My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The First kiss...
Sometimes you expect to find a ten dollar note in your wallet but you retrieve a fifty. This is how I’d describe A SONG FOR JULIA. Finding a ten dollar note is fine, but when you realise you have fifty to spend, a little spark fires up inside and you have a grin on your face that whole day.
Let me start the review by saying Charles Sheehan-Miles can WRITE! My, my. His words are perfectly crafted into sentences that deliver blow after blow of poetic, deep connection to your emotions. Which become paragraph after paragraph of writing so easy to read yet so full of meaning you wonder how it’s all packed into one story.
My favourite stories are those that have a few aspects perfectly written—characters, plot and theme.
The leading characters, both alternating narrators, Julia and Crank were mostly loveable (Julia only more loveable towards the end when I really got her), they have faults, and issues which stop them from doing the things us objective readers know they should just do, but they’re always strong and the types of people you come to love for everything they are perfect and everything they aren’t. I think I love them more knowing I got frustrated with them, because watching them make bad choices and struggle and come out on top made me appreciate them more. I appreciate being able to read such characters I could connect with on many levels.
But main characters aside, many readers found this, and I wasn’t immune: Julia and Crank’s little brother, Sean. Ahhhhh.
I may love them almost better than I love Julia and Crank as a couple. Julia is a normal girl by many standards, but she’s broken on the inside by a past we’d never want happen to us. Sean? He’s seen as different on the outside because of his autism. Though they are opposites in this way, they share a commonality: feeling alone, not fitting in. I really am not doing justice to their dynamic. I’ll leave it to say that A SONG FOR JULIA was “that bit” better for me because of how much deeper Charles went in creating loveable supporting characters. I touched on loving Sean’s character, but Crank’s mom and dad, and his band member, Serena … so many more who enriched the story with their impacts.
And on to Crank and Julia. I love a couple who you can tell (without so many words from the author saying so) that they need to be together and giving up easily by breaking up won’t work. It’s so intense while you’re reading, watching their relationship build (not to mention how much of the real world you miss increasingly).
Julia got on my nerves and when I finally “got” her, I felt rude. That girl has got to be one of the strongest female leads. Pretty uncommon. I am thrilled to have experienced such a great read. Crank’s family troubles, which tie him and Julia together, forcing them into yummy situations, only got more and more intense.
A SONG FOR JULIA is incredible. I received an eBook review copy but had to buy the paperback since this novel went to my Best Everrr shelf. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.
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