Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Random House
(First published April 28th 2005)
My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, read-in-2011, realistic-fiction, young-adult
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Description via Goodreads
A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . . .
CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.
ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.
Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.
I had been quite excited to read this book, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as I thought it could be. I am a massive fan of contemporary/coming of age young adult literature and had high hopes for this book. I did enjoy this book, it was a quick and easy read, but it wasn't as good as had expected it to be. I wasn't truly absorbed until about half way through the book, where I began to feel more knowledgable about the characters. Music isn't particularly my favourite subject either, and this is one main aspect of the book - this did tire me slightly at points.
A Little Wanting Song follows two protagonists, Charlie and Rose. They are both characters that are reasonably easy to connect with (though I took a little time adjusting to Rose) but there isn't really anything about either of them that I really loved, although they did feel like very real characters. There were quite strong differences between the two in their thoughts and personalities, but their voices were very similar and at points it was a little difficult to differentiate between them. Unfortunately, because of this, the novel was not as brilliant as it could have been. Dave, Charlie's romantic interest and Rose's best friend, is likeable and had potential to be a strong character, but I thought that the romance was a bit too sudden. I simply just did not like Luke, Rose's boyfriend, but it would've been interesting to see why he acted the way he did. I did appreciate how everyone introduced to us did have a particular purpose or impact upon our protagonists lives, and that they also felt very realistic.
The relationships that are developed in this book are the main basis of this book and they are explored well. It was really interesting to see how Charlie and Rose interacted and how their friendship progressed. I enjoyed seeing them both overcome their internal struggles with their families, their past and their present troubles. Charlie, especially, had a lot of issues with her familial relationships, particularly her father, after the death of her mother several years ago. Crowley is talented in getting deep into the emotional states of her characters, it's clear to see, and this is why the book is enjoyable. It did take me a little while to adjust to Crowley's writing style but her writing is simple, yet good. I was surprised with how she made me feel quite strong emotion through certain phrases or paragraphs, rather than through specific events.
This book wasn't particularly remarkable or memorable, but it was enjoyable. It's a simple and quick enough read, but the characters and relationships were surprisingly complex. I will look forward to reading more of Cath Crowley's books in the future, but this one just didn't strike me as great.