Saturday 17 September 2011

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Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A Little Wanting Song by Cath CrowleyA Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley - 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.
From Amazon US

I have absolutely no idea how I could possibly do this book justice with a review. It's beautiful, it's sad, it leaves you aching. It's absolutely wonderful.

I'm having trouble knowing where to start. Both Rose and Charlie want something. Rose wants to get out of the town she's lived in all her life and learn more. Science is her favourite subject, and she feels such wonder over learning. She can't see any future in her little town, and knows if she doesn't get out now, she never will. Charlie wants to be noticed by her Dad, mostly, but also by people in general and to have someone who gets her. Although she's a brilliant musician, song writer, and singer, she's terribly shy and so hardly anyone knows. With the death of her grandmother seven months ago, Charlie knows Christmas won't be the same this year, not with both her Grandpa and her Dad mourning their wives - even though Charlie's Mum died seven years ago - who aren't coping too well. Even Charlie has "ghosts" of both her Gran and her Mum with her, who she talks to.

It's hard to read A Little Wanting Song when the characters desperately want, so much. Their hearts reach out so far, dying to grab hold of what it is they want, but it slips through their fingers every time. You end up wanting right along with them, and it's upsetting, but in a really good way. There's no way you can read this book without being affected by it. It's complete and utter yearning at it's very rawest.

The writing! God, I couldn't get enough of the writing! It was like chocolate. You know when you eat chocolate slowly and it melts in your mouth, you could just die because that has to be what heaven tastes like? That's what the writing of A Little Wanting Song is like. It's beautiful, it's poetic, it's just gorgeous. You almost want to read it outloud, just so you can hear it. Like music to your ears.

Talking of music, this book is full of music. Charlie has a unique way of seeing the world. Music is her life, and so everything is described with musical metaphors; sounds, playing instruments, she sees music in everything - literally, even sun rises have "sound". It just goes back to what I said about the writing. It's just amazing.

As I've read this book for Death and Bereavement in Teen Lit Week, I should cover the bereavement in more detail. What's interesting in this book is it's not just Charlie who is grieving; her father and her grandfather are too, and she isn't the one who's coping the worst. Her Grandpa doesn't want to get up most days, and her Dad goes out at night, doesn't come back til late, and barely acknowledges Charlie's existance. Not only is she having to cope with her own grief, but also with feeling like she's practically orphaned. It's extremely sad, and Crowley writes their turmoil so well. As I said before, you can't read this book without being affected by it.

An incredible story. I will definitely be on the look out for other books by Crowley. You can't miss this..

Thank you to Luisa from Chicklish for lending me her copy.

Add to Goodreads

Published: 8th June 2010
Publisher: Knopf
Cath Crowley's Website

Other Reviews of A Little Wanting Song:
The Crooked Shelf


  1. Yeah, you're right about that. I loved this book too! (btw: it's "affected" not "effected") ^_^ Great review!

  2. Fabulous review! Oh, how I loved this book! I still haven't managed to review it because I just don't know what to say except 'wow'...
    I'm so glad you loved it too!

  3. Kirthi - Thank you! It's such a beautiful book, isn't it! Thanks for letting me know about the error, I'm always getting those two confused, lol.

    Luisa - Thank you! :) And thanks again for letting me borrow your copy. It is such a wonderful story!

  4. Aww, what a lovely review. There's another book added to my wishlist.

  5. Oh, awesome! It really was so good! I relly hope you enjoy it when you read it! :)

  6. So I could add this to both the D&B list and the music book lists yes??? If you could let me know via twitterthat would be awesome as I don't have time to revisit the post THANK YOU