Monday, May 24, 2010

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Publication Date/Version: June 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)

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.

Charlie has her music and freedom, but no mother or close family. Rose has her mother and close friends, but no freedom whatsoever. Charlie visits her grandpa along withe her dad in a small Australian town. Rose received a scholarship to a science school; now she just needs a way to go there. Rose sees Charlie as her way out. Over the course of the summer, love is found and lost and friendships are made and broken.

A Little Wanting Song is simply remarkable. Its portrayal of character growth is remarkable. The prose is beautiful, expressive, and gorgeous. The writing, combined with the fluid motion of the story and the transformation of the characters, made the book a true treasure.

Charlie begins as a loner - outcast from her family by an isolating father, with no mother to turn to. She has few friends, and the ones she did have ditched her for her lack of spontaneity and excitement. Rose has two best friends she would never trade for the world, but she is trapped in a small backwater town with no way to get out. Her controlling mother won't allow her to leave to go to school, though she has a scholarship. Charlie envies Rose because of her perfect friends and her steely attitude, while Rose envies Charlie because of her freedom. Rose quickly sees a way in which she can use Charlie to get what she wants, and she quickly invites Charlie to be a part of the group.

Charlie starts as a pushover character with little motivating her, but she develops into a headstrong and independent woman. She cultivates her talent for music, shattering her fears. She realizes that Rose is in just a difficult situation as her. Rose initially seeks out Charlie only to use her, but she soon realizes that Charlie's life isn't all she thought it would be. Rose changes her views and beings to see Charlie as a true friend. Her beginning intentions, however, don't go unnoticed.

The character development in A Little Wanting Song was like no other. Each character underwent a radical change, including the secondary characters. I was enticed by their growth and transformation together as a cast of characters. The book was filled with a surprising amount of humor that was just my style. It was sarcastic (love it!) and perfectly timed.

The romantic side of things was electric, intensified only by beautiful prose. The prose of this story is really what drew me in. Literally a page and a half into the book, I set it down, looked up, and told my mom, "This book is going to be amazing." I was right. Cath Crowley manages to express common emotions and thoughts in just the right way. I would read a sentence and think That's it! That's exactly how I felt. Ms. Crowley captured emotions at their deepest level with perfect wording.

A Little Wanting Song is stunning, expressive, and elicits intense emotion from the reader.

Overall: Gorgeous prose. Stunning and remarkable. Character development like no other.

My Advice: Buy it. A must own. I look forward to the day when I have a copy for myself.

Cover: One thing: the girl's hair looks greasy! That's the one problem I have with this whole book. Other than that, the cover combines Rose's and Charlie's decorative designs used throughout their alternating chapters, an element that I love.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. I do like good prose :) Great review :)

  2. Great review! I especially liked "The prose is beautiful, expressive, and gorgeous. The writing, combined with the fluid motion of the story and the transformation of the characters, made the book a true treasure."
    And I hadn't noticed the hair, but you're right, it does. :P

  3. Greasy hair! ...I just had to do that.

    This book looks incredible, and your review made me want to read it even more! I can't wait to get my hands on this!


  4. I loved this book too! Cath Crowley is such a talented writer, both "A Little Wanting Song" and "Graffiti Moon" have amazing characters (and development) and lyrical writing that makes me want to mark every page with a highlighter! :)

    - Alyssa of Redhead Heroines

    Book Review of “A Little Wanting Song” by Cath Crowley


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