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.
Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.
Told from alternating first-person perspectives, this musical coming-of-age story, originally published in Australia, quietly captures the private emotions of two girls. Charlie's father has completely withdrawn since the death of her mother, and after a close friendship ends, Charlie's only refuge is singing and guitar playing. In the country, where she and her father go every summer to stay with Charlie's grandparents (though her grandmother recently died), Charlie is drawn to Rose, who has shunned her in the past. But Rose, part of a tight trio with Dave and her boyfriend, Luke, is chafing miserably in her small town. When Rose gets a scholarship to a science high school in the city, she can think of only one way her mother might let her go: through Charlie. Their relationship begins on this false premise but takes both girls to new places, with Rose connecting to her own vulnerability and Charlie finding strength, as well as romance with Dave. Interspersed between the girls' chapters are the songs Charlie writes. Even secondary characters are fully realized in this touching exploration of friendship and its transformative potential. Ages 14 up. (June)