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Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing

4.9 11
by Steven Luna
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


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.

Product Details

Libertary Co.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

Steven Luna is the author of the JOE VAMPIRE series. SONGS FROM THE PHENOMENAL NOTHING is his first work for a Young Adult audience.

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Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Choc-o-litChick More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reviews-By-Ann More than 1 year ago
Luna brings seventeen year-old salty-tongued Tyler to life and delivers an emotionally hard-hitting tale. I found the writing, characterization, and plotting excellent. My one complaint is, at 172 pages, the book is too short. YA bestsellers tend to be fat books. Luna clearly has the chops--literary style and grit--for a more complex novel involving more than one story line. I'd love to see Mr. Luna score some serious money for his trouble.
ErinKoiso More than 1 year ago
Songs From The Phenomenal Nothing is the first work in the YA genre for author Steven Luna.  Seventeen year old Tyler Thomas Mills is struggling.  Struggling with the life he has been dealt.  Tyler lost his mother six months ago to cancer, and the world as he knew it ended.  The one person that he believed completely understood him has been "uncreated". Leaving him with the man he calls Tom.  He can no longer call him Dad.  Tyler is a tall, lanky, blue-eyed musician who everyone considers "pretty."  Tom is a hard-working, short, not so handsome auto mechanic.  They couldn't be more opposite if they tried.   On punishment for a mistake that he makes, Tyler is stuck cleaning out the garage.  There he finds a box that contains journals belonging to his mother.  Missing her and needing a connection with her he decides to delve into reading them.  He is mesmerized by his mothers writings, they are beautiful, poetic and magical.  Yet they open doors to secrets of her past.  Secrets Tyler isn't quite sure he should be reading.  He becomes obsessed with the journals, while his relationship with Tom becomes more and more strained.    What a wonderful coming of age story!  This book touched me on several levels.  The struggle of coming of age, becoming the adult you want to be, the conflict that teens often encounter with their parents and the search for their own identity!   At first I found Tyler a tad self-absorbed - yet realistic for a seventeen year old. I believe I connected him with my own twenty year old son and the struggles he is facing becoming his own man!  Searching for his own identity.  Yet Tyler has the added struggle of losing the one person he thought understood him.  This story also examines the legacy that secrets leave behind.  Those that others may find and misunderstand or not fully understand and those that forever change lives.   The stories twists and turns at times were emotionally wrenching.  The ending left me in tears - in a wonderfully good way! 
Hazel_G More than 1 year ago
A Dramatic, Emotional Coming of Age Story That Will Keep You Reading From Beginning To End! 5 Created, Heartwarming Stars! 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! Characters... 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. Thoughts... 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. 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.
Stephanie_Fuller More than 1 year ago
When you were eighteen, did you feel like you didn’t belong? That your parents just didn’t understand you and what you wanted to do in your life? That maybe the family joke was true and you really were “the milkman’s son/daughter”? Think about it. I think everyone felt that way, even just a little bit. It’s a right of life. When we meet Tyler Mills, this is how he feels about his dad, and his so called life in SONGS FROM THE PHENOMENAL NOTHING by Steven Luna. In a departure from his JOE VAMPIRE series, Steven Luna throws us a curve ball and nails it out of the park (yes, I know it is physically impossible for someone to throw a ball and hit it...ha!). A story of music, secrets, family, rebellion, and self discovery. SONGS FROM THE PHENOMENAL NOTHING had me from Chapter One and made me want to keep reading until the end. After losing his mother, Tyler Mills feels a disconnect from his father. So much that he decides to go on a journey based on information he found in his mother’s belongings. Tyler’s journey brings him into all sorts of new life experiences and he meets some interesting people along the way. Tyler learns more about himself than he expects and it is a phenomenal thing. Mr. Luna allowed me to read SONGS FROM THE PHENOMENAL NOTHING before it’s release, as I am a fan of his previous works. This book is a great first step in showing the world that he is more than just an author of a “vampire book”. His characters have heart and you feel a connection with them that make you want to know more about them. This story touched my heart and I think it will touch yours, too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing I was concerned that I wouldn't identify with the protagonist. He seemed lost and angry, and while I understood the grief he felt from having lost a loved one, I still didn't understand some of his actions. That changed about 1/3rd of the way through the book. The author does an excellent job of making you understand the variety of emotions that the protagonist feels. He is an excellent storyteller and provides an empathetic and yet thorough analysis of the central characters. As the story unfolds you come to understand that this is not a story of just forgiveness but revelation. This is a story about searching for meaning and what occurs along that journey. Based on the depth of characters in this book, I plan to read more books from this author. I think Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing will be most appealing to young men, as many can relate to the complicated relationship dynamics between fathers and sons. However, anyone could read the book and walk away with an appreciation for the story and the storyteller!
Y311er More than 1 year ago
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. *Received a free copy in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Songs from the Phenomenal is an emotional roller coaster. I will be giving this book to my 14 year niece to read for the important of teens needing to involve/talk with their parents about their feeling and needs. As this would have saved Tyler a great deal of heartache. Damn it Steven Luna you made me cry several times.. lol
DustyCraine More than 1 year ago
Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing is proof positive that Steven Luna is not a one-trick pony. His Joe Vampire books are paranormal (emphasis on the normal) books that mix mundane day to day tasks like office work with the unexpected challenges of life as a vampire. And boy is that Joe Vampire sarcastic. Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing is not. It’s sincere, heartfelt and while ‘Joe’ made you laugh, ‘Songs’ just might make you cry. Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing is about 17-year-old Tyler Mills who lost his Mom six months ago. He lives at home with his father who stands in polar opposition of everything Tyler stands for. Tyler is a creative, musical prodigy with dreams of supporting himself on music. Dad is a practical, hard-working mechanic. Dad is roots, while Tyler is wings. It’s a water and oil combination that becomes combustible once Tyler discovers one of his late-mother’s journals with a secret that turns his world upside down and threaten to destroy what remains of his family. Going much further into the book would only serve to spoil what are some pretty surprising revelations, so I’ll spare you that. What really stands out to me is how well Steven Luna writes a 17-year-old boy; with all of the attitude, frustrating certainty of the world, and piss and vinegar that 17-year-olds display. Tyler is at once likable and a bit of an asshole. He jumps to self-righteous conclusions and sometimes finds that he’s made mistakes that he’s reluctant to admit to anyone but himself. In short, his character flaws should be all too familiar to anyone who’s been there or is currently living with a teenager themselves. Another thing that really comes to the surface is loss. Make no mistake, this is as much the story of Tyler’s loss of his mother as it is his coming to grips with what her secrets mean. In between the butting heads with his old man he must encounter and deal with this very fresh loss. There is a small part in this book that really kicks me in the gut having lost my dad just shy of two years ago. “It feels like I’ve been broken and pushed back together in the wrong shape. Like there’ll always be something in me that doesn’t fit together the right way anymore.” In some ways Ty’s journey is familiar to parts of my own. And that ability for a message within the book to transcend the story – revealing a truth – is what, in my opinion, makes a memorable read. This book is going to stay with me for a while. Thanks Steven for sending me an advanced readers copy. I guess I’m supposed to disclose that I’ve been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t asked to love it. I was only asked to read it and tell y’all what I think, and I have. I really enjoyed it. And I think you will too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago