- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375860967
- ISBN-13: 978-0375860966
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,555,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Little Wanting Song Hardcover – June 8, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Two voices alternate chapters in this aptly titled, lyrical Australian novel of unexpected friendship and self-acceptance. Charlie, a shy and lonely Melbournian, keeps her songwriting private and her thoughts to herself when spending her 16th summer in her grandfather's small town. She's always tried not to notice the snubs from the girl next door, Rose; her boyfriend, Luke; and their friend, Dave, who, Charlie notes, "hangs behind…like the backbeat to a song." This summer, however, Rose is bored and looking for a way to get to the city, and befriending Charlie might be her ticket. And then there's Dave, to Charlie, "a guy worth writing songs about." To readers he is indeed the perfect boy, ideal for a summer romance. Charlie's voice is unforgettable: every page sings with a music-related insight or metaphor: kissing him, "the stars sound like harmonicas." Rose's chapters initially are near-straight dialogue, her blunt locution showcasing her anger and ennui. But as she opens herself up to Charlie, they gain introspection and poetic phraseology: "the sky explodes around the two of us. The world is fat with color." The teens' language is also raw, but totally realistic. Give this incredible, satisfying book to fans of Sarah Dessen, Karen Foxlee, Melina Marchetta, Ellen Wittlinger—actually, give it to any teen girl who longs a little and feels too much—Australian or not.—Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library
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Crowley’s tale of love, loss, and betrayal in small-town Australia is built around music as a means of communication. In alternating chapters, city-girl Charlie Duskin and country-girl Rose Butler reveal their thoughts, desires, and plans. Charlie is a painfully shy but talented singer-songwriter who never performs for anyone and has always wanted to be part of Rose’s circle during her frequent visits from the city. Rose longs to get away from the stifling small-town atmosphere and has won a scholarship to a prestigious high school in the city to study science. Rose sees Charlie as a ticket to a new life, while Charlie sees Rose as a friend, something she desperately needs in her dysfunctional family. Charlie’s songs augment the text throughout, enhancing the already lyrical prose. Crowley captures quiet moments with aching beauty and tenderness; her empathy for teen girls recalls Deb Caletti and Sarah Dessen. Music-loving teens will appreciate Crowley’s eloquent descriptions of performing and enjoying music, and how it becomes the means to express difficult messages. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton
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Like I said I really related to this story though Rose is the hardest to understand she comes off as a bit of ungrateful snot and there are a few teenage moments that made me cringe but still felt very real. I think the best part was the end when everyone gets a little something of what they wanted but not everything. The whole book reads very quickly, peppered with Charlie's songs it gives it a little zest and in the end it feels very real.
I want to read more by this author. I love the Aussie setting and the appreciate her no frills characters. Everyone should read Cath Crowley!
A Little Wanting Song is the story of Charlie Duskin, a shy girl that is good at one thing, music. With her grandmother’s recent passing and the grief of losing her mother years back, Charlie and her father go to the country to visit with her grandpa. But this visit will be different than any other visit Charlie can remember. With her father and grandpa still grieving Charlie starts spending time with the finicky girl next door, Rose Butler, who never wanted anything to do with Charlie in the past. But as the days go past and Charlie starts to break out of her shell and gets closer to Dave Robbie, the boy she has crushed on for years, Charlie finds out that Rose’s motives might not be as they seem and Rose will do anything to either get what she wants or to just be Charlie’s friend.
Have I mentioned that I loved this book? Because I did. The alternating voices of Rose and Charlie were the perfect way to go with this story as it showed their alternating personalities in a way that only two voices could. And as different as these girls were I loved getting to know them and I really liked them. Charlie seemed to blossom as she get herself open up and be herself and not so shy. She was weird like Dave told her time and time again, but she was a good weird, a weird that is interesting and makes you want to know more. And Rose on the other hand was a girl that was just trapped. She wanted to get out and was ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen, but as she started to open herself she started to realize that just because someone was different didn’t mean you couldn’t be friends with them. Both girls, over a few short weeks, blossomed and became this characters that are not easily forgettable and won’t be for a long time.
And Dave. Oh how I loved Dave Robbie. He was just this quiet, sidekick like guy, that would do anything for his friends even at his own expense. He didn’t mind being made fun of or being the third wheel with Rose and her boyfriend Luke. And he was this lanky, gorgeous thing that was humble about it. Watching him talk to Charlie was probably my highlight of the book because it was so awkward and uncertain but sweet and entertaining at the same time. He would often say the wrong thing or say something in the wrong way only to be told by Rose that he was messing up. It was really endearing.
Basically this book was just a bundle full of joy. It dealt with some heavier stuff, but Crowley’s writing made it not seem so emotional and you couldn’t help but root for these characters. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, but there is just something magical about Australian publications. A definite must read.
Rose Butler and Charlie Duskin couldn't be more different.
Charlie lives in the city, with her dad. Her mum died when she was nine, and her dad has been mourning her ever since ... and ignoring Charlie in the process. At school, Charlie is a gutless wonder. She's always a step out of beat, uncoordinated and all too willing to let people walk all over her. Her best friend, Dahlia, is just starting to figure this out - and, as a result, her and Charlie's friendship is crashing and burning over the summer holidays.
Every Christmas Charlie and her dad return to his childhood town where he and Charlie's mother fell in love. This time of year should be full of pine trees and celebration. Except this is the first year since Charlie's grandmother passed away. The last person in the world to think Charlie was truly special, and now she has gone too. Her grandfather isn't coping, and now Charlie is stuck with two men who can't seem to come to grips with the absence of the women they loved.
Rose Butler lives next door to Charlie's grandparent's house. Her little hometown is a toilet stop - someplace you pass through, but never want to stay. For years now, Rose has been watching Charlie `Dorkin' breeze through her town - always to end up on the freeway, going back to the city and a better life. And this year, Rose might just go with her ... because Rose has a scholarship burning a hole in her back pocket. A scholarship to a city school, and out of this dustbowl town.
But Rose will miss her best friend, Dave, and boyfriend, Luke. She'll miss the river and the falls, and the safety of shared history.
Charlie would give anything to hang out with Rose, Luke and especially Dave. She'd love to feel like she belongs, just for a bit. And to feel wanted. She'd like to be part of a choir, instead of always singing solo.
Rose will get out of this town. Even if it means using Charlie Dorkin to do it.
`Chasing Charlie Duskin' is the beloved 2005 YA novel from Cath Crowley.
I came to the Cath Crowley fan club a little late. I read `Graffiti Moon' this year, and loved it. Now I'm back-tracking through Crowley's previous books ... and I really shouldn't be surprised that `Chasing Charlie Duskin' is as brilliant as I thought it would be.
Charlie Duskin is a frustratingly beautiful character. She is walking wounded - having lost her mother at a young age, which also led to the disappearance of her father as he retreated into grief. Now Charlie is living with more heartache since the recent passing of her grandmother, which lumps her with another male who is not coping well with the death of his beloved wife. As a result of so much tragedy, Charlie is disarmingly negative about herself. She thinks she's broken - clutzy and embarrassing, unable to talk to boys and utterly invisible. She thinks her best friend, Dahlia, lucked out in the friendship stakes, and is unsurprised when it appears their camaraderie is starting to dissolve. Charlie sings and plays guitar, but all her songs are about wanting to fit in but knowing she never will.
Rose Butler, on the other hand, is a firecracker. She has lived in one place her whole life - with two boys who know her better than anyone else in the world. Her car-mad friend, Dave, and her boyfriend Luke. Rose loves these two - but she hates her town. She feels frustrated by her complacent parents, and their suffocating love. So when Rose is told that she has been awarded a city school scholarship, she keeps it a secret. She doesn't want to be told she can't go, and she doesn't want to see the look on Luke's face when she tells him she's leaving.
Rose and Charlie are heading for disaster when both of them (unknowingly and unwittingly) present the other with what they most want in the world. For Charlie, Rose represents everything she can't be - confident, carefree and cool. For Rose, Charlie is her ticket out - and she intends to be sitting in the car with Dorkin when she and her dad breeze out of town and head into the city.
Disaster is bound to ensue.
Cath Crowley's books are reading confectionery. Her lyrical words are gooey caramel that get stuck to the roof of your mouth so you can tongue them and savour the sweetness. She looks at the world through dizzying heights and candy-coloured spectacles - and I can't get enough of her writing or her characters.
Charlie Duskin was sublime. I just wanted to wrap her in a bear hug and whisper words of encouragement in her ear. She's that kind of character - one you want to bundle off the page and bring home to make hot chocolate for. She's beautiful and doesn't know it, and that made her superb.
Rose was equally charming and disarming. The book is told from both points of view - Charlie and Rose's - and in the beginning, through Charlie's eyes, I did frown down at Rose and her seemingly perfect life. But Crowley loves shades of grey, and Rose is just a gorgeously lost and nervous as Charlie is (even if she hides it better).
The book is ultimately about the fragility of people, and giving a little kindness to watch them grow. The finale is a chest-swelling crescendo, and a fitting `Aha!' moment for dear Charlie Duskin.
Cath Crowley is certainly an Aussie YA treasure. Her books take you down to the lowest lows (so that you find yourself crying on the train while reading) but then she makes it up to you when her characters soar (so that you do a little fist-pump on the same train ride home). I think that whenever Crowley puts fingers to keyboard, a little bit of magic happens ... I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
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