I liked Songs From the Phenomenal Nothing by Steven Luna from the very first page. Tyler, the main character, is extremely believable as a grieving teenager trying to figure himself out. His mom died recently; he’s a gifted musician in a struggling band; he’s about to graduate from high school, but has no idea what to do afterwards. Then there’s his relationship with his dad, which has never been good, and has only gotten worse since his mother’s death. So when he finds his mother’s diaries that hint of a love relationship with a once-famous musician, Tyler needs to find the truth. But his journey into his mom’s past and search for his true identity are anything but predictable.
I bought Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing because I’d heard great things about it, and because it was published by Booktrope, the same publisher that will soon be releasing my new novel, Leaving the Beach. SFTPN is a young adult story, but I believe readers of all ages will be able to relate to Tyler’s angst. Steven Luna is a gifted author who doesn’t shy away from showing us the dark, sometimes frustratingly angry side of this seventeen-year-old young man. (And as the mother of a teenage boy, I appreciate that.)
Steven is the author of the Joe Vampire series of books, SFTPN is his first venture into YA material, and based on this book, I hope he writes more.