Tuesday, Apr 30, 2024 7:00p -

Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140

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Porter Square Books is delighted to welcome Catherine Con Morse, one of the inaugural Writers in Residence at PSB, for the release of The Notes! She will be in conversation with one of PSB's current Writer's in Residence, Mia Tong. This event will take place on Tuesday, April 30 at 7pm at Porter Square Books (25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140).

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A reserved Chinese American teen at a Southern performing arts boarding school comes into her own under the tutelage of a glamorous new piano teacher. A moving coming-of-age-novel from a debut novelist about first love, adolescent angst, and academic pressures.

“Compellingly readable. Make room in the boarding-school book canon for a new classic.” - Jeff Zentner, award-winning author of In the Wild Light and The Serpent King

"A moving, highly virtuosic, and heart-rending portrait of an aspiring teen pianist trying to find her way...it made me feel seen." - Patricia Park, author of Imposter Syndrome and Other Confession of Alejandra Kim and What’s Eating Jackie Oh?

Claire Wu isn’t sure that she has what it takes to become a successful concert pianist.

It’s the fear of every student at Greenwood School for the Performing Arts: becoming a washed-out performer who couldn't make it big. And Claire's no Rocky Wong, the ace pianist at their boarding school.

Then Dr. Li shows up. She’s like no other teacher at Greenwood: mysterious, sophisticated, fascinating. Under Dr. Li’s tutelage, Claire works harder and dreams bigger than ever. And her crush Rocky finally seems interested. Maybe she’ll even be "Chinese enough" to join the elusive Asian Student Society.

Everything is falling into place until eerily personal notes about Claire’s bond with Dr. Li appear. Claire starts to feel the pressure. But she isn't the only one. Everyone is feeling the strain. Especially Rocky, whose extreme perfectionism hides something more troubling.

As the Showcase tension crescendos, Claire must decide if she’s ready to sink or swim. Only then can she discover who she really is and learn if she’s ready to give her all for a shot at greatness.

The Notes is a powerful and poignant debut YA novel from award-winning writer Catherine Con Morse about dealing with academic pressures, falling in love for the first time, and finding yourself.


Catherine Con Morse was one of the inaugural Writers in Residence at Porter Square Books. A Kundiman fellow, she received her MFA from Boston University, where she taught undergraduate creative writing for several years. Her work appears in JoylandLettersHOOTBostonia, the Racist Sandwich podcast, and elsewhere. The Notes was shortlisted for the CRAFT first chapters contest and is her first novel.

In high school, Catherine attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a public arts boarding school, where she was as intrigued with her teacher as Claire is with Dr. Li. Catherine continues to play and teach piano today. Most recently, she taught English at Choate Rosemary Hall, and lives in the Connecticut River Valley with her husband and daughter.

Mia Tong is a fiction writer of YA and immigrant stories. Internationally published online and forthcoming in print, she is finishing a master's in Creative Writing and Literature. Her work-in-progress Fireborn is a YA pan-Asian, mythology-inspired fantasy adventure novel about a deity who searches for an antidote to her caretaker's malady, battling a slew of fantastical foes and discovering her own true identity. When not writing or reading, Mia tries her hand at ikebana, thinking about the impact of generative AI to the writing community, and exploring the world, starting with her beloved Camberville. Find her online at www.miatongwriter.com and @miatongwriter.bsky.social.

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04/30/2024 19:00:00 04/30/2024 20:00:00 America/New_York Catherine Con Morse, author of The Notes, in conversation with Mia Tong <p><strong>Porter Square Books&nbsp;</strong>is delighted to welcome&nbsp;<strong>Catherine Con Morse</strong>, one of the inaugural Writers in Residence at PSB,<strong>&nbsp;</strong>for the relea... Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140 false MM/DD/YYYY