“A Little Wanting Song” is a coming of age story that showcases the budding friendship of two teenage girls, Charlie and Rose. Charlie is an aspiring musician still reeling from the death of her mother and grandmother, all while contending with a father stooped in his own grief. Rose is a sarcastic and witty girl who wants nothing more than to escape the town she’s bound to. So when she’s offered a scholarship to attend school in the city, she’s desperate to do anything to make it happen, even if it means she has to fall into Charlie’s company to do it.
Told in alternating perspectives between Charlie and Rose, Crowley’s novel drew me in not only for the authentic voices projected through the work, but in the measure that it’s a light sweet read with interesting turns of emotion and character focus. Charlie and Rose are polar opposites (Charlie being somewhat shy and reluctant while Rose is blunt), and watching their interactions, stumbles, and relationships with their family and friends comes across are easy to connect with, with both of them retaining strong, distinct voices. Perhaps not as deeply rooted in those emotions as they could potentially be, but well enough to resonate with readers on some of the matters it shows (first love, death of a family member, grief, etc.)
The only other downside that I would say was that it was sometimes hard to feel the musical connection in the ties of the story, especially with it being such a vital part. I did love the inclusion of Charlie’s penned lyrics, but I wished that aspect could’ve been woven a bit deeper in places. It feels more authentic than most YA writing where musicians are name-dropped at the drop of a hat, but this book actually treats the musicians mention in a more sparse, yet intimate way, that rings with more clarity in the character associations.
I would definitely recommend this as a light read for those who like YA coming of age stories, and for those who like teen musicians, while dealing with life and what growing up entails.