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Songs for a Teenage Nomad
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Songs for a Teenage Nomad

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,281 Ratings  ·  221 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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aria [dear darling reader]
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
Aug 27, 2008 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
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Becca Boland for

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
Jul 20, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ho-hum, young-adult
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
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
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.
Krista Ashe
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rowan D.
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The only reason I even looked at this book in the first place was that I needed something to read in the beginning of each english class, and I'm glad I did. If I'm being honest, when I picked up this book I instantly judged it by the cover and the title. I like them both, and after reading the description, I thought that I would probably enjoy it. I was right, for the most part. I'm not really big on reading most of the time, but I genuinely liked this book, and would totally recommend it to ot ...more
Jan 18, 2009 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
Nov 26, 2010 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.
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
Jan 16, 2008 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
Diane Prothro
Jun 16, 2008 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
Aug 25, 2011 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.
Apr 22, 2012 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 :)
Jul 12, 2012 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!
Jan 08, 2008 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.
Mar 26, 2015 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.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written YA novel
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved how the author referenced old and new songs into the storyline.
Jan 23, 2008 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. :)
Apr 01, 2010 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. :-)
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-away
This is one of those books that was almost really good.

Me being the grammar nerd that I am, I had a few qualms with the author's writing (the misuse of the Oxford comma?! the horror!) but other than a few instances, it flowed well.

The story itself on the other hand.. was a bit all over the place.

It starts pretty slow, but interesting enough. About halfway through the book there was just way too much teen drama/angsty romance that made me gag a little. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance, b
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it
it was good, but didn't blow me away. and i would have thought it would have talked a little bit more about music than it did so that was kind of disappointing. but overall it was pretty good and the story ended satisfyingly.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
The dialogue wasn't believable to me...some of the characters weren't fleshed out and therefore unnecessary
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog, want-to-own
Originally reviewed on my blog, Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.

This is a book with a lot of emotion, and a lot of heart. Calle is a young teen whose entire life is completely lacking in stability. Her dad left when she was very little, and her mom has bounced from relationship to relationship ever since. And with each new relationship (and often without them) they move to a new town. The mom drops a penny onto a map of California, and that's where they go next. That type of lifestyle is ha
Jul 16, 2015 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
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, fiction, ya
Calle Smith and her mother move a lot. Every time her mother breaks up with another man, the two of them pack up and move. Twelve different places in the last eight years. When Calle finds herself in Andreas Bay, she doesn’t expect to for anything to be different, but it is. She makes friends, and she starts to fit in. Calle knows what her mother is like, though, and she can’t help but feel that it’s all temporary. As secrets about her mother’s past with her father begin to emerge, it makes Call ...more
Sep 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Immediately I was sucked into Calle's head, her music, her story and her voice. You have this girl forced into a nomadic existence seemingly because her mother's a flake and moves around to start new lives after the old boyfriends ditch her. Even after the whys come to the surface, I can only feel for Calle. Yeah, I get it. Her mother did what she did for her daughter's good. But why keep her in the dark about it? Why force her to follow blindly, without question, just because she's the mother a ...more
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the movie 4 38 Jul 28, 2012 12:01AM  
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Kim Culbertson is the author of the teen novels THE WONDER OF US (Scholastic 2017), 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.

Happy Reading!
More about Kim Culbertson

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