~ On Hiatus ~

December 26, 2012

Review: A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles


I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas! :)

Before I get to the end of the year posts, here's one more recommendation from me:

A Song for Julia (Thompson Sisters #1) 
by Charles Sheehan-Miles

Release date: December 5th 2012
by Cincinnatus Press
Format: Paperback, 374 pages


Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job. The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father's career and dominating her family's life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she's haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy.

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.

My thoughts:

A Song for Julia was a truly special book. I loved Just Remember to Breathe, but there was something so much more powerful and beautiful and touching about this story! I read it in one sitting and it left me a little lost after I finished it. I mean, you know that 'book hangover' feeling us book addicts get from time to time, right? That's what this book did to me. And I loved it!

But let me start at the beginning. Julia is Alex's (the heroine from Just Remember to Breathe) oldest sister. We got a glimpse of her in that book too and it was enough to intrigue me. I had a feeling she had her own good story, so I was very excited when I found out Charles Sheehan-Miles was writing it. And it was better than I expected! So, we go back in time a few years, in the early 2000s, when Julia and Crank first met. She was a proper, rich, perfect girl, he was a punk singer with family issues and a band that was struggling. They were so wrong, and yet so right for each other!

There was something about her, though. Sexy as hell, but that wasn’t really it. I looked at her, and it was like she was ready to explode. I’d lived on rage and adrenaline most of the last six years, and when I looked at Julia, I thought I saw someone who understood that. (Crank)

Julia and her story broke my heart. She had a troubled past, a very dark secret and a scarred soul that no one even knew about. In the past few years, she's been a shell of a person, trying to do the right thing for her controlling parents who never understood or helped her, trying to live as best as she could given the circumstances. Always in control of her thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions, never letting her guard down for anyone or anything. But all that was about to change.

I’ve never liked feeling out of control. Not like that. I’d gone there once, head over heels in love, and it did so much damage to my life I didn’t think I’d ever recover. No way I’d ever go there again. Whatever else happened, I was in control of my life. No one else. Certainly not some formless emotion and lust that can take away who you even are. (Julia)

She has friends, a big family with many sisters, but she's closed off from all of them. And then she meets Crank and realizes there might be more to life than what she was having. There can be passion, there can be someone who understands you, there can be someone worth leaving your defenses down for at least for a little while. There can be someone worth facing your past for. Someone who is the opposite of what everyone wants and expects for you. Someone you didn't know you needed until you met him.

Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest, away from home, and they just click. There are all sorts of signs telling them they should stay away from each other, not to mention that she's the oldest daughter of an Ambassador, a very smart Harvard girl and he's a player and a struggling band singer who hasn't even finished high school, but their connection is too intense and different from everything they've had before to ignore. They spend a great day in Washington, then they attempt to put it behind them and get back to their respective lives.

My life didn’t have room for someone like Crank. And from what he’d said, his didn’t have room either. This was all a little off-key, out of place, almost as if it was someone else out to dinner with him, and I was playing a role. I almost never go out with guys. And I never let my emotions get ahead of my brain. But tonight, as we tried to wave down a cab to head toward Georgetown, I was feeling a little out of control. (Julia)

But like the fact that they couldn't stop thinking about each other wasn't bad enough, they kept bumping into each other (sometimes literally) back in Boston as well. And that's how their crazy, beautiful, heartbreaking story began. Their banter was awesome, their relationship had its up and downs, there were harsh truths and high emotions all over the place, Crank and his band cracked me up, I hated Julia's parents with a passion (especially the mom, ugh - if there's a ever a book titled 'Things a Mother Should Never Ever Do/Say to her Daughter', Julia's mom made sure to do all of them and then some), I really felt for Crank's broken family, but it was the story behind all that what really got me. A beautiful story about healing, compassion, fighting your past once and for all and putting it behind you, about caring and fighting for someone even when they keep pushing you away, about breaking walls, barriers, customs and expectations, about finding your way in life and about not giving up when everything and everyone keeps hurting you or pushing you around and trying to control your life choices. About taking risks, trusting your heart, but most importantly, about trusting someone else with it again. About seeing beyond the carefully placed facade, beyond rumors and appearances, about learning that what's underneath it all is special and worth loving and fighting for. About not letting guilt, hurt and fear dictate how you live your life. About truth, freedom, rebellion, fighting against the odds and taking control of your own life. About passion, music and special relationships. In short, this is a story about trust, hope, love and healing. A true life lesson.

I'm not going to get into details, I get teary eyed just looking through my favorite quotes and passages and thinking about everything Julia went through, but you have to read it. One of the most deserved 'happily ever after's I've read in a long time! Oh, and yeah. Alternative POVs - you know I'm addicted to two POVs stories. ;)

The writing is brilliant too! Even Julia's POV is very well done, you can feel all the emotions pouring out from the page and pulling at your heart strings. They both have unique, but realistic, powerful and easy to relate to voices and personalities. An all around amazing book!

Other favorite quotes:

It’s amazing how you can say a lot of words that are all true, and completely obscure the truth at the same time. I was an expert at that. I spend my life spinning a web of half spoken truths; an armor weaved of words that do nothing but hide who I am.
He grinned and very gently shook his head. “Nothing to rebel against? Nothing at all?”
“Nope,” I replied. Except maybe my mother, who controlled every moment of my life. But that’s more than I was willing to say.
“That’s sad,” Cranks said. “Everyone should have something to rebel against.” (Julia)

This was different. It was very different. Everything I’d seen of Julia fascinated me. She was kind, and compassionate, and smart as hell, and she was also one moody bitch. Call me crazy, but that combination was one hell of a turn-on. I wanted to break her out of that shell and find out what she was like underneath. (Crank)

“What did you do to her? Why did she leave like that?”
I took a deep breath and answered honestly. 
“I told her I loved her.” (Crank) *tear*

“ You need to know that I’d do anything for you … even kiss you goodbye and watch you go. ” (Crank) 

Get the book: (the kindle edition is only $0.99!!)

I added the playlist the author set up for the book on youtube here. And here's a song I really liked and I think really captures some of the feelings in the book: 

Review copy provided by the author Charles Sheehan-Miles and the blog tour host in exchange for my honest opinion. THANK YOU!

P.S. Recommended for readers who also enjoyed Easy by Tammara Webber and The Sea of Tranquility by Kaja Millay.
P.P.S. You can read it even if you haven't read the first book in the series. 

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