A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Series: The Thompson Sisters
Published by Cincinnatus Press
Publish Date: December 15, 2012
Source: Author for review – Thank you!
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. -(from Goodreads)
Julia Thompson and Crank Wilson couldn’t possibly be more different.
Over the course of the book, Julia and Crank begin a shaky relationship – shaky because Julia does not want to become attached to someone. She is completely consumed with fear of trusting someone and getting hurt. It is almost torturous reading the relationship between these two because it is so clear that Crank falls so hard for this girl – which is so different and new for him – and it is clear that Julia has deep feelings for him as well. The problem is that Julia has to work through the problems she faced years ago before she can even begin to learn how to trust and love and be in a relationship, and she has such a hard time with that. Crank suffers because he loves her so much, and Julia constantly wars with herself. Despite the torture of this relationship, the slow-build is wonderful and I enjoyed reading about it so much.
This book has real issues in it.
The book opens in the fall of 2002, which is not long after the 9/11 attacks. At this time in American history, the US military is facing continued deployment to different areas of the world – including Afghanistan, Iraq, and the surrounding regions – in response to those attacks. Julia’s father is an ambassador. Crank’s father is in the National Guard and is facing deployment. This places Julia in the middle, and she has concrete feelings of her own regarding the decisions of our Presidential administration, which are not in line with what her mother and father have told her to think and feel. Speaking of her mother and father, they are basically absentee parents, never really spending time caring for Julia but always planning her life out for her, and she has decided she doesn’t want the life they have decided for her. Julia is finding her own way, and it just might be way off course from the life she is supposed to live.
There are also the issues surrounding Julia’s past – the things that happened to her when she was fourteen and also during her senior year are horrific and tragic, and she has never had the opportunity to heal from those deep wounds. We find out in bits and pieces what happened to her in Beijing and in Bethesda, and how her family actually dealt these issues, and how Julia is currently dealing with them. We find out how these past traumas affect her interaction with every single person she comes in contact with, and it is eye-opening and a brilliant story-line. It is hard to read, but I love the way the author weaved these things into the relationship between Julia and Crank, and I loved how they were weaved into relationships with other secondary characters as well.
In addition, there is the issue surrounding Crank’s family and all of the anger and resentment and brokenness within it. Crank’s brother Sean has Asperger’s, and has difficulties at school with bullying. Crank and his father walk on eggshells at home, always afraid that he’ll have one of his outbursts. Crank and Sean have residual anger from when their mother left home, but there is so much to the story that they just don’t know. And what will happen if Crank’s father actually gets deployed or if Crank actually gets a record deal? Who will take care of Sean? Sean constantly worries, and it seems the only person he can relate to is Julia, which is interesting, considering that Julia rarely allows herself to be close to anyone, ever.
There are so many parts to this book and they are written so well, you guys. So very well. This book is so much more than a romance.
The issues presented by Mr. Sheehan-Miles are emotional and real and give the romance and the story in general so much depth. A Song for Julia feels like such a real story because people actually do have many different facets to their life, and often these parts of their life have flaws and crazy things going on. That is demonstrated so well in this book. Even though I’ve listed some pretty heavy things out for you here in terms of issues, and there are still a few that I haven’t mentioned, I can assure you that this book never feels to heavy at all – it is so well-balanced between good moments and intense moments and romance moments. It is just a well-crafted book.
I wish that Julia had been able to deal with her past before she met Crank so they could have been happier from the beginning. I wish that Crank didn’t have so much pent-up anger from past issues with his family. I wish that some of the things that happened between some of the people in this book didn’t happen – but they did, and this book is about people mending relationships and learning to love again. It is a truly wonderful story and I highly recommend it to fans of New Adult contemporary romance, particularly those that do not mind their stories with some issues.
Romance: No triangle. Slowly-Developing.
Stories about Musicians/Music
*Some mature content! Young readers, use caution!*
A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles