The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin
Publication date: September 1st 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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.
AMAZON . B&N
Review: I was so glad to get my hands on another great contemporary read. I have been having trouble getting into books lately, so I needed something that I could get hooked on and actually get through. It did not take long for me to figure out that this book would do just the trick. The writing was wonderful, I loved the plot and all of the events that were going on, and it seemed so realistic that I felt like I was back in high school myself (sometimes that might not be a great thing, but I did not mind it too much in this instance). There were so many great things about this book that I would like to share, though I will also be extremely careful not to share too much and spoil anyone.
Serena, the main character in the story, is one of my favorite contemporary characters of the year, if I am being honest. She just seemed so real, and that is something that I love finding in a main character. Often in contemporaries things are a bit far-fetched or stretched to cause added drama, and I love that it was not the case here. Serena seemed like a real teenager - everything she thought and did followed along with this perfectly. I also loved how easily I could relate to her. As a young woman, I still have those moments where I am far from happy with my body (I'm sure I'm not the only one). It was wonderful to see a character struggle with this same thing. It is a pretty major thing within our society, after all.
I thought that the characters in this book were amazing in general, though. I loved that it was not the typical "made up" high school where all the guys are rude jocks and all the girls are snobby cheerleaders. There were so many different kinds of students at the school, which made sense, since life is actually this way! Along with that, Serena had a great group of girl friends. Sure, they had their problems as well, but that just made them more realistic. Along with friends and classmates, we get introduced to Serena's parents, which is a great addition since the parents are often left out in YA novels.
Of course, there was some drama and sadness going on in this book, just like with most contemporaries. We learn at the beginning that Serena's brother, Devin, has gone missing and it is something that is obviously hitting the family very hard. Serena misses her brother, and for awhile everything reminds her of him. It was heartbreaking to see a family going through this pain, though it was nice that they were going through it together. Though it is obvious that some of Serena's behavior throughout the novel stems from her desiring a bit more attention from the people she cares about.
While there is that definite sad point, there is also quite a bit of light and funny moments in this book as well. It would not be contemporary without some sort of love story, am I right? There is Gage, who is wonderful, charming, and smart. He seems perfect, and he almost is. He likes Serena for who she is, even before she lost the weight, and I think that is wonderful. Of course, there is a secret there, one that I'm not going to tell you, obviously. I guess you will have to read the book on your own to find out what happens.
Ultimately, I really loved this book. I got through it incredibly fast, which was a relief with how much I was struggling to get through books lately. I did not want to put it down, and I fell in love with the characters very fast. I would highly recommend this book to any YA contemp lover.
AUTHOR BIOC.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.