by Cath Crowley
Australian title: Chasing Charlie Duskin
Book of the Month for July =)
Perhaps you've heard of Graffiti Moon-- that is, if you stalk all the Aussie blogs I love to stalk :) And then you'd know that that's one of the books I'm dying to read, but then I decided, why not try the little sister book? I've heard some things, but not much, and I didn't really know what I was in for...
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.
My Expectations: I just hoped it would be good. And it wouldn't spoil my expectations for Graffiti Moon.
Delivery: DUDE. Oh my gosh. See this tweet. And this one. This one? And my review. It's like a blend of a Damien Rice song, Regina Spektor, and The Sky is Everywhere.
If you know me… well, A Little Wanting Song is my type of book. It's and Audrey book. My type of book isn’t filled with explosions and evil government corporations*. It’s not decorated in sunshine and rainbows and pizazz that blind my eyes; it’s filled with moments of awkwardness, authenticity and life. My type of book is character-rich and quietly gorgeous, it’s haunting, it’s subtle, and it’s beautiful. And this book is everything and more.
The characters. This novel is told from alternating perspectives of Charlie and Rose, and the way these two characters breathed life into the story and honestly burrowed their way into my heart was alarming. I loved how none of the alternating chapters were too long, sometimes a few pages was all it took and all that was needed. The supporting cast didn’t even feel like secondary characters, Dave, Luke, the parents… it felt like they sprung into the pages complete with personality and a backstory.
The plot was strong as well but as a very character-driven book, I was less concerned with it. I thought all the events allowed for extraordinary personal growth as characters surprised me time and time again- then thinking back, I wonder why I was even surprised. The only thing is that I found the pacing might have been shaky towards the end though. The way the two girls’ lives intertwined and the dual narration was just the absolutely perfect set-up.
And can I comment on how simply lovely the Charlie-Dave romance was? It fits with the book- it’s achingly good, innocent, and daringly swoon-worthy. The moment Dave calls her “fucking gorgeous” I’m a goner. And the thing is that this book is just as much Rose’s story, and I loved her and her complicated relationship with Luke just as much. The dynamics weren’t what I had initially expected, but as Crowley effortlessly moves things along, mistakes are made and things happen and everything feels so full of soul.
Plus, this book made me cry. At the most random moments right in the middle of the book, Charlie or Rose would whip out a line and I feel that sting in my eyes and I’m like… this book is genius. The writing flows like poetry or music with a whimsical rhythm, and I’m also in love with the fact that Charlie is a musician and Rose loves science. It’s small things like that.
I wish I could sound grown up and talk about all the themes in this book, the themes of friendship, first love, family, and feelings of being in a small town. I wish I could break apart the inner workings of this book and tell you exactly what made it tick and what made it so wonderful, but I can’t. I’m just a reader who unsuspectingly fell in love.
I don’t want to end on a sappy note, but I’m pulling out all the holes In My brain jargon here. A Little Wanting Song is simply gourmet literature devoured to a melody of major and minor chords.
Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding, Hermione style.
Recommended for: Melina Marchetta fans (yes, I said it). Contemporary YA fans (ALL), especially if you liked books like The Sky is Everywhere and Jellicoe Road.
9.3/10 – yes you read that rating right—highest one I’ve given this year. It’s the perfect book for me, and yes, I realize some people might not fall completely in love with it as me, and I’m not pretending that you will go crazy for it but I just wanted to put it out there. I think Cath Crowley has helped fill the mile-wide hole in my heart that’s dying for the next Melina Marchetta book… The poetic writing blended with the delicately real characters mixed in with a beautiful storyline and some Australian flair**. I loved it.
*okay, those types of books are my second-favourite types. I’m trying to prove a point here.
**it’s Christmas and New Years during the summer. How cool is that?
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