A Song For Julia: Charles Sheehan-Miles

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Everyone should have something to rebel against.

Crank Wilson left his South Boston home at sixteen to start a punk band and burn out his rage at the world. Six years later, he’s still at odds with his father, a Boston cop, and doesn’t ever speak to his mother. The only relationship that really matters is with his younger brother, but watching out for Sean can be a full-time job. The one thing Crank wants in life is to be left the hell alone to write his music and drive his band to success.

Julia Thompson left a secret behind in Beijing that exploded into scandal in Washington, DC, threatening her father's career and dominating her family's life. Now, in her senior year at Harvard, she's haunted by a voice from her past and refuses to ever lose control of her emotions again, especially when it comes to a guy. 

When Julia and Crank meet at an anti-war protest in Washington in the fall of 2002, the connection between them is so powerful it threatens to tear everything apart.

"Sometimes you gotta shake things up. Isn't that what you're doing?" 

This is a story about finding your own path, opening yourself up, taking chances, and finding love. 

Julia is a Diplomat's daughter unwilling to continue fitting into the perfect mold that her parents expect. She refuses to lose control or let emotions get the best of her. She has built up walls so no one can ever hurt her again the way she was hurt in her past. She feels isolated and does not trust easily. 

And along comes Punk Rocker, pierced, tattooed bad boy Crank. Crank shakes up her life in more ways than one. He makes her feel, scares her, makes her face her demons, and chips away at those walls. He is not sure what to make of Julia at first, but soon finds himself unable to let her go. 

He was an ass. But a hellishly attractive one. Damn him. In a twisted sort of way this was fun.

Crank was setting off every alarm I had. Crazy, assertive, a little arrogant. I'd been down that route before, and it ruined my life.

Everything I'd seen of Julia fascinated me. She was kind, and compassionate, and smart as hell, and she was also one moody bitch. Call me crazy, but that combination was one hell of a turn-on. I wanted to break her out of that shell and find out what she was like underneath.

But he has quite a battle on his hands because Julia is strong, determined, closed off, and she is not easy to crack. He is surprised that he does not want to love her and leave her like he would any other woman. But she does not want more from him. The chase is on. 

Julia: "Don't get expectations. Not with me."

Crank: "Usually I'm the one saying things like that."

Julia: "I don't have room for serious in my life."

Crank: "I want you to be serious about me"..."I can get a girl to sleep with me any time. But there's something different about you."

He introduces to what having a loving family can feel like even if they are not typical. He helps her find her own path in life and finally stand up for what she wants. It may not be conventional, but at least she chose it herself. 

Julia: "I don't know that either one of us is really looking to be involved with anyone right now."

Crank: "Sometimes you go looking and don't find anything, and sometimes it slaps you upside the head like a good Irish Catholic mother."

I absolutely loved Crank. He was upfront about who he was, but was willing to change to get what he wanted. Julia makes as much of in impression on his life as he does in hers. On the surface, they are all wrong for each other. Totally "Pit Rat and Harvard Girl." But it turns out that they are just what each of them really needed. Their love story was unique, passionate, emotional, sweet, heartbreaking at times, but just a breath of fresh air. I loved seeing the growth in them both. 

Crank: I'm not one to puzzle over great mysteries, or what it all means, or mental masturbate myself into a big tizzy wondering where my life is headed. But even I had to admit --somehow I'd fallen into a monogamous relationship. With a woman who couldn't, or wouldn't, commit. And who hadn't had sex with me yet. Although, I knew it was going to be hot....

Julia: "I want to trust you. I...I want to feel. I want to know what it's like to love and to have a real life. I want to know what it's like to have a home for the first time in my life."

Crank: "Because you make me better. You make me--you make me feel like I matter. Like my life matters, I feel like, with you, I can do anything in the world. That we can do anything in the world. And we will."

I really have become a fan of Charles Sheehan-Miles after reading this and Just Remember to Breathe about Julia's sister Alex. I highly recommend both books. I would read Julia first since it comes first chronologically. And you see more of where Crank and Julia end up in Just Remember to Breathe. The next book The Last Hour will be about sister Carrie and Ray who were also introduced in Just Remember to Breathe. I will certainly read the rest of the Thompson Sisters series and other books by this talented author.

See Kim's review of Just Remember to Breathe here.
Find out more about Charles Sheehan-Miles on his blog and Facebook page.


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