The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper
Publishing Date: 20th September 2018
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 432
Genre: Women’s Fiction
If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.
If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.
But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.
Life hasn’t been kind for the King family. Melody is trying her best after her husband Dev mysteriously disappeared years ago. Flynn, having suffered facial injuries and being blind in one eye in end result has his own battles to fight at school, as well as his sister Rose. Melody, following an unfortunate accident, has a very unusual and embarrassing habit of launching into song when she’s stressed or in anxiety. Rose is desperate to find her father and when she comes across a notification about a missing person, a whole new chapter in the King’s family life begins…
Ah, feck it, guys, what a gorgeous, poignant and at the same time funny book it was! I’ve never supposed it’s going to end in this way, and even though I felt disappointed how it turned out – I didn’t want it to end like this – No. Way. Please. No. Just. No – but I accepted the way the author decided to wrap this story up. It didn’t spoil the book for me – it’s really hard to explain, to be honest, because you may say, what, you didn’t like the ending and yet you loved the book, hello? Yes, it’s exactly like this, because I totally, absolutely fell for Melody and it was just so unfair, but on the other hand it signed the story off in a beautiful, poignant way.
It is this kind of book that you’re going to devour in one sitting, wanting to read one chapter more and more. Yes, there were moments that I thought it drags too much, it focused too much on Melody’s condition and it felt as if it was repeating itself, and also the moments when Melody was singing, especially the quoting of the songs almost line after line were too much for my liking, but you know, those were only a few minor problems and altogether it was simply beautiful – an emotional roller – coaster journey, full of tears and laughs. It was funny and heart – wrenching, and it’s going to break your heart, mend it and break it again – be prepared and have your tissues at the ready.
This story is told in the first person’s narration, from the four main characters points of view. Those four characters are Melody, her children Flynn and Rose and her missing husband Dev. They all had beautiful, distinctive voices full of personality and the way they were telling their stories was heart – breaking. I immediately fell for them all and to see what they’re all going through, their stress, it was so sad. Emma Cooper has written all those feelings and emotions in such a beautiful, realistic way and you really have a feeling that you’re sitting in the characters’ heads. Melody was absolutely brilliant, full of life and so vibrant and I loved how she was around her children and how she fought for them. Flynn, such a typical teenager but with a huge heart in the right place. And Rose, the troubled Rose who tried to solve her problems in her own way – such a perfectly imperfect family that is going to stay with you for a very long time. The bond between the family is beautiful, so poignant and the way the children went to protect their mother was simply heart – wrenching.
I’m not sure how the author did this, but she has written a book where you just feel a part of the characters’ world, you feel as if you know them from inside out, all their problems and luck become yours. It doesn’t happen often that I feel that way when reading the book. I also loved that it has a darker side, challenging characters in some really difficult situations. It wasn’t too light, but is also wasn’t heavy, just the perfect mix of everything you look for in your books.
“The Songs of Us” was a truly surprising novel, full of twists and turns, sad but also incredibly uplifting. The characters were portrayed in very realistic way and they were very true to life, full of flaws and facing thousand little battles and showing what a real family looks like. It had a refreshing, unique storyline written in a sensitive, gentle way. Bitter – sweet and close to life, it’s going to make you laugh out loud and cry crocodile tears. A story of love, hope, broken hearts, forgiveness and second chances, about awful coincidences and fate playing with your life, an astonishing tale about unconditional love and loss, grief, relationships and family dynamics. Powerful and honest and I can’t recommend it highly enough!