But Cats Don’t Talk is a young adult novel that combines elements of romance, tragedy, classical music, auditory hallucinations, a reinterpretation of “family,” and dogged determination. It is the inspiring story of Rebecca O’Sullivan, a 17-year-old prodigy who has everything going for her: a promising career as a classical pianist, a supportive mother/piano teacher/manager, and a loving pet, Beethoven the Cat (BC), who accompanies her everywhere, even to her concerts where he wears a bowtie and sleeps atop her grand piano while she performs. Becca relies on her mother for practically everything, so when her mom dies suddenly, Becca finds herself ill-equipped to take care of herself or to perform her remaining concerts that season. To make matters worse, BC starts talking to her—becoming snarkier by the moment—and convinces Becca she is losing her mind. Even with the help of Cassie, her alcoholic aunt, Dak, her new friend/boyfriend, and Mrs. Fox, her honorary grandmother, Becca is afraid she won’t be able to hold it together long enough to perform the last two concerts. And even if she does, she has no idea what she is going to do after the concerts are over.
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