Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

*Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

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.

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My Review

Since Tyler's mom passed, music has become Tyler Mills life. It's what speaks to his soul and what he thinks his calling is. It's how he stays sane and in control. He knows he's good and now everybody wants him to take his talent to school. Only he doesn't want to. He just wants to play in his band in the hopes of making it big someday. His father is all that's left of his family and he feels like his father barely tolerates him. Well he barely tolerates his dad. And when Tyler discovers journals his mother buried deep in the garage he is determined to chase down the secrets that she kept and find the answers that he thinks he seeks.

In Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing, Tyler or Ty as he is also called is a great kid who just so happens to be having an extremely hard time moving on after the loss of his mother. Like most teenagers he doesn't want to be told what to do, how to do it, or when to do it. He just wants to live life his way and live his dream. But everyone who loves Tyler wants more for him, they want him to succeed and nurture his talent in a way that will be beneficial to him in the future. Of course the more they push him the more he pushes back. But really his pushing back is less about him not caring, and more about his search for himself.

To Tyler his search is about answers. But really it seems to be about the search for a part of his soul. The part he lost with the death of his mother, the part of his soul that will finally make him feel like he belongs. And he thinks the one place he will find his answers is in the secret past of his mother. As he chases her once forgotten dreams Tyler finds himself in the middle of nowhere looking at a bleak glimpse at what could very well be his future. Now he's not certain he wants the connection he has been seeking. When he gets home from his little soul journey he discovers that what he's been looking for has been right there all along.

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing is an absolutely beautiful story from beginning to end. Author Steven Luna has such an elegant and rhythmic way with words. He is fully capable of creating the image of music in your head that as Tyler performs, notes and music float through your head. It's almost as if he is giving you a private concert.

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing will sweep you up like a tidal wave, carrying you out to a vast sea of teenage angst, raw emotion, soul searching and connections. Before you know it the ride is over and another life has flashed before your eyes. It was beautiful, poetic and will leave your heart full.

"She was an artist, and she was art, in the truest sense. Everything she touched was created anew." (kindle, loc. 2031).
This is just one example of the amazing beauty that is this story. This is a description of Tyler's mother, beautiful and poetic.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the fantastic review, Danielle... your support is always greatly appreciated!