Friday, June 7, 2013

Secret for a Song blog tour: spotlight & review

It's Friday! We are one of today's stops on the Secret for a Song Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Besides a spotlight, we have our review of this contemporary novel. Click here to find the complete tour list.
Secret for a Song by S.K. Falls
NA Coming-of-Age*Paperback/eBook
Publication date: June 3rd, 2013

Saylor Grayson makes herself sick. Literally.

She ate her first needle when she was seven. Now, at nineteen, she’s been kicked out of college for poisoning herself with laxatives. The shrinks call it Munchausen Syndrome. All Saylor knows is that when she’s ill, her normally distant mother pays attention and the doctors and nurses make her feel special.

Then she meets Drew Dean, the leader of a local support group for those with terminal diseases. When he mistakes her for a new member, Saylor knows she should correct him. But she can’t bring herself to, not after she’s welcomed into a new circle of friends. Friends who, like Drew, all have illnesses ready to claim their independence or their lives 

For the first time, Saylor finds out what it feels like to be in love, to have friends who genuinely care about her. But secrets have away of revealing themselves. What will happen when Saylor’s is out?

About the author
Adriana Ryan
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Adriana Ryan is the pen name of writer S.K. Falls.

A huge fan of spooky stuff and shoes, I enjoy alternately hitting up the outlet malls and historic graveyards in Charleston, SC where I live and imbibe coffee. My husband and two small children seem not to mind when I hastily scribble novel lines on stray limbs in the absence of notepads.

Since no writer’s biography is complete without mention of her menagerie of animals, you should know I have one dog that doubles asa footstool, a second that functions as a vacuum cleaner, and a cat that ensures I never forget that my hands are, first and foremost, for pouring cat food.

The main character of Secret for a Song, Saylor Grayson, is not likable. Her story is dark, uncomfortable and.... Different. In fact, I haven't read about such a twisted and disturbed character in a long time. And strangely enough, her voice is strong, her story compelling, and I need to compliment author Adriana Ryan on her gripping writing. As much as I wanted to yell at Saylor and tell her to get a hobby besides trying to figure out more disturbing ways to make herself sick, from the very first opening line, I could only do one thing--read. I had to keep reading. 

Secret for a Song is unique. Saylor's tale is a journey to find herself. To find hope, to create a new life and future for this floundering twenty year old. She has her entire life in front of her but she is consumed with feeding her Munchausen syndrome in order to get her fix of "attention." Her mother is cold and distant, content to spend her days decorating doll houses. Her father is a defense attorney and always traveling. 

Saylor has too much freedom and not enough responsibility. When she has to leave college due to a love of laxatives, she decides to volunteer at the local hospital (under the advice of her therapist who informs her she'll have a restricted badge). As a volunteer she preps meeting rooms for groups then clears out the space when the event has ended. During one of her 'health studies' (she's fixated on learning new ways to sicken her body), she is accidentally mistaken for a patient of a terminal illness group. Does she deny the young guy's assumption? Nope, she simply figures her syndrome has the same initials as multiple sclerosis (just think of the attention she'll get).

As she spends more time with the young people from this particular support group (TIDD), Saylor begins to  question her own motives for making herself sick when these people are living with their impending demise and wanting every extra second of life. She is drawn to Drew, a guitarist, stricken with a disease which slowly robs him of his muscular coordination. Witnessing his fierce need for independence, she begins to see what she actually has is worth something, and she likes the way she 'feels' around him.

I never thought I would like this story as much as I did. Solid writing and really good characterization, even the secondary characters got to me (Zee, Pierce, Calvin --teary moments). Illness and death usually symbolizes melancholy and discomfort. Saylor became such a sympathetic character halfway through, her own life light began to shine as she began to experience life like a normal young woman. The author did a wonderful job shedding light on what patients with some of the terminal illnesses found here dealt with (including the right to die for one character in the story's setting of New Hampshire). Despite my still not liking Saylor, I thought Drew was wonderful. I couldn't understand exactly what he saw in Saylor in the beginning besides her looks (he did say there was "something about her" and I wanted to know what). As their relationship progressed, he became an even more likable young guy.

Unsettling and optimistic, Song for a Secret isn't an easily forgotten novel. The characters and their stories have tremendous staying power and the issues raised are thought provoking. I wonder what Adriana Ryan is writing next.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment:
The image does nothing for me. I actually think the model looks too healthy to represent Saylor. No scars on her arms? She doesn't seem to be any place of significance or doing anything (playing hide and seek?).

Book source:
I received a promotional copy from the author in return for my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful review, Laurie! :D