is for her to get into a prestigious music school in New York. Only ever leaving the house for her piano lessons, home-schooled Maia is very naïve, has no real connections to the real world, and has no friends. Obedient to a fault, she doesn’t even try to find out what is on TV when her parents are not around.

Cass is the complete opposite of Maia in many ways, but she didn’t help me make sense of Dirty Wings anyway. Cass has lived on her own since she was thirteen, she knows how to steal, keep up a huge supply of drugs, and a rather smaller supply of food, and she is an expert at navigating the city and the world. When the two girls meet, there seems to be nothing at all that should make them want to get to know each other, but they do. Soon, Cass waits for Maia once a week when she walks home from her piano lessons.


A mixture of a strange case of opposite attracts, drugs, a road-trip and weird dreams, Dirty Wings is missing both a head and a tail in my opinion, but there may very well have been something that could have helped me in the first All Our Pretty Songs story, but I’m not really feeling like I want to find out. While the writing is beautiful, there is no real plot, nor story, and apart from following Maia and Cass both in the present and the past, there wasn’t much happening to hold my interest or make me feel invested in Dirty Wings in any way.


Written in third person in present tense, mostly from Maia’s point of view, but sometimes also from Cass’, Dirty Wings could have told me much more about the characters and the direction it was trying to make me look in.


Some of my favorite Dirty Wings quotes:

The moments of her life when she was happy are easy for her to catalogue, because there are so few of them that aren’t at a piano.


Her parents met in New York, when her mother was getting her doctorate at Columbia and her father was spending his parents’ money and beginning the novel he has yet to finish. Maia tries to imagine them young and in love, but love seems like an emotion that is beyond the both of them.


Her hands ache, remembering. The weight of what’s unsung threatening to drown her. All her life the only words she has spoken well are those spelled out in notes, black marks on the staves’ black lines, the only language she knows as her native tongue.


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