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Monday, September 13, 2010

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson

Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
Publisher: Source Books Living Ink Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (254 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Aloe

What is the soundtrack of your life?

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?

Why won’t her mother talk about her natural father? She was a baby when he left, so she can understand hard feelings. But why would she refuse totally?

Ms. Culbertson does an excellent job of depicting what teenage life is like. Some have strange hair, some wear certain types of clothing, some talk a lot, some say nothing, and Calle is in the “some say nothing” group.

She has been moving around her whole life and she’s learned to just be a wallflower and hang out in the background rather than get involved, because as soon as her Mom breaks up with her latest new man, they’ll be on the move again.

Whether they are popular or not, several of these students are carrying family secrets with them. Ms. Culbertson's words show you how conflicted some of the students are and how becoming friends can be a challenge. It’s also hard for them to know who to trust.

My first year at high school was my first time in public school; I had gone to a parochial school and wore uniforms for the first eight years. I know just how Calle felt when she entered this new high school. The author expresses the feelings very well, but doesn’t make you feel sorry for her character.

The story has a very ironic ending; one I never saw coming. This is an excellent read for young adults who may be experiencing their own problems fitting in at a new school or who could use some guidance on why a student may be acting in a certain way. It’s not just what’s happening in school, there are also outside influences.

This story is a compelling read with a fairly complex plot that flowed well and kept my attention, so I have rated four suns.

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