Songs For A Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson - book review

Music. The memories it conjures, the feelings it evokes, the tear, the smile – the emotion contained in a single note cannot be measured nor described. This universal language is the hook that will catch readers and hold them until the end in Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson.

For fourteen-year-old Calle, music represents more than just feelings, it connects her to all of the places she has lived and her absent father. In her journal Calle records all the significant moments in her life as connected to songs. But that journal is one of the few constants in Calle’s life as her mother has displaced them multiple times whenever the tides of her love life rise and fall. But this time, in Andreas Bay, California, Calle has made friends, joined the theatre group and met a boy.

The story is plotted through Calle’s friendship developments, a first kiss with a boy who appears to have a secret and Calle’s desire to know her father. Readers will identify with the well-developed Calle and root for her to find the things for which she is searching, even though the ending is an honest testament to life not always being tied in a neat little bow (which always makes me LOVE an author).

Like Calle, I kept a journal of song lyrics and thirty-two years later, those same songs can still take me back to a place or feeling of my fourteen-year-old self. However, I’m not so certain teens will identify (though I certainly loved quite a few) with the author’s song choices for Calle. The songs are a mix of mostly 90’s tunes, not yet classics, but not really pop for the current crowd. Either way, teens will find something to identify with in Songs for a Teenage Nomad and maybe they’ll even add a new tune to their life’s play-list.