Girl, Unstrung

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 23 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 13 Dec 2021

Talking about this book? Use #GirlUnstrung #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


You might think it's fun to grow up around Hollywood with semi-famous parents. You'd be wrong, and Clara Cassidy would be the first to tell you so.

She's fourteen, figuring out life with three siblings and a new stepmom, and navigating her freshman year at a stupid high school where she doesn't even want to be. She was supposed to be at art school by now.

It's fine, though, totally fine: she's going to practice her viola extra hard and get into LACHSA next year. She's definitely 100 percent focused and not even slightly going to get distracted by Tim, the sophomore Scrabble champion with the swoopy hair and the chin dimple. Nope. Not her.

You might think it's fun to grow up around Hollywood with semi-famous parents. You'd be wrong, and Clara Cassidy would be the first to tell you so.

She's fourteen, figuring out life with three...

Available Editions

ISBN 9780997552362

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 28 members

Featured Reviews

I really enjoyed this for what it was, loved it in fact. I really did enjoy and appreciate this so much and I had a lot of fun reading it! 5 out of 5 stars!

Was this review helpful?

This is a fun, cute coming-of-age story that links nicely with Unscripted, but can be read as a stand-alone.
I enjoyed being able to follow Clara. Watching her dealing with all the struggles, challenges & pressures you face as a teenager. And, although not relatable to me now (I’m old lol), it’s a true reflection on what it’s like being young and navigating your way through life.
Clara, for me, is very much like Rachel Berry from the tv series Glee. She is determined, passionate, focused and at times, a little selfish. But, like Rachel, over the course of the book, you begin to understand her better and watch as she grows into a more mature young lady.

Thank you so much Claire & NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this prior to release.

Was this review helpful?

this was a really sweet and adorable read that I read really quickly, almost in one sitting. Such a lovely story that I really enjoyed reading

Was this review helpful?

This review is based on an ARC of Girl, Unstrung which I received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher (BooksGoSocial).

A brilliant novel from Claire Handscombe, a sure force to be reckoned with in the YA world! Reading Girl, Unstrung brought me back to all of my favorite YAs from when I was a young teen; I cherished my time with this book (er, kindle) between my hands.

Hanscombes' characters, plot, dialogues, pace, settings are structured, unique, real. This woman knows how to write, and she demonstrates her talent without immodesty.

This isn't your average YA. Girl, Unstrung is a moving, funny, original coming-of-age with many facets and folds to get lost in. The main character, Clara, is also multi-faceted. This is a story, not only entertaining, but relatable, endearing.

I thought I had finally grown up and moved on from YA, but Claire Hanscombe has proven me wrong!

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. I thought the story progressed at a good pace, the life lessons were top notch and I like that she found peace with herself in the end.

Was this review helpful?

This again was not my usual type of read but I did still enjoy it and wanted to keep on reading. A well written book, well done!

Was this review helpful?

Fact about me - I am not musical. I enjoy listening to music, but playing or singing? Nuh uh. Despite that, I still enjoyed this heartfelt contemporary YA about Clara, a talented viola player whose whole life revolves around aceing her audition and getting accepted to LA County High School of the Arts - just the first step on her way to international symphony success.

Because this is a YA novel, things do not go according to her neatly-journalled goals. I appreciated the detailed family dynamics, and that Clara felt like a real person with complex emotions and a terrifying amount of determination. My own high school days may have also left me with a weakness for swoopy-haired boys named Tim, so the love interest also gets a tick from me!

Was this review helpful?

Girl, Unstrung is a contemporary YA book about Clara, a high school freshman who has three siblings and semi-famous parents in her blended family. She auditioned as a violist to attend LACHSA, the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, but did not make it in. Clara is determined to get into LACHSA next year, since the school only auditions rising freshmen and sophomores, but first she has to make sure she doesn't get distracted by a cute guy at her current high school. The book follows Clara's point-of-view.

I was excited to see that she played the viola, which doesn't get as much love as its more sophisticated cousin, the violin (as Clara describes it). The book seems to be set in the same universe as Handscombe's adult romance Unscripted, which occurs before the events of Girl, Unstrung. I find it interesting that, while keeping with romance as a theme, Handscombe has spanned genres between YA and adult fiction with this universe.

Clara definitely acts like a typical high schooler, so her voice felt authentic to me. She has the typical self-centeredness of a teenager, but also checks herself from time to time and calls herself out on this issue. This is most present when she is trying to figure out how she feels and acts around her new step-mother.

Clara's main growth arc is about her obsessiveness with the viola and her struggle with feeling like she is "enough." Her entire family is full of artists; her mom and dad are both actors and her step-mother acts and teaches ballet. She wants to get into Julliard someday (where here dad went to college), and she believes that the only way to get there (as she notes in her bullet journal) is to get into LACHSA first. She practices her viola for three or more hours a day at her peak.

While I enjoyed reading this book, I do think it may have been a little too long. The chapters themselves are fairly short, and potato-chip-y. However, there are some recaps within the book where Clara mentions something that was said ten or so chapters before that I don't think needed to be rehashed. That being said, Handscombe is wonderful at writing prose and I'm excited to read more from her.

I received an advanced ebook copy of this book for review via NetGalley, but all opinions contained herein are my own. I really enjoyed Handscombe's prose in this novel, but even for an advanced reader copy, this sure had a ton of formatting and grammatical errors. I sincerely hope that they are fixed before the book is released on November 23, 2021.

Was this review helpful?

This was a really cute book. It follows a girl named Clara, she is 14 years old and plays the violins more sophisticated cousin, the viola. She comes from
a semi-famous family and it’s not as glamorous as it may seem. This book followers her journey as she tries to get accept to her dream high school LACHSA. This is a book that every age group would enjoy. It is well written and was a change of pace from other YA books.

Was this review helpful?

I really loved the writing style of the book, and the story was just so good. It is a book that I would totally read again.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve not read anything from this author before so I was a little bit hesitant going into this but overall I think I actually really like this it was Enjoyable and I think I’ll definitely read from this author again as I believe that the book was great it was well paced the characters were intriguing and in-depth the story was paced very well and overall I think it was really consuming as I read all in one sitting

Was this review helpful?

I was given an eARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

Overall, I thought this book was cute. It not only dealt with music and having your first crush, but it also dealt with how to adapt to a new family situation. I really enjoyed reading this.

Was this review helpful?

While some of us go through life rudderless, there are others who have a mission, a goal, a drive to do something and not let anything else get in the way. And that's the impetus behind this story.
It is interesting how we all can get so caught up in our own story that when our plans get derailed we are lost. The author did a great job portraying how we all have plans that go awry. Life goes on, maybe just in another direction. It is a lesson we can all learn from.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: