The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing
by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication Date: September 1, 2014
Published by Dancing Cat Books
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
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.
C.K. Kelly Martin has a way of stirring up emotions in a subtle, quiet way that you don't even realizing that it is happening until it consumes you. She has done this once again with The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing. With her story, she captures the experiences of a girl growing up, figuring out what she wants, and finding her voice.
I loved the varied relationships throughout the book. We get to see Serena with her parents and learn of their new family dynamic after her older has left home. We see Serena with her oldest brother - the golden boy - as she tries to figure out their relationship. We see the new friendships that develop between a group of girls who are tired of rumors and slut-shaming and want to do something about it. We see a romantic relationship develop between Serena and Gage - the too-cute guy who stops in her place of work. Through all of these relationships we get to know Serena and her fears and doubts and her insecurities, but we also get to see her strengths and her convictions as she attempts to figure out who she is and what she wants.
The relationship that develops between Serena and Gage is complicated. There is attraction and intimacy. There are misunderstandings and hurt feelings. They have their secrets and half-truths (and even some lies), but eventually there is communication. They discussed wants and desires and boundaries and limits in a way that was genuine. We get to see a real friendship develop between them and see how funny they are together as they fall for each other.
I remember what a confusing age fifteen was with trying figure out what I wanted, what I should want, and questioning my friendships. I could see parts of my teenage self in Serena. She isn't perfect, and I think that is why I liked her so much.
I loved reading this book and getting to know the characters. I found it to be an emotional and fulfilling story. I hope that other readers will love it just as much as I do.
Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from XPresso Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way other than the e-ARC provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
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.