Review: A Little Wanting Song – Cath Crowley

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Title: A Little Wanting Song [Amazon]
Author: Cath Crowley  [website]
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Library/Hardcover
Stars: 5 of 5

Publisher Description:
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.

My Thoughts:
This is another Australian gem suggested to me by Trish Doller and Gail that I would have never read if it weren’t for the two of them. And shame on me for that. A Little Wanting Song (I have the tendency to say waiting for some reason) was an utterly enjoyable read about friendship and first love and growing up.

A Little Wanting Song is the story of Charlie Duskin, a shy girl that is good at one thing, music. With her grandmother’s recent passing and the grief of losing her mother years back, Charlie and her father go to the country to visit with her grandpa. But this visit will be different than any other visit Charlie can remember. With her father and grandpa still grieving Charlie starts spending time with the finicky girl next door, Rose Butler, who never wanted anything to do with Charlie in the past. But as the days go past and Charlie starts to break out of her shell and gets closer to Dave Robbie, the boy she has crushed on for years, Charlie finds out that Rose’s motives might not be as they seem and Rose will do anything to either get what she wants or to just be Charlie’s friend.

Have I mentioned that I loved this book? Because I did. The alternating voices of Rose and Charlie were the perfect way to go with this story as it showed their alternating personalities in a way that only two voices could. And as different as these girls were I loved getting to know them and I really liked them. Charlie seemed to blossom as she get herself open up and be herself and not so shy. She was weird like Dave told her time and time again, but she was a good weird, a weird that is interesting and makes you want to know more. And Rose on the other hand was a girl that was just trapped. She wanted to get out and was ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen, but as she started to open herself she started to realize that just because someone was different didn’t mean you couldn’t be friends with them. Both girls, over a few short weeks, blossomed and became this characters that are not easily forgettable and won’t be for a long time.

And Dave. Oh how I loved Dave Robbie. He was just this quiet, sidekick like guy, that would do anything for his friends even at his own expense. He didn’t mind being made fun of or being the third wheel with Rose and her boyfriend Luke. And he was this lanky, gorgeous thing that was humble about it. Watching him talk to Charlie was probably my highlight of the book because it was so awkward and uncertain but sweet and entertaining at the same time. He would often say the wrong thing or say something in the wrong way only to be told by Rose that he was messing up. It was really endearing.

Basically this book was just a bundle full of joy. It dealt with some heavier stuff, but Crowley’s writing made it not seem so emotional and you couldn’t help but root for these characters. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but there is just something magical about Australian publications. A definite must read.

Other books by the author:
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Second Chance Sunday – Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

When I first started to read this weeks Second Chance Sunday book I almost gave up. I had no idea what the make of the story and I was already 50 pages in. But at the urging from a friend I continued on and learned to get used to being lost when reading a Marchetta book and was pleasantly surprised to find just how much I loved this book and the characters involved. Without further ado I give you today’s Second Chance Sunday, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta.

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Title: Saving Francesca [Amazon]
Author: Melina Marchetta [website]
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary
Source/Type: Borrowed/ Hardcover
Stars: 5 out of 5

Publisher’s Description:
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys’ school that pretends it’s coed by giving the girls their own bathroom.  Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player.  The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Then there’s Francesca’s mother, who always thinks she knows what’s best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is.  Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, hersocial life and—hardest of all—herself.

My Thoughts:
In all honesty I was about 50 pages into this book and I was hating it. I kept asking myself why there was so much hype for this writer and this story. And then Francesca, Will, Justine, Siobhan, Tara, Jimmy and Thomas got their acts together and I fell in love. I seriously love the way the friendships and relationships were developed as the book went one. I loved it so much in fact I ended up reading the whole book in one day.

Melina Marchetta truly has a gift with words. She had me feeling every single thing Frankie was feeling. From her confusion to her heartache to her loneliness to her eventual acceptance. I laughed and a cried and I enjoyed the journey wholeheartedly. I loved that each character had their own personality and their own flaws but they all worked as a whole together. Without Thomas Justine wouldn’t make sense, and without Justine Will wouldn’t work, and so on. They all needed each other because they were all a part of one another. Truly inspiring.

You have made a believer in me Ms. Marchetta of the power of you words and the way you tell a story and i apologize for thinking anything else when i began this story. I mean with lines like: “Oh God, Frankie, I breathe in rhythm with that man. You think that’s not my flesh and blood after all these years?” and “I notice when you’re not. Does that count?” how can you go wrong! Brava

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Review: Every Day – David Levithan

Review: Every Day – David LevithanEvery Day by David Levithan
Published by Alfred A. Knopf
Published: September 10th 2013
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four-stars

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

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Very interesting was my first thought when I finished this book. Honestly I couldn’t really think of anything else but interesting. I’m not sure why. It was a great book and written beautifully, but that was all I had. Maybe because I knew from the start it had nowhere to go, that there could never been a resolution because of the circumstances. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed this book immensely, but I also felt like I was reading towards a dead end and I think that took away just a little in the long run.

Every Day is about A, a boy that can never have a life of his own. Every single day he wakes up in the body of someone else and stays there for roughly 24 hours. He has no family, no friends, no home. His life is the life of others and he has become okay with it. Has made his peace with the fact that it is the way it is. That is until he meets a girl and everything changes for him. Instead of living the life of the body he is given for the day A starts to do things just to see Rhiannon. No matter where he is, who he is, everything begins to be about her. But when A uses the body of someone to see Rhiannon and they start to put the pieces together and figure out what is going on A is in an area he has never known before and he must decide what is more important his secret or his love.

I liked A, I really did. He was complex but vulnerable at the same time. He saw life in a way that others just can’t. In his world there were no boundaries, no outside packages. He saw what a person was like on the inside and didn’t understand why people couldn’t do that. It really was a very interesting take on the age old saying “judge a book by its cover” because the cover was people. And since A was never the same person twice it was hard for him to get that it was easy to judge someone by looks and not who they are.  The talks he had with Rhiannon about this were fascinating as the reader got to see both sides of the coin. And I love A and Rhiannon together no matter who he was that day. But again I’m brought back to the dead end. I just couldn’t get past that line of thinking that it just couldn’t go anywhere good.

I will say having only read one other Levithan book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and not really liking it all that much, Every Day was a FAR better choice. It had a beautiful story with great characters that was masterfully written. It made me want to read more by this author and erased the awkward feelings I had after Will Grayson. Now that right there makes this worth the read alone.

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