This Song Is (Not) for You – Laura Nowlin


Bandmate, best friend or boyfriend? For Ramona, one choice could mean losing them all.

Ramona and Sam are best friends. She fell for him the moment they met, but their friendship is just too important for her to mess up. Sam loves April, but he would never expect her to feel the same way–she’s too quirky and cool for someone like him. Together, they have a band, and put all of their feelings for each other into music.

Then Ramona and Sam meet Tom. He’s their band’s missing piece, and before Ramona knows it, she’s falling for him. But she hasn’t fallen out of love with Sam either.

How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?


This book is not for everyone. But I’m one of those that this book is meant for, because I enjoyed it and it resonated with me.

This book has a lot of “deepness” and profundity to it. I’m not saying that it’s actually profound, but that it tries to be… or at least, the characters are trying really hard to make sense of the world and determine how they fit in the structure that underlies society.

These kids are on the cusp of adulthood. They’re trying to figure themselves out. They have so much love within them. You could call this book a love story, even though it’s not one in a traditional way. I would love to see them a few years down the line, and then again a few years after that. Would they still be Ramona, Sam, and Tom? Or would they change and grow apart? Could they possibly be merely a product of their environment; friends by pure chance? I think one of the great things about enduring friendships is that people actively try to make it work even when they are far apart. Even when those circumstances don’t align, they still intend to seek each other out. I would love to see that come to fruition.

There are some wonderful supporting characters here, especially in the form of parental figures. Each character has his or her own side character as well, I guess to show that they are their own people (and not encapsulated in a tiny, lovely, bubble): Emmalyne, Sara, and that guidance counsellor. I was a big fan of all of this.

This book is complicated. It has a lot of layers. There’s a part early on where Sam and Tom argue about whether Ramona prefers piano or drums. It didn’t click that these instruments were metaphors (or perhaps, they were the metaphors?). I didn’t realize that conversation was foreshadowing something bigger that would happen to this motley crew. Or rather, that they would choose to make more happen.

This review is getting cryptic since I don’t want to spoil anything. Trust me, it’s a perfectly ironic, quiet, and thoughtful read.

Related Reading

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (I swear they were infinite.)
  • Don’t Ever Change – M. Beth Bloom
  • When You Were Here – Daisy Whitney
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman
  • The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy – Kate Hattemer
  • This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales

Rating: 5/5


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