Girl, Unstrung – ARC Review – Publishing Date 11/23/21

Thank you so much, Claire Handscombe, author of Girl, Unstrung, for sending me an advance reader copy.

Girl, Unstrung by Claire Handscombe
Publishing Date: November 23, 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary
You’ll enjoy it if: you’ve been waiting for a book about violists and like YA coming-of-age feeling-type stories.


“My heart pinches. I don’t like being left out of family moments, but that’s what it takes to be great: you have to make tough decisions”

— Clara, Girl, Unstrung

I can’t thank Claire enough for sending me an ARC of Girl, Unstrung after seeing one of her TikToks (@purpleclaire12) promoting the book. I applied to receive an ARC specifically because it was about a teenager who plays the viola. I play the violin so seeing some orchestra, string instrument representation was so fantastic.

While I am past reading about younger teenagers simply because I can’t typically relate to them anymore, our main character, Clara, reminded me so much of myself growing up that it was hard not to relate.

The story begins when Clara is fourteen, and her dreams surround her and her viola. The plan is simple, concise, and she should be able to achieve it. Step one, land an auction and get into the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Step two, Get into Julliard. Step three, secure a spot on a professional symphony. Unfortunately, she runs into a few roadblocks along the way, her stepmom, the cute boy she totally, definitely, does not like, and the school ski trip.

My cat, Lofi, with Girl, Unstrung

I absolutely loved reading through what Claire had in store for us. The character development and showing us how Clara evolves as a person is reminiscent of many coming of age stories. We were able to see Clara come into her own and grow in passion for other people and activities outside of playing the viola.

A few of my favorite pieces include the shortened chapters, the development of Clara outside of her comfort zone, and the relationships she betters as she grows. It’s so heartwarming and a genuinely sweet book.

If you have teenagers in your life who would love reading about something they can actively relate to or want to relive your days being a teenager and a freshman in high school, then this book is for you.

I rated it four stars because while I’m not the intended audience, I couldn’t get over how much it made me recall being in a school orchestra and just other moments from ten plus years ago. It was a fun exercise in remembering those details.


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