Book Reviews: "Songs for a Teenage Nomad" by Kim Culbertson

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?

This book was absolutely beautiful to read. I found myself completely engrossed in Calle's story as soon as I started reading. It was like discovering a new song and you can't stop listening to it for several days because you feel as if it is perfect for you. Calle's story was just that. I could not stop reading as I wanted to find out more and more about Calle's life. She starts off the story being a loner and the new girl but soon finds herself being able to settle down, something she's never really been able to do in the past. As the story continues, we learn more about Calle's life as a nomad, never being able to stay in one place. There's teen angst, mystery, romance, and parental issues: all elements that make this story flow together.

While reading, I would find myself getting angry at Calle's mother. I could not understand her wandering-ness and thought at first it was because she was selfish and not thinking about Calle at all. I thought at first she was one of those mothers who are not really fit to be a mother. I kept getting bothered because Calle would ask her questions about her father and her past and wouldn't tell her anything. It wasn't until the end of the story when everything was finally revealed that I finally understood Calle's mother intentions. While they may not have been the best or smartest plans, she did it to protect her daughter because she loved her.

This book proves why I love contemporary YA fiction. The story is beautiful and the author is able to allow Calle to really speak throughout the book. I loved the entries from Calle's journal that begins each chapter. Even though the story is already in first person from Calle's point of view, the journal entries really allow the reader to get into her head. Music is a very big part of the plot, but even if you don't recognize the bands mentioned you will still enjoy how the songs weave their way into the plot. If you are looking for YA fiction that is beyond vampires and other paranormal fodder, this book is the perfect alternative. It shows reality and how it can be bitter and painful, yet soothing and refreshing at the same time. HIGHLY recommended.

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson is published Sourcebooks Fire (2010)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


  1. This sounds so good. I like the YA books that aren't paranormal as well.

  2. Anonymous8:41 PM

    That sounds really good! I will have to go find it. I am so glad you reviewed it, I haven't heard anything about it yet.


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