Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Title: A Little Wanting Song
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Release date: April 28th 2005
Pages: 272
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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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 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I fell in love with Cath Crowley's writing in Graffiti Moon, and it's what I loved most about A Little Wanting Song, too. Cath Crowley has a style that makes the words jump off the page, that makes everything feel... alive. Her writing is gorgeous, making me stop to marvel at the beauty and honesty of it all throughout the novel.

A Little Wanting Song is told in alternating points of view, switching between Charlie and Rose. Charlie is a character I loved with all my heart. Her voice is honest and raw; it has a very vulnerable feel to it. Charlie's character growth is tremendous, and I loved being with her on this journey. I loved what Charlie's interest in music brought to the story, especially because the chapters are interspersed with her song lyrics. I commend Cath Crowley for perfecting the balance between having the lyrics fit to Charlie's character and making them stunningly beautiful.

Rose is a very different character; Cath Crowley gave her characters very unique voices. She's more of the troublemaker-type, not exactly something I'd relate to, but I liked seeing the different sides to her, seeing the differences between how Charlie sees her and how Rose sees herself. I didn't love Rose's storyline as much as Charlie's, though - I just thought her character growth wasn't as developed.

What struck me most about A Little Wanting Song was the setting, the atmosphere Cath Crowley has created here. I always love books set in Australia - there's just something about them. The small-town setting is vivid and just really well done.

The only part I didn't like is the romance. I'm never a fan of forcing romance on a story that doesn't need it, and it felt sort of like that in A Little Wanting Song. Dave's a nice guy, but I didn't feel any real chemistry between him and Charlie; that whole storyline is underdeveloped, in my opinion.

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book. It doesn't have the same spark as Graffiti Moon, that feeling that would make it an instant favorite, but I really liked it. It's the subtle and poignant story of two very different girls finding themselves in an unlikely friendship.


  1. I LOVED Graffiti Moon! Thank you for this great review, and putting this book on my radar. I need to get my hands on it pronto!
    ~ Jen @ A Book and a Latte

  2. A book can win with over if the writing style lives up to the story.


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