March 15, 2014

Title: Claire’s Song
Author: Ashely King
Publisher: self-published
Published: March 1, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Synopsis: Eighteen year old Claire Watkins is still reeling from the tragic loss of her best friend, Jamie Morgan, and is learning to navigate being an outcast without his help, learning to live with regrets as she realized she should’ve told him how she really felt about him, and she’s learning how to deal with the fact that all the rumors swirling involve her being the cause of his death. Claire is one step away from a breakdown when Ryder Andrews comes into her life, rough around the edges, a former golden boy fallen from grace, living on his own borrowed time. He’s not looking to get attached, seeing as how that’s never gotten him anywhere and he’s decided that he’s tired of living and is just biding his time until the day comes. But Claire complicates things and the two quickly realize the beauty that is life, love, and learning to live again in Claire’s Song.

**I received a copy of this book from the author,
but that did not influence the review**

First Thoughts: 4 stars! Claire’s Song is such a sweet story, yet laced with sadness. I loved the happy combined with the raw emotion of grief. The two emotions intertwined throughout, and I loved how the happy came out on top by the ending.

Plot, Pacing, and Style: Oh, how I love characters with some emotional baggage, and this one fit the bill perfectly. Claire lost her best friend to suicide and is now a social outcast. Ryder also found himself a social outcast because of a dysfunctional family life that led to him getting accused of some very unsavory things. Both are barely going through the motions until they meet each other…and a part of them each awakens.

The pacing throughout the story was really good as I found myself not even realizing I was turning the pages, but it was a little thrown off by the quickly changing dual POVs. I would have liked to stay in one head for longer periods of time, but I got on board with it because the story itself was so good.

Main Characters: I loved both Ryder and Claire. Both were beautiful, but too damaged to realize it in themselves. However, they picked up on it immediately in each other. Both have been brought down by tragedies and hard times, yet both were strong enough to keep going. I loved how Claire was so fiesty, and she was like a dog with a bone when she knew Ryder was holding back from her. I also loved that as hard as Ryder tried, he couldn’t help but soften up when he was around Claire. This just shows how perfect they were for each other.

Romance/Chemistry: Sweet is the best way I can describe the love in this story. It was tender and meaningful, but the greedy romantic in me wishes there had been more touching, more hugging…more of the physical. These two were connected and in love, and sometimes some serious hand holding and smooches can bring a story to the next level without going over the bounds of YA. I also loved the draw that both Ryder and Claire had from the very beginning, and neither seemed apologetic about it. This chemistry is what made the romance so special, because not only did they connect as friends, but they had a very strong attraction too…which brings me back to being the greedy reader and wanting more.

Title/Cover: Perfect and perfect. I won’t lie, it was the cover that attracted me to this book in the first place, but after reading the story it fits beautifully, just as the title does too.

Ending: It was perfect. Just the right amount of sweet to make my heart sing, but it wasn’t over the top so it stayed totally real. The characters are both facing their issues and working on getting through them. They know they have so much ahead of them, but the fact that they acknowledged everything made it totally work for me.

Gripes/suggestions: There were 2 things for me that could have made this story go from really good, to really super awesome. The first was that the POVs changed up too much. I got used to it by the end of the book, but in the beginning while I was trying to settle into the story I felt a little like I had whiplash going back and forth between Ryder and Claire. In my opinion, it would have worked better to keep each POV going longer, even if it meant not seeing something through the eyes as the author originally planned. It would have helped the story flow more smoothly.

The second thing that would push the novel into the next category for me was that it needs another round of edits. I don’t mind some errors, but the to/too one popped up way too many times for me. Please, don’t let this deter you from reading this book. If that does you will be missing out! But in all seriousness, one more round could make this really good story so much more polished, and do it some serious justice.

Final Thoughts/Rec it? Yes, yes, yes! Claire’s Song is a love story that is full of hope despite circumstances that could bring anyone down. A great addition to your TBR.

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