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Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing by Steven…
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Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

by Steven Luna

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Showing 5 of 5
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A couple of weeks ago, this Chick indulged in a piece of triple layer, double chocolate cake from Costco. As if it weren’t already over-the-top decadent, I smothered it in fresh cut strawberries. I just kind of wanted to wallow around in it for a while. Afterwards, I walked around at length in an endorphin daze thinking about the whole glorious experience. That, my friends, is pretty much how I compare my experience to reading Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing by Steven Luna.

Okay, I’m totally going back on what I said a couple of weeks ago about how cliché and tired the stereotype of the guitar-playing, brooding male lead character has become. Tyler blows this notion out of the water as one of the most honest and refreshing windows into the mind of a young adult male I’ve ever come across. There’s nothing mysterious about his actions or thoughts; it’s laid out there, to absorb and have ah-ha moments, one right after the other of, “oh, so that’s why guys do that.”

What makes Tyler such a sumptuous morsel is not only his ability to admit his flaws, but commit to them, go all in despite the repercussions or heavy dollop of guilt that is sure to follow. Purposefully blowing his prestigious music school audition, stumbling across his mom’s private journals, “borrowing” his best friend’s ride, and ignoring his girlfriend’s calls all come into sharp focus through Tyler’s lens of anger, struggle, and search for truth. The solo road trip he embarks upon is one life-lesson after another, richly building up to the final bite of Tyler facing the music back at home with his father.

I’m gonna say it right here, folks. I loved this book—even better than Eleanor and Park. Yes, that novel garnered awards, Best of 2013 lists, blah-blah. But this read, peeps, will literally and figuratively rock your world. I haven’t seen my copy of it since I loaned it out…at least, only long enough to hand it out again. What are you doing? Get off this blog and go read this triple layer of fabulous! ( )
  ChocolitChick | Mar 9, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing captured me almost instantly. The tragic loss of a Tyler's mother propels him on a journey of self discovery and a journey that allows him to find who he is in the moment and who he wants to be in the future. Luna's characters are real and relatable- at times Tyler seems self indulgent- but he is 17 and the decisions he makes in the book and their consequences are real and have a profound impact on him and the people who love him most. This book is a strong reminder that the life we live is augmented by the personal relationships we cherish and by those we keep close. ( )
  kerinlo | Jan 29, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The first 55 pages of this book were hard going for me, after that point it became very much more exciting and engaging. The point is that persistence will be rewarded in this case. The characters are believable, and I found that I really got involved in their feelings about things. I had tears at times and I found it a worthwhile story to read. ( )
  jaelquinn | Jan 20, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Tyler Mills is a 17 year old musician who has recently lost his mother, Miranda. It was his mother's dying wish that the husband and son she was leaving behind would unite and become closer in her absence. Tyler adored his beautiful, gentle and artistic mother, but feels no such connection to his father. In fact, when he looks at Tom Mills, he can see no physical resemblance to him. While Tyler would climb into bed and hold Miranda as her life ebbed away, he felt no such emotional bond with his father.

Tyler is so talented with his guitar that his teacher gets him an audition for the Conservatory. However, Tyler's personal ambition is for his rock band "The Nothings" to get paying gigs and build a following. Tyler and his dad are surly and non-communicative in the wake of Miranda's death. Tyler feels that his car mechanic or "grease monkey" father doesn't appreciate his guitar prowess or understand his creativity.

Things boil to a head after a gig in the wee hours one morning when Tyler gets into an accident with his band mate's vehicle. The repercussions are as follows: 1. The guitar is taken away. 2. Tyler must clean up the house, lawn and garage. In return, Tom will have the vehicle repaired at his automotive garage. Tyler makes an honest effort to follow through, but is stymied along the way while finding remnants of his mother's existence. They're everywhere; the refrigerator, bedroom, and most importantly, the garage. That's where Tyler finds his mother's journals tucked away into obscurity. The writings and drawings conjure up a passionate love for a musician named Trevor Graves.

Miranda's journals spawn a shocking revelation that calls Tyler's whole life into question. Here begins Tyler's journey of self-discovery and re-evaluating his relationship with Tom.

This book had a topic I enjoy reading about (musicians and teenagers) in a poignant setting. Tyler's journey of truth about his origins was a meaningful and beautiful road to travel. I would highly recommend this book for teenagers. It is very instructive about what's really important in life and which roads should be traveled. It also had a lovely ending. ( )
  WindsorQueen | Jan 17, 2014 |
I loved this book! As parents we make choices that impact our children every day. Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing looks at the way these decisions haunt and change our children in ways we might never anticipate. Steven Luna’s writing was profound and powerful. It made me want to be a more empathetic mother. And it made me hope that if anything ever happened to me, that my husband and my son would create their own beautiful world without me. As a former musician, the scenes where Tyler gets lost in his music spoke to my heart. The way Steven Luna described the audition and the practice sessions were so accurate to my own life. With enough intrigue and drama to fill multiple books, this will be a fantastic read for young adults, parents, musicians, and anyone wanting a book to provide more than just entertainment. ( )
  BookJenGilbert | Oct 29, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
A couple of weeks ago, this Chick indulged in a piece of triple layer, double chocolate cake from Costco. As if it weren’t already over-the-top decadent, I smothered it in fresh cut strawberries. I just kind of wanted to wallow around in it for a while. Afterwards, I walked around at length in an endorphin daze thinking about the whole glorious experience. That, my friends, is pretty much how I compare my experience to reading Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing by Steven Luna.
 
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Seventeen year-old guitar prodigy Tyler Mills has become lost in the aftermath of his mother's death. Disconnected more and more from his father, he takes refuge from it all in two things: his music and his girlfriend. But everything changes with the chance discovery of his mother's journal -- and the long-held family secret within that could alter his life forever.… (more)

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