Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley



Title: A Little Wanting Song
Author: Cath Crowley
Publisher: Knopf
Pub. Date: 6.8.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Music, Love, Friendship, Grief, First Impressions
Pages: 228
Description (from GoodReads):
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.


I could tell by the description of A LITTLE WANTING SONG that I would enjoy it, but I had no idea how much I would come to love it.  Often, when I finish a good novel, I’ll feel satisfied, but ALWS was different. Cath Crowly left me longing… longing for more of this brilliant, soulful novel and the characters I had come to love.


ALWS is told in alternating point-of-view by Charlie and Rose, two girls who are, at first glance, complete opposites, but, in truth, have more in common than either ever imagined. At first, I felt much closer to Charlie, which I think was primarily due to her music. Her lyrics are simple, but so incredibly full of truth and raw emotion; I could feel the power behind them. It’s just a little wanting song/ It won’t go on for all that long/ Just long enough to say/ How much I’m wishing for/ Just a little more Rose is much more guarded than Charlie and keeps her emotions tightly locked away. It wasn’t until she allowed some of that emotion to show that I really connected with her. By the time I finished the novel, I had become so invested in Crowley’s characters that it was almost painful to leave them behind.


Often, in YA literature, parents are mysteriously absent. Other times, they are completely horrid. There are, of course, exceptions, but, in my experience, those exceptions are few and far between. In ALWS, Rose and Charlie’s relationships with their parent(s) profoundly affects their actions and beliefs. I’m extremely greatful that Crowley focused on this aspect of Charlie and Rose’s life, since, in real life, this relationship definitely has an impact.


Since ALWS is told from two POVs, the romance is unique. Charlie’s budding romance with Dave, one of Rose’s closest friends, was absolutely perfect. Their relationship moves slowly, with shy smiles and wistful glances. The tension between the two was fantastic. If Charlie and Dave’s relationship is a steady flame, Rose and Luke’s is an explosion. It isn’t that the couple doesn’t care deeply for one another – they honestly do – there’s just many unresolved issues between the two. While the romantic in me dislikes their rocky relationship, I could identify with Rose’s fears and anxiety, allowing me to appreciate it.


A LITTLE WANTING SONG is a gorgeous novel that has captured my heart and refuses to let go.


Grade: A+

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34 thoughts on “Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

  1. +JMJ+You're right that parents are often absent or horrid or just somewhere else in YA while the young protagonists take centre stage. It should be interesting to see the dynamics in this book.I've been tiring of Paranormals lately. This one sounds like a good "realistic" novel about "normal" people. Thanks for the review, Sara! =)

  2. The title alone drew me in. Then you gave me a taste of the lyrics and I knew without a doubt I wanted to read this book. Great review! (Hugs)Indigo

  3. This book initially looked good to me. And then I read the raving reviews of the book from you, Steph Su, and Kelsey of the Book Scout, and now I am DYING to read this book! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I havn't heard of thir book before but from reading the synopsis and what you had to say about it, it defintley looks like something that needs to be added to my quickly growing to read list.

  5. I love books where you become firends with the characters because for a short while they are in your life and from reading your review this sounds like one of those books. Thanks!

  6. You know, usually contemporary books don't scream at me to be read, but I LOVE music, and this sounds like ithas a lot to do with music. Thanks for the great review! I cannot wait to read this myself.

  7. I love when YA & Music mix! This is definitely on my very, very extensive "To Read" list… it just seems to keep getting longer! So many great books, so little time! o_O

  8. Your review makes me really want to read the book! I can't help but want to feel longing after finishing a book, it's been far too long since I've felt that:)

  9. Wow, okay. I didnโ€™t have high expectations for this book at the beginning. Then I got to reading your review and my stance changed a little. Iโ€™m surprised by how in depth you got with the characters. Iโ€™ve only had a few books where it pained me to let the characters go and move on to another series. Iโ€™d definitely love reading this โ€“ itโ€™s the newest addiction to my TBR pile!

  10. Glad you enjoyed it so much!"A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . . ."Just that first line of the summary is enough for me to want it. PLUS, I love books that at least touch on music (like If I Stay and The Sky is Everywhere, which are both favorites of mine) I read every word of your review (which in all honesty, I usually skim :P). I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much! It sounds amazing. I love alternating POVs, and it sounds like the characters are keepers. *If I don't win your contest*, I'll be buying this one in the near future. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I'm just glad to have come across another book where the parents are actually involved in the MC(s) life! I ove the idea of this book switching between two POVS. I get the feeling I'd really love this book! Excellent review! :D~Briana

  12. Upon reading this wonderful review and listening to others who have already read this, I am going to have to pick this book up and when I do I know I will never put it down before I read the last word.

  13. Hey again! All right, one last thing. About splitting POVs? I think it captures the book in every which way and I can understand how the other characters are responding and what they think. Night!

  14. To make this clear one last time, I just need need need need need NEED to add that I have had this book on my to-read list on Goodreads wayyyy to long (what can I say, I'm a procrastinator ;))

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