Songs For A Teenage Nomad

Title/Author: Songs for A Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson
How I Got It: Around the World ARC tour
Why I Read It: Sounded interesting. I like books with a music theme.
Rating: Between 3.5 – 4 stars

 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.”

I picked this book up on a whim to be honest. I never had heard of it but I like music themed books and I wanted to sign up for an ARC tour to see what they were all about. I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would. I really thought it was a well written books for teens (and YA loving adults!) that seemed very real–it didn’t seem like the cliched high school experience that never actually really happens in real life. The romantic relationship wasn’t that crazed, “OMG I saw him and I loved him and three days later we were in love forever” kind of relationship.

I loved Calle. I loved her song journal and I just thought she was refreshingly original. I just felt for her throughout the story–the moving around, the boy troubles, the daddy issues, etc. The girl didn’t have an easy life. I just wanted to see things get better for her and I was so angry with her mom for keeping her into the dark about everything with her dad. Give the girl some credit and tell her the truth! I actually couldn’t stand her mom. I understand she was being protective but lying is never the right way. I couldn’t stand how she kept uprooting her Calle all the time. I was happy Calle started to stand her ground in the end.

I loved the soundtrack that went along with this book! At the beginning of each chapter there was a song accompanied by a memory. I loved this idea! I felt like kindred spirits with Calle because I very much have my own song journal in my head where I associate very vivid memories with songs. 

Let’s just talk about what a BANG of an ending it was. That’s all I’ll say. I still have mixed feelings about it.

My final thought: This is a really good (clean) YA novel with a likable  main character that is a free-spirited, smart girl! The premise isn’t too different and the story, at first glance seems to be nothing special, but while reading it you will find it to be unique and special as it explores some real gritty issues in life–absent fathers, dysfunctional families, depression, etc. If you are into contemporary YA and are a music lover, this might be a good fit for you!


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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I'm definitely intrigued enough to add it to my wish list 🙂

  2. The1stdaughter says:

    I absolutely loved the pacing of this story coupled with the music, it was so beautifully written. I just wish, like you, it hadn't ended so quickly. It just seemed to all of the sudden be done. I wanted more about how things worked out and the story to continue.

    Fantastic review!

  3. This sounds interesting! I love the idea of mixing fiction with music in that way, it sounds great. Thanks for reviewing it!

  4. I'm really intrigued by the idea of adding a soundtrack to each chapter. I love associating music with life, so I will definitely add this to my TBR!

  5. Well, it wasn't a soundtrack with each chapter. It was a song per chapter with memory. All together it certainly is an eclectic soundtrack!

  6. Ordinary Reader says:

    Hi. There's an award for you on my blog!

  7. I'll be honest – I'm totally clueless with this whole soundtrack-with-a-book thing. But I'm curious to see what it's all about. I have Amy & Roger's Epic Detour so maybe I'll start out with that one. Great review!!

  8. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    Music theme???? IM IN! this is a great review, my dear. I must hunt this one down 🙂

  9. I've heard this is a fantastic read. I've already added it to my wishlist and hope to get to it soon.