Published: 11th October 2011
First Published: 28th April 2005
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Recommended Reading Age: 16+
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 don’t want to say too much about this book, other than please pick this one up the next time you’re looking for an unassuming, quiet contemporary. With some writers you just know that when you sit down to read one of their books you’ll be left contented and with a smile on your face.
While I didn’t like A Little Wanting Song as much as Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley has definitely become one of those writers for me.
A Little Wanting Song is a simple story, character driven and carried effortlessly by Crowley’s writing. I connected with all the characters, especially Charlie, who is incredibly lonely and uncomfortable around people, especially her peers. I understood Rose’s fears, her love for Luke and her need to let him go.
I loved how Charlie would have conversations with her mother and grandmother and the flashbacks of them dancing it out.
I loved the friendship between Luke, Rose and Dave, how they got each other, faults and all.
I appreciated that Crowley conveys the importance of music in Charlie’s life, in how she connects with the world, without referencing pages of artists or songs I have never heard of.
A Little Wanting Song is a short, imperfect story about wanting, friendship, grief and love. It’s not hard-hitting and lacks the depth and character development of other novels that explore very similar themes. At times, Rose and Charlie’s narratives were hard to distinguish from the other, despite them being two very different characters and it did have it’s cliché, slightly silly, moments.
What it is, however, is subtle and hopeful, sprinkled with moments of some beautifully written prose.
‘We watch her walk into the spotlight she’s been been hiding from most of her life. Sure, friendship is all about believing in someone so hard they believe it, too. Sure, it’s about trust. But if anyone hurts her tonight, it’s about ripping them apart with my bare hands and really enjoying it.’
~ page 239