January 5, 2016

Review: This Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin

Book and ARC reviews are posted under this feature!

This Song Is (Not) for YouThis Song Is (Not) for You by Laura Nowlin
Rating: 4 of 5 stars

*Digital ARC was received from Sourcebooks Fire through Netgalley*

Genre: YA (Contemporary)
Pub. Date: January 5, 2016

Get a copy here!

“Have you ever met someone, and you could feel that they were going to be important to you? It’s like you never knew it, but you’ve been waiting your whole life to meet this person…”
The gripping opening line narrated by Ramona above starts this unique story of how in love everything is possible in this latest YA contemporary by Laura Nowlin. Having read her heart-wrenchingly amazing book If He Had Been with Me before, I was beyond excited to pick this up as my closing read last year. Laura wrote a very, very good romance and I was giddy to devour another one from her in this book. She did give me what I expected, but in the most unexpected way.

When Ramona met Sam for the first time on the first day of school, she already knew that Sam would have the name Sam. And it would be the name that she’d etch in heart for years after. It was.
But Sam was her best-friend, like her best-friend with capital best. Ramona knew better than taking the risk of ruining their friendship of years by admitting her feeling to him. They’d been best-friends for too long and been making awesome music together. What else could she want more than that? And it’s not like he felt the same way to her.
Yet he did.
Sam could not not look at Ramona whenever she’s on her element―the drum. And he knew that it’s more than just a casual admiration for her. It’s more. Way more. 
But Ramona was his best-friend. That kind of friend that you’d been way too comfortable with you could care less about keeping image around them. And though she’s the reason he played music, Sam realized that being in a band with Ramona was everything. Together they made a perfect band; but a perfect couple? Cool girl like Ramona would probably tell him from the start if she ever thought of making a perfect couple with him. But she didn’t. 
So she wasn’t, he thought.
Then came Tom to the frame. And like what music did to them, Tom’s appearance made an invisible bridge that connects Ramona and Sam in a way that they could only imagine before. If Sam and Ramona made a perfect band together before; with Tom, they made a stellar one―both as band and best-friends.
The problem? 
Ramona might fall for him, too. While her love for Sam didn’t lessen one bit.

Unique Romance
This Song Is (Not) For You is a unique story of teenagers of three who got tangled in love and friendship. In this book, Laura Nowlin brings up a quite fresh concept of love between three friends without necessarily messing it up into a sickening love triangle. While some people might find this concept odd and slightly inept, I’m sure more people would say it’s something possible and even think of it as sweet arrangement because Laura did a great job building the romance between each character. I, personally, still did not know where my opinion stands about this kind notion of romance in this book. I somehow still couldn’t get my mind around it since I’m a firm believer of love as an exclusive tie between two hearts. But part of me honestly thought that This Song Is (Not) For You has a really well-written romance and friendship.

Amazing Characterizations
Told in three different perspectives, this book clearly shows that each character, the three of them, all play the same important roles to the story. Ramona is a quirky girl with deep passion in music. She plays drum and piano, and she loves both instruments equally. What are the odds though that she would love people in the same way she did her music? When usually I feel weird of people who could love more than one person at the same time, Ramona’s character didn’t bother me when she did exactly that. The feeling she had for Sam was built very deeply that we could feel it stays strong even when she grew another one for Tom.
Sam is probably my most favorite character of all. He’s pretty cool with his feeling I might say. That he loved Ramona, yet didn’t want to say it in case it’d ruin their friendship. But when another man came to the picture, he didn’t do some alpha-male drama boys usually do in romance book to claim Ramona as his considering he’d known her first and longer. He’s clear with his own wants. Yes he played music because of Ramona. But he wasn’t blind of the fact that music isn’t everything he wants to do in life. So he pursued his own passion while enjoyed making music with his best-friends. I liked that about him a lot. His non-judgmental personality is really sweet and that’s the very thing that made me love him the most. The way he let Ramona did things her way sometimes, the way he accepted Tom to the group, the way his opinion shifted from indifferent to slightly jealous to actually coming up with the idea that becomes the whole point of this book shows that Sam is one of those rare people with a very good heart and open mind. And that scene when he confessed his feeling, quick and simple and has a bit spur-of-the-moment feel…goodness, I loved it so much!

Free Soul: Discovery! 
Meanwhile, Tom’s character is what I would call a free soul. His love for music, art, and freedom, and the way his do-gooder personality often slipped into his works are genuine. I was surprised when I read the part saying he’s actually an asexual person because honestly it’s the first time I hear about such type. It only made this book even more unique in my eyes. And the asexuality layer just strengthened his whole free persona even more. Tom’s character kind of reminded me on a particular quote that I really love. I found it years ago and had taken a liking of it right away but honestly didn’t quite know what it truly means. Until now.

Tom’s character made me realize just how exactly a free soul would be like. I mean, they don’t have to be exactly like Tom. But they could be someone who could make people feel like Ramona and Sam when they’re near Tom. I’m really glad that I read this book because I’ve been searching for the meaning of this quote for a long time now and here, Laura, made me understand it in one easy way through Tom. What an experience I had here!

Final Thought(s)
This Song Is (Not) For You presents a picture perfect of how a girl and two boys could build love and friendship without abandoning any of them out of the group. It’s definitely not a shallow young romance and I personally think people needs to be open minded to really get the point of this story. Guess I kind of failed to do it but I think I’ll read it again and will probably change my mind later. For now, though, I’m still enjoying the friendship more than the romance.
I don’t really have any book comparison with this one but those who enjoy David Levithan and John Green’s books might find this book endearing.


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