Smothered in Fabulous: Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

Title:                       Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing     Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

Author:                    Steven Luna

Genre:                     YA

Pages:                     178     

Publisher:               Booktrope

Publication Date:   August 31, 2013

Recipe Variables:  Profanity (F-bomb!)

Series:                       Unknown

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.


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!

5 squares review copy


5 Squares


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