The Notes (Hardcover)

The Notes By Catherine Con Morse Cover Image
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A reserved Chinese American teen at a Southern performing arts boarding school comes into her own under the tutelage of a glamorous new piano teacher. A moving coming-of-age-novel from a debut novelist about first love, adolescent angst, and academic pressures.

“Compellingly readable. Make room in the boarding-school book canon for a new classic.”  - Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of In the Wild Light and The Serpent King

"A moving, highly virtuosic, and heart-rending portrait of an aspiring teen pianist trying to find her made me feel seen." - Patricia Park, author of Imposter Syndrome and Other Confession of Alejandra Kim and What’s Eating Jackie Oh?

Claire Wu isn’t sure that she has what it takes to become a successful concert pianist.

It’s the fear of every student at Greenwood School for the Performing Arts: becoming a washed-out performer who couldn't make it big. And Claire's no Rocky Wong, the ace pianist at their boarding school.

Then Dr. Li shows up.  She’s like no other teacher at Greenwood: mysterious, sophisticated, fascinating. Under Dr. Li’s tutelage, Claire works harder and dreams bigger than ever. And her crush Rocky finally seems interested. Maybe she’ll even be "Chinese enough" to join the elusive Asian Student Society.

Everything is falling into place until eerily personal notes about Claire’s bond with Dr. Li appear. Claire starts to feel the pressure. But she isn't the only one. Everyone is feeling the strain. Especially Rocky, whose extreme perfectionism hides something more troubling.

As the Showcase tension crescendos, Claire must decide if she’s ready to sink or swim. Only then can she discover who she really is and learn if she’s ready to give her all for a shot at greatness.

The Notes is a powerful and poignant debut YA novel from award-winning writer Catherine Con Morse about dealing with academic pressures, falling in love for the first time, and finding yourself.

About the Author

    Catherine Con Morse was one of the inaugural Writers in Residence at Porter Square Books. A Kundiman fellow, she received her MFA from Boston University, where she taught undergraduate creative writing for several years. Her work appears in Joyland, Letters, HOOT, Bostonia, the Racist Sandwich podcast, and elsewhere. The Notes was shortlisted for the CRAFT first chapters contest and is her first novel.
    In high school, Catherine attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a public arts boarding school, where she was as intrigued with her teacher as Claire is with Dr. Li. Catherine continues to play and teach piano today. Most recently, she taught English at Choate Rosemary Hall, and lives in the Connecticut River Valley with her husband and daughter.

Praise For…

"A compelling exploration of art, identity, and falling in love." —Kirkus Reviews

"This novel shines as an earnest examination of belonging, loneliness, artistic and personal growth, self-doubt, and mental health struggles (including self-harm) among high-achieving performers." —Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593711385
ISBN-10: 0593711386
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 30th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English