A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles

A Song for JuliaA Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles
Series: Thompson Sisters #
Published by: Cincinnatus Press on December 4, 2012
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Source: Author
Buy on AmazonBook Details
Rating: ★★★

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.

This book is an extremely tough one for me to review. Ultimately, I did like the story, but I didn’t fully connect to it as much as I hoped I would.

Julia is from a really privileged family but has serious traumas from her past that still haunt her and make her unable to trust or connect with people. Crank is a high school drop out who is struggling to make it as a musician, and has family problems of his own. The two come together and end up changing each other for the better.

I think one of my problems with the book was Crank. I was never really sold on him. I got really tired of reading from his point of view, and he acted like too much of an asshat for me to really like him. He definitely has his sweet moments, but he also acted like an arrogant prick and his horny boy attitude bugged me sometimes. It almost made me wonder why Julia liked him. He did get better at the end and became a pretty sweet guy, but at the beginning—when Julia started to like him—he was mostly a bit of a self-obsessed prick. Also, Crank’s point of view was riddled with quotes like this:

So we walked to the elevators, me slightly behind her, so I could look at her butt as she walked. I never said I wasn’t a bit of a pig… or maybe a lot. But some things you just have to appreciate.

Before you think I’m a complete pig…never mind. I am. I was intentionally running behind her as we tore through the terminal.

I looked past the first one (which actually wasn’t the first one I quoted—there were probably at least two before that). But after like the fifth time I read the exact same passage, I got really tired of it. Not only was it repetitive, but it made me really dislike Crank. Just something about his attitude made me imagine him as a horny little 15-year-old, rather than the 20-something guy I think he was supposed to be.

A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles - We all have hurts that we don't show

And then there was Julia… for the most part, I did like Julia. She had a pretty nasty past, but she’s still a really strong and independent character. What I didn’t like was her whole take on relationships. I get that she had some reservations, but I didn’t like that she had those reservations for 90% of the book. The entire time, she pushed away a real relationship. She never wanted to commit to Crank. I think that made the book a little dull and slow-paced for me. I wanted to read about a really sweet, passionate relationship, but it was hard to get into it when Julia was ALWAYS pushing Crank away. I would have preferred it if they had a real relationship and had to overcome difficulties to stay together, rather than them not having a real relationship but having to overcome their pasts so that they could have one… if that makes sense.

A Song for Julia wasn’t a bad book by any means, it just didn’t make me fall in love or break my heart. The most emotion I showed during the book was when I read about the band at the end, and when I read a hilarious dinner scene with the President. The relationship part—which was kind of the whole point of the book—never brought out any emotion in me. It was the side plots that made me smile, giggle, and get excited. I really wanted this book to shake me to my core and I wanted a romance story that I would love. That didn’t really happen. Maybe because Julia and Crank aren’t actually “together” for most of the book, so I never even got the chance to love their relationship… because it wasn’t ever there. We learn about the individual characters, their problems, and their development; but there isn’t enough focus on them actually desperately wanting to be together. I feel like I missed that.

I do think that a lot of people will love this book and its romance—it just didn’t click with me, for whatever reason. Reading some other reviews, loads of people got really emotional and heartbroken over the story. I really wish I could have been one of them.

Again, this isn’t a bad book. I would still recommend it to people since I can see the potential for emotion and heartbreak, and the story is interesting. I feel like maybe I just got unlucky and too many small things built up and hindered my enjoyment of it.

The Verdict


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  1. I haven’t read this one, but I did read the second book this year and gave it four and a half stars. It was pretty good and I imagine that A Song for Julia wouldn’t be as disappointing for me as it was for you. I’m not super excited to read it, though, so I probably won’t end up reading it.

    Great review. 🙂

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