THIS IS A SPOILER FREE REVIEW. *I received a proof of this book from Ink Road Books, an imprint of Black and White Publishing*
I picked up this book with no idea what to expect. The synopsis sounded good and I had read a chapter sample which intrigued me but I was worried it wasn't going to be able to follow Caraval. I was wrong. Street Song is magnificent! For once, a contemporary with believable characters who aren't completely two dimensional! They had personalities, they had reasons behind their words and actions, they were DIVERSE. We had a Polish, Catholic character, it has LGBTQ rep... it was just brilliant.
Street Song is the story of Cal, formerly known as RyLee - a TV talent show pop sensation who went off the rails. After an incident with his manager-cum-step-father, RyLee runs off and reinvents himself as 'Cal'. We follow him as he travels up to Belfast, busks, joins a band, fights to keep clean from drugs, tries to win the affections of a girl, and also win a battle of the bands type contest, all whilst trying to keep some sort of roof over his head. The story is fast paced and every bit of it was exciting. I cared so much for Cal. I wanted him to make enough money busking, I worried if he was out in the cold. It felt like he was my friend, but he was lost and I could only watch but not help. Towards the end of the novel I was sure I knew the obvious thing that would happen, but it didn't and I knew I would have to finish the book to find out how it resolved. It didn't matter I would lose sleep by reading - I wasn't going to be able to sleep because I was worrying about Cal anyway!
I have been in a reading slump for pretty much a year. I read, and read a fair bit, but I wasn't enjoying what I was reading. Street Song changed that. Wether it was the book itself or it was just lucky enough to be the book I read when the slump ran it's course, I can't help but associate it with the reawakening of my imagination. I remember why I love books, I re-found the joy of reading and the stories that can be told. I look at my shelves and I don't see 160-ish books I need to get just bloody get to ohmigod it's stressing me out I have such a big TBR HELP... I see stories, adventures, worlds to explore, friends to meet. I see inside hundreds of authors minds. I see situations and cultures I will never experience but NEED to learn about. Street Song brought that back to me. Not even because it was just such a great book, but just because it was enjoyable.
I rated Street Song 3.75 stars. It wasn't an absolutely outstanding book that blew me away which is why it lost out on one star. If I'm honest, I see 3 stars more than 4 (I gave it 4 on goodreads because they won't let us give half ratings which sucks) when I look at this book, but it deserves credit for bringing me out of my slump.
That said and done, I did love this book, and I have loaned it to my mum because I know she'll love it too - the first thing she did was point out the main character's full name is Ryan Lee and Lee Ryan was in Blue. Coincidence, I've no idea! - If you love contemporary and playing an instrument this is for you, although I am by no means a music enthusiast (don't get me wrong, I love music, I just don't play an instrument!). The book is published this Thursday, April 20th and I highly recommend you pick it up. So far, the new Black and White Publishing imprint, Ink Road has not let me down!