Review: When The Beat Drops by Anna Hecker

Anna Hecker’s debut, When the Beat Drops, is a masterpiece of a novel, composed specifically to break the reader’s heart. It was lyrical and stunning in a way that only a fellow musician can write.

When The Beat Drops Cover

In When the Beat Drops, Seventeen-year-old Mira has always danced to her own beat. A music prodigy in a family of athletes, she’d rather play trumpet than party—and with her audition to a prestigious jazz conservatory just around the corner (and her two best friends at music camp without her), she plans to spend the summer focused on jazz and nothing else.

She only goes to the warehouse party in a last-ditch effort to bond with her older sister. Instead, she falls in love with dance music, DJing…and Derek, a gorgeous promoter who thinks he can make her a star. Suddenly trumpet practice and old friendships are taking a backseat to packed dance floors, sun-soaked music festivals, outsized personalities, and endless beats.

But when a devastating tragedy plunges her golden summer into darkness, Mira discovers just how little she knows about her new boyfriend, her old friends, and even her own sister. Music is what brought them together…but will it also tear them apart?


I received an eARC of When the Beat Drops via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m also mutuals with the agent for this book, Eric Smith, on Twitter.

I picked this up thinking it would be much lighter than it was. I still devoured it in two sittings. It would have been one sitting if I hadn’t had to go to bed.

This book needs major content warnings for recreational drug use, drug addiction, major side character overdose, major side character death, an abusive romantic relationship, gaslighting, manipulation, minor use of ableist terms, minor use of fat-antagonistic terms, and minor homophobia (called out).

When The Beat Drops played my heartstring’s like Crow played her double bass — skillfully and beautifully. I went from laughing out loud to crying to clutching my laptop to my chest while I read. Music is threaded throughout main character Mira’s thoughts and the way she functions in life, even to the ways she handles stress and

What really made this book powerful for me was the way it actually dealt with failure – for Britt, for Mira, for their parents, and for Shay. A lot of YA books shy away from letting their characters fail powerfully, but Hecker let them all fall hard. All of the characters got to make bad decisions, and they all had consequences. It made this book heart-wrenching. It also ended on a hopeful note, which I appreciated. I have a lot of hope for all of the characters’ futures, even if we never see them.

If you couldn’t tell, I loved When the Beat Drops a lot. I highly recommend it, and look forward to whatever Hecker decides to put us through next!

You can purchase a copy of When The Beat Drops on
Amazon, Indiebound or Barnes and Noble!


Title: When The Beat Drops

Author: Anna Hecker

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Length: 320 Pages

Release Date: May 1, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★ / Five stars

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Representation: biracial main character and family

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