A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 8th 2010My rating: 4 Stars
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.
A Little Wanting Song is quite literally about wanting, and so much more.
Charlie is spending her Christmas holiday with her father at her grandfather’s home in the country. Charlie, like any teenage girl, wants so many things. She wants her Dad to notice her but he’s too crippled by grief. She lost her mother in a tragic accident, but her father might as well have died then too. Charlie wants to be noticed and fit in with friends. She wants to have the courage to play her songs and show her talent to the world.
Rose also wants things. She won a scholarship to a city school, a good school, and she desperately wants to go. She doesn’t want to end up like her mother, pregnant and stuck in a small country town, managing a caravan park. Rose wants to learn about and see all the world has to offer. When Charlie shows up for holiday like she does every year, Rose thinks she might have a way out yet.
This story was told in alternating POVs between Charlie and Rose. I immediately connected with Charlie because she was a likeable character from the first pages. I felt sorry for her, the way she put up with crappy treatment from friends, and neglect from her father. I wanted her to stand up for herself and get what she needed from her dad, and friends, and life.
Rose, on the other hand, took me a little to warm up to. In the beginning, she seems so cold and selfish in her determination to get out of the country.
Rose: “You know the feeling you get when you’re homesick? Things are going great, and then all of a sudden your stomach’s saying, “This isn’t the place you’re meant to be. That’s how I feel all the time.
Rose treated Charlie as an outsider through the years, when Charlie desperately needed a friend, and I was a little repelled. Fortunately, we do get to see the softer, caring side of Rose, as well. She’s constantly trying to keep her boyfriend, Luke, and friend Dave out of trouble, which could be a full-time job. I also warmed to her when I realized how much she started to care for Charlie. In the end, I loved Rose just as much as Charlie. Both characters were real, relatable and flawed.
Cath Crowley’s prose is beautiful without being over-the-top or too flowery. I was exposed to Ms. Crowley’s poetry in Graffiti Moon, through her character, Poet, but she has more of an excuse to let loose in this story with Charlie, a singer-song-writer. What a treat! The lines are gorgeous, conveying volumes in just a few words.
Secondary characters, Dave and Luke were wonderfully done as well. I cared for each and every character in this story. (Except for Louise, she can “shove it up her butt”!) Why is it I fall so hard for the boy next door who’s gorgeous but has no idea? Dave!! The romance, while not a huge part, was so sweet and so dreamy!
He leans in and the bird on his wrist flaps against my neck and his mouth is warm and the inside of me goes harmonic this time and the whole thing is a million times better than what I imagined. And I imagined it pretty good.
If you haven’t read anything by Cath Crowley, do yourself a favor and change that. This brilliant Australian author should be on everyone’s must-read list.
Favorite Poem: Written after kissing, of course:
So slowly, really slowly
I'm all the chords there are
So slowly, really slowly
I'm keys I never heard
So slowly, really slowly
I'm spinning song and dancing
Rising voice beneath my skin