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A Little Wanting Song

by Cath Crowley

Published by U.S. edition: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010
272 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-86096-6

Ages 13 and older

Charlie and her dad are spending summer break—as they always do—with her grandfather in the small Australian town where Charlie’s parents grew up. Songwriting is Charlie’s secret outlet for pain and frustration around the death of her mother seven years before. Rose lives next door to Charlie’s grandfather and has not only ignored Charlie during her visits over the years but mocked her behind her back. But now Rose has won a scholarship to attend the last two years of high school in the city where Charlie lives. Her parents think she’s too young to go on her own, and Rose has decided to befriend Charlie in the hopes their friendship will convince her mom and dad to let her go. A social outsider, Charlie is initially suspicious of Rose’s overtures but soon is drawn into the circle that includes Rose, Rose’s boyfriend, Luke, and Dave—a boy who has always offered her kindness. Alternating chapters from Charlie and Rose’s perspective offer insight into each girl’s life. Charlie’s ever-expanding emotional distance from her still-grieving dad, and Rose’s ever-more-desperate feeling that she’ll be trapped in the small town forever, are powerful forces in a beautifully written young adult novel that chronicles a burgeoning but tenuous friendship. Every character in Cath Crowley’s quiet masterpiece is multi-dimensional, achingly real, and worthy of a novel of their own.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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