***The Tales Compendium blog is currently on hiatus. However you can still following along via the Instagram feed!***

Sunday, July 19, 2015

You're the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About by Daniel Herborn

Title: You're the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About
Author: Daniel Herborn

Release Date: 1st May 2015

Rating: 4/5

Tim’s a young singer-songwriter with a guitar case full of songs and dreams of finding an audience to embrace his tunes. 

Mandy’s obsessed with music and a compulsive dreamer. She’s longing for something more fulfilling than daytime TV and cups of tea with best friend Alice, something like the excitement and passion of rock ’n’ roll.

When their eyes meet at a gig, sparks fly across a crowded room and hope burns in their hearts.

But in a city of millions and a scene overrun with wannabes, can they ever get it together? Will Mandy’s nerves doom their romance before it even starts? And where does the darkness in Tim's songs come from?

This is a story of Sydney's Inner West, of first love, crush bands and mix tapes; of the thrill of the night and what happens when the music stops.

In A Nutshell:
A book about first love, friendship, finding your way, drinking tea, music, and all that music inspires.

My Review:
Mandy and Tim are eighteen year olds from the inner western suburbs of Sydney who meet expectantly at a gig one night. Both are hooked instantly but neither does much about it and leave without swapping so much as a phone number. An electrifying night fizzles with that all too familiar feeling of, “Why on earth didn’t I do something?!”

You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About features two of my favourite things: Boys who play guitar and live music gigs. AND it’s Aussie YA. So it had three big ticks before I even opened the first page. Living up to my high expectations, You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About didn’t disappoint.

When she isn’t working at a sandwich bar, Mandy spends her days watching daytime TV, having deferred university with the plan to travel before picking a major. In the evenings, more often than not, she and her best friend Alice can be found at local pubs on the lookout for musicians who can invigorate their love of music.

“Would it have made a difference? Or would I still be me, adrift in some other time, waiting for my life to begin, wondering when inspiration will strike?”

Tim is repeating year twelve and living with his uncle after events from the previous year contributed to his less than stellar results. The reader doesn’t know what happened (although there are very small hints throughout the book) until Tim reveals all to Mandy about 2/3 through. In his spare time, Tim writes and plays music, sometimes performing in competitions and solo shows in grungy pubs and bars, searching for the elusive crowd that actually cares about what he has to say within his music.

“I guess it seems weird to write a song about someone I don’t know, but that’s kind of what songs are: they’re secrets made public” 

Told in alternating chapters from Mandy and Tim’s perspectives, You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About is a story about having friends and people who support and believe in you even if they have no idea what they want to do either. Because life is a crazy mish-mash of thoughts, ideas and surprises and you never know what will happen next. 

“We might be an unlikely couple, but I’m starting to think that’s the best kind.”

There were so many sweet, tender and emotional moments mixed in with the confusion and frustrations of life and I certainly had my fair share of smiley, happy, reading moments. As much as I loved the characters of Mandy and Tim, I also really appreciated Alice, who comes as a “package deal” with Mandy, or as Tim describes her, “an added bonus”. On the outside Alice seems like she has it all together: at uni studying something she loves, working in a bookstore, attending gigs with her bestie, and rocking her own quirky style. But she too has things in her life to deal with and it made me so happy to see her light up during the absolutely adorableness of her interactions with Justin, a boy from uni (that is not to imply that all her problems magically disappear because of a boy – they are just really sweet moments and I like seeing her character smile).

“I unwrap the parcel and it’s a mixtape Tim has made for me. Cute boys making me mixtapes has always been my sad secret fantasy, the thing I’m too cool to admit I wanted.”

As you would expect, there are plenty of musical mentions throughout the book which no doubt are inspired by the author, Daniel Herborn’s, own love of music. I only knew of some of the artists/bands but it didn’t matter and it gave me a plethora of new music to investigate. 

You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About has a distinctive Australian feel to it. It’s a feeling, I think, to do with the writing style but I’ve never been able to put my finger on or articulate it. It’s not the fact that it is set in Australia, although that does have something to do with it, but it’s something more, an ‘essence’ or something that resonates with me. Like I said, I’ve never been able to figure it out but I’ve had the same strong feeling while reading a few select Aussie YA books, including Guitar Highway Rose, Swerve, Friday Brown and A Straight Line to My Heart. I love that You’re the Kind of Girl I Write Songs About has joined this elusive, personal list.

“Not for the first time, I feel some stupid urge to write songs about her, to make people see her as I do.”

A book about first love, friendship, finding your way, drinking tea, music, and all that music inspires.


  1. I'm piqued by the comparison to Friday Brown, which I loved. Adding to my TBR list. :)

    1. Thanks Tiffany. Don't go into it expecting a story like Friday Brown though. My comparison is to do with the setting and general Australian feel of the writing :)

  2. I haven't read this (yet) but I'm so glad to know you enjoyed it! Really lovely review :)
    Michelle @ The Unfinished Bookshelf

  3. I've been picking up and putting this book down in EVERY bookshop I've been to in the past month or two. I was drawn to this title for the two same reasons. Should definitely get to buying it sometime soon. Glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully I will too. :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...