Songs For a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson, Sourcebooks Fire, 2010. ISBN: 9781402243011. Reviewed by, John R. Clark, MLIS.
Calle Smith feels like no place is home. After all, she’s moved twelve times in the past eight years. That’s not exactly great for feeling a sense of community or making friends, but she’s learned to rely on herself and keeps a song journal as a balance wheel.
This time things are different, despite the same old story about her dad being a complete loser and her mother having finally found and married Mr. Right (for the umpteenth time). Her mom has always told her that her father abandoned them, but as Calle starts making connections and friends, she also begins to question whether her mother has been honest with her.
Making friends is a strange, new experience, but one that grows on her, particularly the kids involved in drama. Sam, enigmatic Sam, intrigues her from the day he sits beside her and she feels a connection. Unfortunately, he won’t treat her in public like he did that day and despite her attraction to him, she begins to think that he’s only playing her. As time goes on, however, she discovers they have more secrets and sadness in common. Near the end of the book, Calle not only has to deal with the truth about her parents’ relationship, but with the reasons, both sad and complex, that make Sam unable to be open about his feelings for her. They are ones she can understand and can help him work through. The ending, while sad and with a real tragedy, is satisfying.
This is an excellent story with extremely well-crafted characters. Teens who like a book that has strong emotional appeal, or who have had difficult family experiences growing up will really relate to it.