The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing
Date of Publishing: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating: ★★★★
Losing weight over the summer gains Serena some popularity, but it also means discovering first-hand the pains of being a fifteen-year-old girl in a world that both sexualizes and shames young women. After narrowly avoiding exploitation in a shortlived relationship, Serena aligns with a new friend who was the victim of an explicit image that was shared at school. When Serena finds herself in a relationship with a new guy, she is surprised to find a different set of expectations. But have her previous experiences damaged her too much to make it work? As Serena struggles to find who she is as opposed to who she is expected to be, she begins sighting Devin – her older brother who disappeared months earlier.
There’s so much that I felt while and after reading The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing. While this has been a so-so year for YA, TSTYCS is definitely up there with one of the best teen crisis books I’ve read this year.
Character wise, Serena—who is the lead female protagonist here—is my obvious favorite. She’s so real in the way she is, and the way she thinks. Her ideas, her actions are all very obviously ones that belong to a teenager. So I liked Serena in the way that I could connect with her well. But there was another reason I liked Serena.
All of us, at some point or the other, have been conscious about our body. Some of us still are. Serena is too. And Serena’s struggle is genuine. She stops eating foods she likes to eat and her cravings are what made me sympathize with her, to the point of feeling like shit about every time I had chilly cheese fries. And I’m not even on a diet.
But with Serena, there’s also the issue of her brother Devin, who is missing. She misses and in the beginning of the book, he’s all she ever thinks about. It was honestly painful to read. Every little thing that happened around her seemed to remind her of him. It was sad and devastating, and the way Serena and her family are after he leaves? They’re experiencing a type of pain that’s tangible. They’re uncertain and scared and living in the hopes of his return.
I’d never wish it on my worst enemy.
Then there’s Serena’s high school friends. What I liked most is that not all of the guys were assholes/studs and not all of the girls were bimbos/snobbish. There was a mix of different types of kids; a few of them were snotty outside with a heart of gold and some of them were just snotty. Nicole and Genevieve were Serena’s closest friends and her biggest cheerleaders—but they also weren’t perfect. They were exactly what Serena needed.
Gage is…yeah. He’s Gage Cochrane. He’s genuine and smart and actually likes Serena for her. Not because she’s recently lost weight, not because of her famous VJ brother, Morgan. But, there’s a catch with him too. And it’s the most unexpected one.
Yep. That’s all you get.
Like I said above, the struggle isn’t only Serena’s. It’s also one that involves her parents. Thank heavens that this is one of those YA books that involve the parents. And even though I didn’t personally care too much about her parents, I can understand their struggle. It’s not easy being a parent to three young children—especially when one of them is missing.
All in all, I loved reading TSTYCS. It was funny and sad all at the same time. Miss Martin has written exactly like a teenager would think and her characters are those you fall in love with immediately—even the bad ones 🙂
- Open until October 18th,2014
- Open to USA/Canada only.
- Please do not try to game the system. Cheaters never prosper.
A selection of YA fiction from Dancing Cat Books’ fall releases (4 books including a print copy of The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing)
About the Author
C.K. KELLY MARTIN’s bestselling debut novel, I Know It’s Over, was published in 2008. It was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and the sci-fi thriller, Yesterday. A graduate of the Film Studies program at York University, Martin loves good books, movies, music, web design, and Ireland. She currently resides in Oakville, Ontario.
*I was provided a free ecopy of this book in exchange of an honest review. This did not in any way, however, influence the content of this review.*