finished reading

As a fan of reality competition shows, this book about dueling pianists was right up my alley.  Preparing for the competition are starkly different musicians with quirky stories and preparation methods.  Prudence Childs found fame as a toddler prodigy turned jingle writer yet walked away to have an idyllic suburban life.  After all this time, she must know if her talent is real.  Alexei Petrov is an internet wunderkind who questions dedicating his life to his music.

The secondary characters are quirky and well-developed.  I loved that both characters had their own brand of mentor coaching them.  There is a lot of humor and heart in this book. I wanted them both to win the million dollars!  This would be a fun movie.

From the publisher:
A former prodigy who refuses to believe her best years are behind her and a young virtuoso searching for his passion both get an unlikely shot at their dreams in this sparkling debut about second chances, unexpected joys, and the miraculous power of music.

Prudence Childs was once the most famous kindergartner on the planet. After teaching herself to play piano at age three, she performed at the White House, appeared on talk shows, and inspired a generation of children to take up lessons. But as adolescence closed in, Prudence began to see that she was just another exploited child star, pushed into fame by her cruel grandmother. Prudence ran away—from both performing and her greedy handler—as soon as she was old enough to vote. Flat broke and alone, she took a job writing commercial jingles, which earned her a fortune, but left her creatively adrift.

Now forty-eight, with her daughters away at school, Prudence is determined to reconnect with the artist she once was and agrees to compete on a wildly popular dueling pianos TV show. Unfortunately, her new spotlight captures the attention of her terrible ex-husband, Bobby, who uses the opportunity to blackmail her over a secret she thought she’d buried in the past. If she doesn’t win, she won’t just be a musical failure; she’ll also be bankrupted and exposed in front of millions.

Her on-air rival, virtuoso Alexei Petrov, a stunning young Internet sensation with a massive audience and a dreamy Russian accent, has problems of his own. His overbearing parents’ domineering ways made him a technically flawless pianist but left him without friends, hobbies, or any kind of life outside his music.

As they prepare to face off on stage, the retired prodigy and the exhausted wunderkind realize that the competition is their chance to prove—to their terrible exes, tyrannical family members, and most importantly, themselves—that it’s never too late to write a new ending.

#52bookclub prompt 50: a musical instrument on the cover.

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