Expected publication: June 30th 2011 by Little Prince Publishing.
Songbird is about 17-yer-old Dani Mays and her struggles with her past and present. She had a turbulent childhood; going from one foster home to the next, dealing (or trying not to) with an alcoholic mother and a convict father. It all started when she witnessed her own father murder Jace, her beloved brother. She was six years old. Eventually, Dani settled in with the Thompsons and led a somewhat normal life. But it was her best friend, Reece Tyler who made it all better. Reece was good-looking, popular, but he chose to be Dani’s friend nonetheless. He had been there with her always. Sort of like, another brother to take the place of the one she lost. Her future was looking bright until her past comes back to haunt her.
This is my second Young Adult book in a row. I must admit, I am still a reluctant reader. Let me tell you what I liked about it. It is well written. Easy to read, easy to understand. It is also very plot driven. Everything, from Jace’s death to Dani’s struggles with her friends melded together nicely in the end. I must say, the funeral for Jace, as told in a flashback, was very good. I teared up a little bit. It dealt with heavy emotions and situations – abuse, murder, family dysfunction – but it is balanced by happy thoughts such as love and friendship.
The thing between Reece and Dani was so cute in the beginning. I was rooting for them. Even when Colin, the new kid in school, came around, I was still hoping they would end up together. But it became old so fast. Nothing happened for the first few chapters other than Dani pining for Reece, thinking he’s cute and he’ll never go after a girl like her, all that jazz. Colin comes into the picture and Reece goes all possessive. Then it becomes this constant “will they or won’t they” among the three characters. When one gives in, the other shies away… and vice versa. It eventually got so tedious that I found myself rolling my eyes, thinking, “not again”. I felt that the book could have used less of that and still would be an effective story.
Then came the weird phone calls. That plot line, to me had so much potential. If developed earlier/better, it would have been a good B-story. But it was lost in the sea of the Reece-Dani-Colin drama that you could take that whole part out and it would not affect the ending very much.
I could see the author’s struggle between keeping the mood light and fun (with all the teen romance aspects) and inserting a bit of a suspense/thriller aspect. I just wish she took the risk of developing the darker plot point further. I could have used more of that and less filler.
Recommendation: Teens would like this and find that they can somewhat relate to what Dani is experiencing in high school.
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