Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Unwritten Melody by Tessa Emily Hall

Posted November 22, 2016 by meezcarrie in contemporary, giveaway, romance, Tessa Emily Hall, YA / 2 Comments

Welcome to my post on the Unwritten Melody Blog Tour! Stay tuned for my review of this YA novel, plus your chance to win a great giveaway prize pack!

about the book

Does breaking free require breaking the rules?

Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.

James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.

As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?

Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

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GENRE: Young Adult Fiction
PUBLISHER: Clean Reads
RELEASE DATE: November 10, 2016
PAGES: 253

“As long as there’s a tomorrow there will always be a reason to hope.”

Unwritten Melody is a sweet coming-of-age story that captures the ups and downs of being a teenager and ties them all together with a beautifully haunting backstory.

unwritten-melody-quote01Cassie has all the typical teenage dreams and dreads, but she has the added “bonus” of being raised by her grandparents. She has a special bond with her grandfather, whom she calls “Dad”, but her grandmother takes overprotective to a whole new level. And while she longs to know more about her mother who died when Cassie was just a baby, no one will talk about her and no one will encourage the parts of Cassie’s personality that just might be like hers. With all the restrictions put on poor Cassie, she reminds me of a butterfly struggling to break free from its cocoon.

James is the next heartthrob music superstar on the rise, but for the moment he’s just trying to get past a serious case of writer’s block. He may have found a muse of sorts in Cassie when they’re forced together to work on a school project, and the friendship that develops between them – despite her grandmother’s rules – is really sweet to watch unfold. As romance eventually begins to blossom, the themes of this book also begin to truly shine.

Be who you were created to be. Find your passion and pursue it with your whole heart. And the theme that reminded me of this lyric from a Jason Gray song – “Secrets lose their power when they have no place to hide.”

In fact, let’s just listen to that song, shall we? I mean, the book has a lot to do with music so it works 🙂

Bottom Line: Unwritten Melody visits many topics that are important to today’s teens – and adults. From family dynamics to past regrets to underage drinking and drunk driving to suicidal thoughts. But it does so with a light touch and a gentle spirit, one that can safely open the door to discussions between friends or in families. The sweet romance between Cassie and James softens the teenage angst, and the nods to Emily Dickinson made this fan smile. There are some moments when you’ll want to keep a tissue box handy for a possible ugly cry or two, but overall this book is full of hope and inspiration.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Great YA read!

KissingBook Level: 3 stars / May forget to breathe on occasion

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about the author


Tessa Emily Hall writes inspirational yet authentic YA fiction to show others they’re not alone—and because she remembers the teen life like it was yesterday (or a few years ago). The debut novel she wrote at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, releases with Clean Reads November 2016. She’s the Founder of, a magazine that inspires teens to embrace their calling. She also enjoys helping writers achieve their dreams through her internship at Hartline Literary Agency.

When her fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, Tessa can be found making healthy homemade lattes, speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on her blog, mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Other Books by Tessa Emily Hall

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Enter for your chance to win the Unwritten Melody Prize Pack! Two winners will be selected and announced on Tessa’s blog the final day of tour (Friday, December 9th) and will be notified via email.

This prize pack includes…

  • E-copy of Unwritten Melody
  • Signed paperback copy of Purple Moon
  • Unwritten Melody mug, filled with goodies
  • Unwritten Melody swag, including a bookmark, pen, and poster
  • Starbucks mocha flavored instant coffee
  • Free Unwritten Melody: Page-By-Page Secrets PDF
  • Handmade journal
  • Typewritten thank you note

*This giveaway is open to the US only 

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Head to Tessa’s blog for a list of tour stops on the Unwritten Melody blog tour!

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