Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Review: Chasing Charlie Duskin by Cath Crowley

Chasing Charlie Duskin by Cath Crowley

Pages: 240

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Published: April 28th, 2005
IBSN: 9780330421607

Charlie Duskin is running. Fleeing from failures and memories and friends who have given up on her. And she's not only running, she's chasing things - like a father who will talk to her, friends who don't think she's as invisible as a piece of cling wrap, and an experience with a boy in which she doesn't look like an idiot. But Charlie Duskin is about to have the best summer of her life. She's about to meet a friend who'll change her forever. She's about to fall in love. She just doesn't know it yet.

This book may be better known by the title it was published under in the US, A Little Wanting Song. It tells us the story of Charlie, a sweet muffled melody to everyone else's boisterous song, finding her voice.

Narrated in the dual perspectives of Charlie and Rose, the different outlooks on the characters and events give us added depth. We understand how things that happened or were said affected people in different ways, we can see our characters' personalities complemented and juxtaposed -- all due to alternating perspectives. A perfect example of when this definitely added something to the story.

Both characters narrated with distinct and relatable voices in the beautiful, ornate writing style that I was already familiar with from Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon. Full of vivid imagery and poetic metaphors and similes, every other sentence makes you let out an involuntary and happy sigh.

The characters were all -- every last one -- fleshed out and realistic. I was especially taken with Charlie, whose tone was so soft and sad that I wanted to just big her a huge hug and then hold a microphone up to her so everybody else could hear her, too. Both her and Rose had clear character arcs that intersected in a lovely moment near the conclusion as they began to become real friends.

With narrators that escape the page and seem more real than fictional, beautiful prose, and relatable and touching character development, Chasing Charlie Duskin is a must-read for fans of contemporary or coming-of-age novels.

I give Chasing Charlie Duskin a 5 out of 5.