Thursday, September 02, 2010

Song for a Teenage Nomad

Culbertson, Kim. Songs for a Teenage Nomad.

Advanced Readers' Copy provided by Sourcebooks.

Calle has a difficult life. Her pretty but flighty mother keeps moving them from town to town, usually to follow a new boyfriend or husband. Calle has become adept at changing schools, but longs for stability as well as for her father, who left when she was a baby. To cope, she filters her experiences through a variety of music, which is described at the beginning of each chapter. When she ends up in Andreas Bay, she makes friends and begins to enjoy the community, but staying there is put into jeopardy when she finds that her father has located her, and his story differs from her mother's.

This novel deftly explores the search for identity that all teens experience, and adds the challenge of finding out who you are when there are obstacles in the way. Calle is sympathetically written, and her success in finding a peer group is realistically portrayed. The writing is descriptive and lyrical. This is more of a high school book, not because of any content, but because of the reflective tone and pace of the story. Readers who like problem novels or bildungsroman will find this an enjoyable addition to this genre.

The only thing that didn't resonate with me was the music. It was an odd pastiche of old and new songs, and most teenagers might not be familiar with many of them. On the plus side, it might encourage them to research the artists mentioned.

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