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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Songs For A Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Age: 14+ (my guess)
Publication Date: September 2010
Pages: approx 256
Series: no
Book Acquisition: received an ARC from the publisher

Book Summary:
After living in twelve places in eight years, Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Another new home, another new school...Calle knows better than to put down roots. Her song journal keeps her moving to her own soundtrack, bouncing through a world best kept at a distance.
Yet before she knows it, friends creep in-as does an unlikely boy with a secret. Calle is torn over what may be her first chance at love. With all that she's hiding and all that she wants, can she find something lasting beyond music? And will she ever discover why she and her mother have been running in the first place? (from Goodreads)

Quick Thoughts:
A so-so read for me. The music element is superb, the story was interesting and made me want to turn each page but for me, the characters fell a little short.

What I didn't like:
It was hard for me to warm up to Calle, our protagonist. She's young (a freshman in high school) and at times she acts her age but sometimes she seems much older. It was hard for me to get a read on her. Her mom is all she really has, but she doesn't trust her. She doesn't seem to make friends easy but at her latest school she immediately clicks with an already established crowd and fits right in. She is constantly critical of her mother's choices when it comes to men (and rightly so) but she falls for a guy that pretty much treats her like dirt for most of the book.

That leads me to the main problem I had -- Sam, Calle's romantic interest. I didn't like him at all. He was a jerk and by the end of the book, I didn't feel like he had redeemed himself at all. It really bothered me how much Calle liked him, how hard she fell for him and how she didn't seem to mind the fact that he treated her with disrespect.

What I liked:
The music! Oh, the music was wonderful! I don't know how they could pull it off, but if Songs for the Teenage Nomad could be made into an audio book with all Calle's music included - I would buy it in a heart beat.

A year or so before the book begins, Calle started keeping a song journal. She describes it as snapshots of her life. Whenever she hears a song that triggers a memory, she writes it down. I so want to start doing this! This is what music does for me - it brings me back to a time and place in my life. I can remember details - smells, sounds, people - like it happened yesterday. Music for me is what it is for Calle. Memory keepers. I absolutely loved this aspect of the book!

Reminded Me Of:
A lot of elements from other contemporary young adult books -- lonely girl, new to town, troubles at home, secrets she doesn't know, falls for the hot guy, problems, mishaps, somewhat happily ever after ending.
The music element really makes this one unique though so I have hard time picking any one book it really reminds me of.

Who Would Enjoy It:
Fans of young adult fiction. Fans of music as a means to tell a story. No paranormal elements, no hidden weirdness. A pretty straight forward story that I think would appeal to not only teenagers but older readers (like myself) who feel the same connection between songs and memories that Calle feels.

Overall Rating:
3.5 / 5 Stars

Linkage Love:
Publisher's website
Author's Website

1 comment:

  1. It is hard to pull off a high school character who is mature beyond her years. There really are people like that, just like there are grownups who have not matured beyond high school. But, teens are inconsistent emotionally if anything and girls fall for guys just like the one(s) their mother did, or for the complete opposite. That's the wondrous waffling of reality.

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