Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Songbird

Songbird by Angela Fristoe
Published: June 30, 2011
There are defining moments in life when everything changes. For Dani Mays, it was the day she witnessed her father kill her brother. Now seventeen years-old, she still hasn't put it behind her.

After Jace's death, she bounced between her alcoholic mother and foster homes, until she found a permanent place. And a reason to stay: Reece Tyler. He's her best friend, yet Dani wants more from Reece.

Faced with possibly losing Reece, Dani struggles to define his place in her life and escape the memories of her brother's death and the influence it has over her choices. Even as she weaves the pieces of her heart back together, the past becomes more than a memory when a former foster brother reappears and Dani begins receiving threatening phone calls.

If I were to review this book on just the first few pages, and maybe even the first half, I would give it a resounding perfect. Within the first pages of Songbird by Angela Fristoe, I was a tearful mess. I’ve never been so emotionally enraptured with a book, and the scenes that were unfolding. I cried. I gripped my book tightly. Most of all, I wished I wasn’t reading what I did.  I only wished that because the words on the pages were so haunting, and so beautiful, I didn’t want them to be true. This does not happen often. My heart doesn’t ache, my stomach is never in knots, and my eyes never leak buckets; at least never within the first few pages of a book.

Angela Fristoe gently told the haunting story of Dani Mays, a young girl who, unfortunately, had to witness her father murder her older brother. As gently as she could, Fristoe captured the emotions: Fear, anger, and loss, of a young girl whose life would never be her own again. After the first four pages, I had to close my book and cry. I’ve never been so touched, and so haunted while reading a book. Those pages will never leave me. I’ll always remember the recounting of a young Dani Mays, and my heart will always ache just a little for that girl. Thank you, Fristoe, for having the courage and talent to write such a gut wrenching scene.

Now, for the unfortunate part of this review, I have to grade the remaining half of Songbird. I wish I knew exactly where Fristoe wanted to go with this book. Was this a coming-of-age tale, or a romance? I’m not quite sure. That fact alone doesn’t sit well with me. Fristoe crammed a bunch of different story arcs: murder, child abuse, cancer, alcoholism, parental absence, and an odd love triangle into Songbird; all of these combined equaled a jumbled mess. There is such a thing as too much drama. Songbird already had drama with the murder of Dani’s brother. This book should have been all about Dani.

Instead of Fristoe writing a story that dealt with Dani’s life after her brother’s murder, she created a book about everything. After the end, I was still wondering what issues were resolved and how Dani’s life had changed since turning eighteen.

Overall, Songbird is a good book. I do recommend it. Just be warned that things aren’t exactly as they seem from the synopsis.

This review is one stop on the:
Teen Book Scene Tour

Songbird by Angela Fristoe

June 27 - July 22, 2010
Coordinated by: Corrine


  1. As you know from our long discussion on this... I completely agree! SO much potential, but tried WAY too hard! Great review! :)

  2. Tackling too many themes in one book can result badly. I love how emotional the beginning is, though. Great review!


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