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Beating Heart Baby – Lio Min

Thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

When artistic and sensitive Santi arrives at his new high school, everyone in the wildly talented marching band welcomes him with open arms. Everyone except for the prickly, proud musical prodigy Suwa, who doesn’t think Santi has what it takes to be in the band.

But Santi and Suwa share painful pasts, and when they open up to each other, a tentative friendship begins. And soon, that friendship turns into something more. . . .

Will their fresh start rip at the seams as Suwa seeks out a solo spotlight, and both boys come to terms with what it’ll take, and what they’ll have to let go, to realize their dreams?

I was originally drawn into reading Beating Heart Baby because of it’s stunning cover. Then, I read the synopsis and so many amazing reviews for the book and I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. Throughout this book we follow Santi as he arrives at his new high school. He is welcomed with opened arms by everyone in the marching band there. Everyone except, the musical prodigy Suwa who doesn’t think Santi has what it takes to be in the band. But they both share painful pasts and when they open up a friendship begins and it soon turns into something more.

This book was so lovely to read. It is a love letter to music, finding and then accepting yourself, found family and dreams. I felt so many emotions whilst reading this book. One minute, I was smiling and the minute after I could be angry and then sad. This book definitely takes you through every single emotion and it is amazing.

I loved the structure of this book. It is set out like a album. Each chapter is titled as a ‘track’ and the book is divided into Side-A and Side-B. Side-A is told from Santi’s perspective. He is shy and quiet and still recovering from mistakes in his past. I adored Santi’s character and seeing him grow throughout the book. Side-B is told from Suwa’s perspective. Suwa is a trans and going through his own journey of growth and understanding. His story is inspirational and very emotional.

Beating Heart Baby deals with some very heavy topics and I suggest you look at the trigger warnings before going into this book. This book discusses suicide, anxiety, depression, homophobia, transphobia, grief and physical and verbal abuse. I felt it was important for these topics to be discussed throughout this book and Lio Min has beautifully written about them in this book. Lio Min is definitely an author to watch. Their writing is beautiful and kept me hooked throughout.

Overall, I would recommend Beating Heart Baby to anyone who is looking for a book that will make you laugh and cry within the space of a few lines. It is beautifully written and perfect for music fans. Give this one a read!

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