A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm kind of tired to repeat myself and say that these Aussies YA authors write well..... but anyway, THIS Aussie writes well.
This is the second book by Cath Crowley I've picked up, the first being Graffiti Moon but A Little Wanting Song was actually published before, with the original title Chasing Charlie Duskin.
While I loved Graffiti Moon I can safely say I loved this one even more. Because this book is MORE. More of everything. There is more drama, more angst, more reality, especially in its ending, which reflected perfectly what would have happened in a real life situation.
Told in alternating point of views, the story is mainly about two girls, Rose and Charlie. Charlie comes from the big city and spends her non-white Christmases in the tiny village. She is a talented, artistic, introverted and therefore unpopular girl with a problem with fitting in and an even bigger problem with dealing with grief.
Rose comes from the tiny village and the thing she wants the most is to go the big city. She is a bitchy, larger than life, outspoken and manipulative science geek whose sole purpose is to escape her less than provincial life.
Rose and Charlie are two complementary characters, two sides of the same medal, and it is when they become more or less friends that they learn a long due lesson about themselves, their families and the persons they want to be.
What struck me most about this book is that, characteristics which usually make my eye twitch and irritate me, in this book did not.
First off, Crowley's writing style, especially in Charlie's narration, is very sensorial. She describes what is around her and her feelings by means of noises, colors and metaphors related to music. Some chapters are just songs she writes. When writing in such a style, it is very easy to overdo it and fall into a redundant, flowery prose. Somehow, even though I obviously found the prose a bit purplish at times, it never bothered me or felt like she was trying too hard. It was beautifully done. Let me quote:
"I stand under the waterfall while it smashes at rocks and skin and memory. Gus and Beth take me to bands when they can, when it's underage or they know people running the gig. You walk inside, and the music's so loud the world shatters and the things that didn't make sense before still don't make sense but they don't have to while you're there. That's what it's like here. The water makes everything ice and cracks it. I'm standing under bits of falling me."
And I loved this:
"Charlie just shrugs but she doesn't do it like other people do. She resettles her skin."
Also, this book is so authentically about teenagers. Hence, drama. Hence, lots and lots of angst. But again, I never thought it was too much for me and my inner teenager. I never felt it was stupid or unjustified. There's a lot of drama going on in these people's lives but their reactions are probably what I would have had, had I been in their shoes. So, very very realistic.
Aside from Rose and Charlie, the two main male supporting characters, Dave and Luke, are amazing and funny, and I think you should just go read the book and find out for yourself.
In Dave's words:
"Is your dad better since the accident?". He nods. "People keep calling it an accident. That snake bit me on purpose. I've named it Sneaky. Sneaky had it planned. I saw its face.
Finally, this book is very Australian and I just love that. I had almost forgotten I used to have beetroot in my hamburgers in Aussie land. Almost.
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