Title: A Little Wanting Song
Author: Cath Crowley
Pub. Date: 6.8.10
Genre: Contemporary YA
Keywords: Music, Love, Friendship, Grief, First Impressions
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.