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Songs for a Teenage Nomad

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3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,158 Ratings  ·  203 Reviews
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 unlik ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Hip Pocket Press
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If I Stay by Gayle FormanJust Listen by Sarah DessenThis Lullaby by Sarah DessenWhere She Went by Gayle FormanNick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn
YA Music Books
44th out of 388 books — 683 voters
Just Listen by Sarah DessenIf I Stay by Gayle FormanThis Lullaby by Sarah DessenNick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel CohnWhere She Went by Gayle Forman
Fiction Involving Music
94th out of 616 books — 899 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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AriaStuckinWonderland
I only listen to a song if I could relate to its meaning.
There are a couple of songs I like because of the beat or the melody but mostly I have to like the lyrics first before I really like a song.
I have always been fascinated with music.
I never leave the house without my Ipod.
It’s a constant companion.
Sometimes I feel like a part of me is missing when I am not listening to music.
Music has that same value to Calle the main character of this book.

Calle and her mother have never stayed in one plac
...more
Kori
Aug 27, 2008 Kori rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this book I wasn't quite sure about it, but as I moved forward I started realizing that I had never really read a book like this before. The writing was very different and unique then what I was use to reading. The writing was more "modern" to me, it felt like I could relate to most of it. The story was kind of typical but at the same time this author made it her own original thought process. I enjoyed reading this book and if your a teenager I think you will too.
Tanja (Tanychy) St. Delphi
Review posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

I've said this a lot of times and I'll say it again - music and books are perfect combination. I as a lover of both always enjoy in book that has some soundtrack in it or they talk about music. This one is not different. Songs For A Teenage Nomad has all that.

Calle our protagonist in this story is a teenager. She had a though life so to say. She doesn't know who her father is and her mother remarried few times. It even came to that point when she calls all her st
...more
Jenna
Jul 22, 2011 Jenna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, ho-hum
So very lame and boring. Just felt like I was eavesdropping at some high school and their melodramatic lives, with name-dropping of musical artists peppered in for good measure.

I was intrigued by the book because I thought it might be connected to music in an interesting way. Not so. Instead I got the story of Calle, who is deeply connected to listening to music on her portable CD player and writing in her "song journal", and her nomadic lifestyle instigated by her mother moving her around (eig
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Becca Boland for TeensReadToo.com

Music has a great effect on listeners. It can lift you up when you feel depressed or help to heal a broken heart. For Calle it is more than that. Music is her home and her memories. Music is the tie to the father that she's never known and the memories of all of the places she has lived.

Calle moved to Andreas Bay after her mom remarried (again) and threw a penny onto a map of California. Unlike all of their other moves, Calle finds a place in Andreas
...more
Kerri
Sep 05, 2011 Kerri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
I'm generally not a reader of YA books, but had to read Kim's! This gem had all the elements—real, multi-dimensional characters acting and talking like kids, but Culbertson's voice does not talk down to them. Lots of little mysteries keep the pages turning. The musical references were a nice way to tie it all together. I finished it quickly—not because it was a necessarily a fast read, but it actually had me turning pages. Culbtertson respects her characters and her readers.
Haley
Aug 15, 2009 Haley rated it it was amazing
The tagline is: “What is the soundtrack of your life?” I was hooked immediately. From the title to the last line, this book is authentic and truly beautiful.

True to the title, 14-year-old Calle Smith is a teen that loves music and drifts from town to town with her mother. She’s not used to putting down her roots anywhere, so she resists. It’s hard, though, when her sound track bounces her between her new crowd of quirky thespians, a mysterious loner, and a boy that at first glance has a perfect
...more
Pen-rye-n
I actually got this for free on Kindle and quite frankly, I wasn't expecting much from it. Kindle freebies are pretty hit & miss, with emphasis on the miss. I wasn't prepared to be completely hooked from the beginning & unable to put it down until the end.

I think one thing that appealed so greatly to me was how gloriously average the main character, Calle Smith, is. She's the kind of believable average that you just don't see in many YA novels. She doesn't have every guy at school falli
...more
Precious
Dec 21, 2010 Precious rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
see full review here.

Culbertson did an awesome job in showing readers what life really was about. At some point, it was hardly about the constant moving at all. It was all about Calle – who she was and who she could be. It was about discovering the truth, learning to accept that her life was not perfect and finding the answers to her questions. The writing was so beautiful, easily reflecting whatever emotion Calle was feeling in the subtlest ways.

I loved the format of Songs for a Teenage Nomad.
...more
Krista Ashe
Oct 09, 2010 Krista Ashe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kimberley
Mar 26, 2015 Kimberley rated it liked it
I was looking for a quick, easy read. I found myself quite annoyed by Calle but then I would remember that she was only 15. This book was very typical in the way she immediately started crushing on the popular jock. Throw in the pretty, jealous on/off girlfriend and a YA romance is born. Eli was my pick but of course it wasn't to be.
Ann
Jan 16, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing
Calle Smith never lives in one place long enough to call it home. While her mother runs from relationships, lonely Calle finds solace in music, creating a song journal as a way to cope with her uprooted life. Kim Culbertson’s intelligent writing provides insight into the longings of this fourteen-year old with heart-rending emotion. Not only a must-read for teens, this book presents topics and ideas that make it essential for parents as well. A high school educator for over ten years, it is easy ...more
Good Golly Miss Holly
I was definitely surprised to find myself picking Songs for a Teenage Nomad off my bookshelf a few days ago, after re-reading the blurb it came across as a lot more interesting than I'd first imagined and I was hoping it'd live up to the critical acclaim it seemed to hold with so many professional reviewers.

Initially, I was drawn to this novel for the promise of an honest music background but surprisingly, the bulk load of music references seemed to pass me by without really making an impact on
...more
Diane Prothro
Jun 16, 2008 Diane Prothro rated it really liked it
Recommended to Diane by: Kirk
I read this while on a 12 hour road trip and I needed something to distract me from the driving habits of my chauffeur...having said that, I did enjoy the book. It's for a young adult, you know coming of age/high school angst type of thing. Anyway, Calle finds herself in a new city (again) and hoping to make new friends (again)and we see all the teenage problems associated with newness/weirdness added, or I should say burdened by the marrying habits of her mother, (6 times). It has some nice twi ...more
Jennifer K
Jan 28, 2016 Jennifer K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hook with this novel is the "soundtrack" of Calle's life. It's a completely relatable hook, too. How many tines have you heard a song that thought, that's just what I needed to hear? Exactly.

Calle's been yanked all over the state of California for most of her life. She usually does her best to be aloof and ignored by her fellow students at the newest new school. Unfortunately for Calle, drama kids are pushy, and before she knows it, she's made friends and maybe even has a boyfriend. Almost.

I
...more
John Clark
Jun 11, 2014 John Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
...more
Ashley Canales
Feb 27, 2014 Ashley Canales rated it really liked it
Calle Smith a girl who has moved twelve times in the past eight years. She is a freshman in high school. Who now lives in Andreas Bay, California. The only thing that keeps her moving is her song journal were she czn write all her thoughts. She starts to let friends get to attached. She finds love,but what keeps them apart are secrets. She wants to know why they move so much. Once she finds the truth in love and the truth in why they move will it make her stronger or will it break her?
This boo
...more
Aimee
Aug 26, 2011 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The characters are well fleshed out. The only issue with the characters was that Calle, 14, seemed much older. As did her friends. The story is still believable and likable, as there are intelligent and "old" fourteen year olds. I highly recommend this book. Songs of a teenage nomad is one of the best books I've read in a while. Its been a bit since I've just had to finish a book, staying up late and spending hours to finish it.
Nadia
Apr 27, 2012 Nadia rated it really liked it
Even though I read the latest edition, and it had many more pages, I didn't mind, I really loves this book. It took me to a place I had never been before and it taught me that songs are a great way of expressing your feelings. It was no surprise that the book was one of its kind. Kim Culbertson also did a great job in INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART. I look foward to reading more of her books :)
Kim
Jul 29, 2015 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I for one, would be very grateful if I can just read one book where there's a strong female character who doesn't spend all her time worrying if who she'll hurt when she choose between Good-guy-best-friend-who-has-had-a-crush-on-her-since-about-forever and Douche-quarterback-she's-been-crushing-on-since-about-forever. I mean, seriously, it's 2015, please give me some, if not a little, variation.

So. Calle Smith is a teenage gypsy. Her name is to be pronounced like 'Callie' but the stupid author c
...more
Leila
Jul 14, 2014 Leila rated it it was amazing
I could relate to this book in so many ways. Kim does a great job of expressing the life of a 'teenage nomad' whose dad has deserted herself and her mother. She finds herself at this school with a boy that she likes, a crowd of people that she can somewhat relate to, and despite all her surroundings, she still feels a little desolate. Loved it!
Marnie
Jan 08, 2008 Marnie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Readers, Teachers of Young Readers
Recommended to Marnie by: Kim
Culbertson knows a lot about adolescents and she respects the depth of the loneliness and longing which often motivates them. What's extra-special about this YA novel is the way the music pulls the narrative along and glosses each scene. This is Culbertson's first novel and I'm looking forward to watching her next text blossom.
Gothikarose
Sep 30, 2014 Gothikarose rated it liked it
This book was nice, I enjoyed it. My only problems were the sad ending, the way Calle allowed Sam to treat her, and the music references. Calles mom just refused to give her father a chance which I found very sad. He just wanted to know his daughter and have her in his life but she didn't allow it and that was messed up. Calle was a fool when it came to Sam. He was telling her how different she was within a 2 minute Congo. They had just met, I hate when characters are already declaring feelings ...more
Katy
Jan 23, 2008 Katy rated it it was amazing
This book was quite wonderful and creative! The characters quickly feel like real friends and (as is typical for me with good books) I missed them when the book ended. :)
Kim
Apr 01, 2010 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is the new edition of my novel - out in Sept. 2010 from Sourcebooks Fire (yay!). I have a huge crush on the new cover. :-)
Anita
May 18, 2011 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved how the author referenced old and new songs into the storyline.
Charles
Dec 27, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written YA novel
David Jin
Feb 09, 2015 David Jin rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, music
Another YA novel about music and how it can illustrated the life of a teen who distances themselves from the main crowd. Culbertson's writing is effective, and though the story found itself moving a bit slow for my taste, it was an enjoyable ride. I always like YA books about music, and the classic playlists used here do not disappoint. Calle is a fine protagonist, and I appreciate that the dialogue avoids cliches better than in most books. I also loved how the songs included both modern and thr ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Sep 07, 2010 Blodeuedd Finland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ya
There were something about this book. How to put my finger on it, it was just good.


It's the story of Calle, a girl who truly is a teenage nomad. Her mum finds a guy, lives with him, or marries him, is happy, but then leaves. Calle goes from school to school, and the only thing constant is her journal. There she writes down memories when she hears different songs. Now she is at a new school, she actually gets friends, she falls for a boy, and she longs to stay. Then there is the mystery concernin
...more
Katie
Oct 26, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had very high expectations for Songs For A Teenage Nomad and it sadly did not live up to them. It was a good book but it seemed lacking at times and I honestly just wanted more from it.

Calle Smith (pronounce Callie) is used to moving. What she isn't used to is having friends. That is only one of many changes to Calle's life when she moves to Andreas Bay. Another one is Sam. He's not like other guys but he is hiding something. His family has their share of secrets and he's not willing to tell.
...more
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Kim Culbertson is the author of the teen novels THE POSSIBILITY OF NOW (Scholastic 2016), CATCH A FALLING STAR (Scholastic 2014), INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART (Sourcebooks 2011), and SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD (Sourcebooks 2010).

She believes books make the world a better place and likes to be on the look out for books she really connects with and loves. Any book she reviews on Goodreads is one
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