Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Songs for a Teenage Nomad

Description: After living in twelve places in eight years with her drifting mother, fourteen-year-old Calle Smith finds herself in Andreas Bay, California, at the start of ninth grade. Fearful of putting down roots anywhere, but armed with her song journal, she moves to her own sound track through a world that bounces her between the school drama crowd, a mysterious loner, and an unlikely boy who will become her first love. But it's the troubling truth she uncovers about her father that forces Calle to face the toughest choice of her young life.

This book does such an excellent job of following the new girl through the trials of a new school. Calle has moved so much she knows she will never be the cookie cutter cute popular girl and she doesn't have any friends anywhere, because when you move so frequently, why bother? Andreas Bay is the first place she can really call home and the first place she makes friends.

Calle is a great character who has flaws but isn't an over the top stereotype. She is just a teenager trying to find out why she can't talk about her dad without her mom flipping out, and trying to figure out why Ford driving men suck at life.

The chapters are all song titles and at the beginning of each chapter we get to read an excerpt from Calle's song journal about what memory that song brings out for her.. It typically has something to do with one of her mom's many boyfriends/husbands and where they currently lived.

Throughout the whole book, Calle is searching for her Tambourine Man and dreams of him often. Always wanting to know more. However, the more she learns the worse the adults in her life look. I mean they are real people and have lived real lives, so there should be a few skeletons in their closets but I think her images of her parents was drastically changed from beginning to end of the novel which was definitely good. She needed to learn the things she did. However, hurtful they were.

The friends that Calle meet are also a funny bunch. She gets pulled into the drama club group, which I think is fairly typical for new students in high school. They stereotypically tend to be the most open minded people and most open to new people. Generally little judging. I also liked that she had a few friends outside of this group and that they struggled with their school identity. Because really, what high school student doesn't?

I remember hanging out with so many different people and groups that I could sit at various lunch tables and never feel weird. However, I wasn't ever super close to anyone besides my BFF and so now I have a ton of former acquaintances and 1 friend from my childhood. Which wouldn't be so bad except that I live within 15 minutes of my childhood home and a lot of people I grew up with. And why did this get back to me when it is about a book? Anyway, reading about high school always reminds me of my time there. BLECH.

This book is being re-released next month and I definitely recommend it!! Here is the author, Kim Culbertson's, website . And if you are a middle school / high school teacher she has lesson plan ideas. And you know how that would excite me!!!!

For those other nerds out there like me. I went through the book and typed up a list of all the chapters (songs). I think it would make a pretty decent mix cd!

Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan
Get Out The Map – Indigo Girls
Small Town – John Cougar Mellancamp
When I Come Around – Green Day
Perfect Blue Buildings – Counting Crows
Circle – Big Head Todd & the Monsters
Underneath it all – No Doubt
Island in the Sun – Weezer
Another First Kiss – They May be Giants
Yellow – Coldplay
Human Nature – Madonna
Hard to Explain – Cowboy Junkies
Father of Mine – Everclear
Small World – Ani DiFranco
Complicated – Avril Lavigne
Heavy Things – Phish
Shoot the Moon – Norah Jones
People Talking – Lucinda Williams
Busted Stuff – Dace Mattthews
New Beginning – Tracy Chapman
Blind – Train
What a Good Boy – Bare Naked Ladies
Strange Currencies – R.E.M.
Karma Police – Radiohead
Part of My Life – India Arie
Last Dance – Sarah Mclachlan
You Can’t Always Get What You Want – Rolling Stones
Were you ever the new girl? What crowd did you hang out with?

I got this book through an ARC tour on Around the World Tours. All opinions are mine.

Don't forget to vote for the September Group Read. Poll is on the sidebar. Voting ends Friday morning!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Very cool! As a music lover, I love that the chapters are all song titles.

I was never the new girl... I lived in the same house my entire life until I moved away to college. I didn't really have a 'group' that I hung out with, though. I was sort of a misfit because I did not smoke/drink and I wasn't a jock, so didn't fit in w/ the 2 main groups (keep in mind I had a class of 28 ppl... not a lot of options...). So yah, I wasn't ever part of a group of any sort!

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I've heard a lot of great things about this one. I'm excited to read it!

Anonymous said...

Oh I totally didn't think about making a playlist. I wonder how many of the songs I already have. Got this book from the ARC tour too -- enjoyed it but not as much as I wish I had.

Thanks for sharing your review!