Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Title: Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing
Author: Steven Luna
Age Group: Adult, Mature YA
Genre: Drama, Coming of Age
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Published by: Booktrope Editions
Format: Ebook and Paperback
Pages: Approx. 175

Copy Provided by Publisher
My Goodreads Review Link

Book Blurb:
It’s just me and him. Him and me. A man I can’t comprehend, designated by the universe as my father but someone I prefer to call Tom, and a kid he can’t relate to but calls son anyway because he’s determined to try. I really wish he’d just call me Tyler.

He probably wishes I’d call him Dad.

But I’m not comfortable with that at this point.

Our differences and our lack of mutual understanding are the only things we seem to agree on. And even those get heated sometimes.

Seriously, it’s a miracle that we haven’t hurt each other yet.

I’m not sure how much longer we can hold out...

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.

Reviewers Note: Songs From The Phenomenal Nothing is an Adult, Mature YA “Coming of Age Story” written by Steven Luna. I received this eARC from Booktrope Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

5 Created, Heartwarming Stars!
A Dramatic, Emotional Coming of Age Story That Will Keep You Reading From Beginning To End!

The Review:

Its been six months since Tyler Mills lost his mother and lost his way. When cancer took Miranda’s final breath and she died, or was “uncreated” as Tyler prefers because saying “died” feels to final, she left behind a grieving husband and son who no longer know how to function without the glue that held them together. Tyler loved and admired everything about his mother and her passing has left a hole so deep in his soul, he can’t seem to find his way out of the darkness.

This is a beautiful story about self discovery, forgiveness and learning to live in the here and now. I loved this read!

Tyler Mills is a seventeen year old musical prodigy. He has a natural ability with the guitar that all musicians crave. When he plays, original composition can flow out of him like magic weaving notes through the air. It can be beautiful, electric or haunting depending on his mood. Encouraged from a young age by his artistic mother, he’s developed a skill that should take him far if only he could get his mind, heart and talent in sync.

But he is an angry, dispirited young man who’s suffering from a loss so deep, he can’t bare to face the reality of it all. He’s having severe problems coping with his mothers death. He’s sarcastic, doesn’t have future plans for college and purposely blew the Conservatory audition set up by his music instructor. He’s generally a jobless slacker with big ideas of taking his band to the rock and roll stages. He’s having communication problems with everyone in his life. His father, his friends, his teachers. But he’s striving for something.. different. Different than what others want for him. He’s searching for that one thing that will make him feel like he belongs, like his life has a connection in the world he’s living. His mother represented the beauty and magic in his life. She encouraged him, inspired him and without her he's completely adrift.

Tyler and his father don't see eye to eye. He see’s his father as a literal, mechanical thing because he’s not lyrical or fluid or whimsical like himself. He feels he couldn’t possibly come from someone so grounded and he feels they have nothing in common.

When Tyler is forced to clean out the garage as punishment for a night out partying, he stumbles across journals written by a younger, less practical mother who’s magic hadn’t been slightly dulled by life experiences. When he enters her world, he gets a glimpse of the possibilities told through her poetic ramblings, her scenic storytelling and her impressionable mind. And he discovers a deeper connection along with surprising secrets that send him on a self discovering journey.

I really felt for Tyler. He's a sensitive, spontaneous teenager who’s just lost the patent he could relate to. He misses her fiercely, and in his grief and anger, he’s pushed away the one left standing. His father loves him deeply but he’s not too terribly forthcoming with his emotions and he feels the chasm between them but doesn’t know how to connect to his son or get through to him. They are unanchored and floating further apart.

This family could have used a grief counselor for sure. My heart broke as I could see both side struggling. But I loved how by the end, they might not be healed but I think they both came out with a better understanding of the other and were trying to open up a little more, starting the healing process.

Tyler’s journey to finding himself was filled with intense moments and unpleasant events as he chases a dream thats inferior to his reality. And by the end, I think Tyler has discovered a lot about himself, about his father and about life in general and he realizes just how wonderful his life could be if he accepts the treasures he has.

The Wrap Up:
This was a thought provoking, emotional journey about loss, finding yourself and accepting things aren’t always about you and that you can’t control everything. As humans, we make mistakes, but understanding and forgiveness go a long way in healing a broken heart.

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