by Cassie Shine
The sequel to Cassie's debut YA novel, Harp's Voice.
Publication Date: 23rd June 2014
Received From: Jen Halligan PR
Received From: Jen Halligan PR
Single-minded to the point of near seclusion, Harp Evans’ only goal was to move away froNow a freshman at a prestigious university, Harp continues to struggle letting people in, including her ex-boyfriend—Connor Williams—who has always stood by her,
While Harp figures out how to navigate her relationships,
There aren't many books I can sit and read in a day. I'm a little like a magpie and I get distracted way to easily! However, with Harp's Voice I sat down at 3pm and didn't put it down until I had finished reading Harp's story. It was everything I could have hoped for in a sequel and the book laid to rest any unanswered questions from Harp's Song.
When Harp's Voice starts it's been several months since the events of Harp's Song. Her mother has completed her chemotherapy, they're working through their issues with weekly therapy sessions and Harp is well into her fest year at university. Things with Connor are still on pause as Harp tries to get herself together and the story follows her as she finds a way to trust people and open herself up to a life without the constant fear she's always known. With new friends - and old ones - at her side will Harp be able to let go of her gritty past?
It wasn't until I picked this book up that I realised just how much I'd missed these characters! Yes I had a couple of issues with them in the first book but they are flawed and honest and real so they were never going to be perfect. You wouldn't want them to be.
Harp's growth from the beginning of Harp's Song to the very last scene - oh my god it was perfect - is inspirational. She's had so many obstacles throughout these books and even though she falls apart and even though she's not perfect she finds the strength within herself and her family to put her best foot forward and continue living her life. Being able to see the struggle Harp had in book one made her accomplishments throughout Harp's Voice all the more special. I was so proud of her as a character.
Then there’s Connor. Connor is, as always, the perfect boyfriend. He puts a smile on my face every time he’s mentioned and will have you crushing like a lovesick teenager. He's still completely and utterly besotted with Harp and his loyalty to his broken girlfriend is heart-warming.
In my review for Harp's Song I mentioned that I felt the whole cancer story line was a bit of a cop out. It felt like the writer needed a way to make all of Anne's mistakes acceptable and I just couldn't get behind that. There is no excuse for beating your child, not ever. However, Harp's Voice gives us as a reader more information into Anne's life and you get to see that she doesn't ever expect to be forgiven. Not completely. That she'll have to live with what she did for the rest of her life. What I think Cassie is saying is that no matter what you do there is a chance for redemption. It's not easy, but if the circumstances are right you can get your life back. You have to make a choice and that choice(s) is what will shape you as a human being and determine how you live your life.
Overall this was the perfect end to Harp's story. It concluded everything, leaving no questions unanswered. It wasn't flawless but the writing was effortless and these characters made it a joy to read.
I received this book as an ARC from Jen Halligan PR to read & review. This is a 100% honest review.
What was the inspiration behind Harp’s story?
I actually started this story in my creative writing class in college (many, many moons ago) and every so often I would think about pulling it out and working on it again. So, in February 2013 that’s what I did! At the time I originally wrote it, I was inspired by something a friend of mine was going through, and though the story has changed quite a bit, and become more personal since it was first created, the basis of it is the same.
Was if difficult to write a strong female voice?
No! I am drawn to strong female characters, but have also lived through a lot of things myself and consider myself strong, so it was easy for me to relate to Harp and her inner strength-channel that for this story.
Who was your favourite character to write and why?
Hmmm … this is a toughie! In Harp’s Song I think my favorite character to write was Connor. I mean … he’s just so darn swoon worthy <sigh>! In Harp’s Voice, my favorite character to write is a tie between Jayden and Harmony. When my sister read Harp’s Voice, she sent me a text that said, “Oh Jayden…!” and I couldn’t have said it better! But, there’s something about Harmony and the balance and awareness she brings to Harp’s life that I just love and gravitate toward.
What three books would you recommend to readers of Harp’s Voice?
Only 3… eeek!! OK… Harp’s Song because you need Harp’s Song to fully understand Harp’s journey in Harp’s Voice (but I’m gonna cheat and not really include that on this list).
- Almost by Anne Elliot
- A Different Blue by Amy Harmon
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Why did you choose to write for Young Adults?
I am a 14-year-old girl trapped inside the body of a 35-year-old woman.
Not really, but kinda … sorta … ok, yeah maybe just a little!
There are a few reasons why I’m drawn to write and read Young Adult-I love first loves … sigh, I love how when you are fifteen everything feels like the end of the world, and I love feeling a character’s growth in such a formative time in their lives. But ultimately, I think what I love most is remembering the feelings that surfaced from deep within me when I was a teenager reading YA, and how reading about what other teens were going through made me feel … normal-like I wasn’t alone in the universe or crazy!
What are you reading at the moment?
Aspen by Rebekah Crane
And lastly… using song titles, list five songs that tell the story of Harp’s Voice?
- The Secret for cello and piano by Adam Hurst
- Brave by Sara Bareilles
- Awake My Soul by Mumford & Sons
- Try by Pink
- A Little Bit Stronger by Sara Evans