Sunday, October 17, 2010


Review copy provided by publisher.

Yesterday I posted a review of TUTUS AREN'T MY STYLE. Today's review features another main character trying to find her place in a world that doesn't quite fit her, but this time it's a YA novel, SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD.

Fourteen year old Calle (pronounced Callie) and her mother live a nomadic life. Calle's father left when she was very small, and she has spent most of her life moving from one California town to the next. Each time another relationship ends, Calle's mom, gets out a map, and tosses a coin, then they pack the car and move to wherever the coin has landed. Calle doesn't bother to make friends or put down roots, because she knows she won't be staying anywhere for very long. The one constant in her life is her song journal, where she records vignettes or memories inspired by different songs. Each chapter begins with one of these memories.

At the beginning of this book, Calle and her mom land in San Andreas Bay, one of the prettiest places they have ever lived. Contrary to her usual pattern, Calle become part of the drama crowd at school, and also becomes friends with Sam, a football player who is dealing with his own struggles at home. She also discovers a wooden box, then a drawer containing artifacts about her father and begins to piece together the pieces of that mystery.

This is one of those books where all of the pieces just work. The teenager living on the edge of high school piece. The absent father piece. The song journal. And it reads a little like a mystery, where you can wait to read the next chapter to see how all of the pieces fit together. But the ending, unlike most puzzles but true to most real lives, is more than a little messy. A great read that I will share with our sixth graders tomorrow.

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