Page Turner Thursday – YA Novels that “Rock”
This Page Turner Thursday lists YA novels (and one adult novel perfect for older YA) that focus on books where music is a major theme. Here are several that I think music fans will love:
TAKE A BOW by Elizabeth Eulberg: Goodreads
STANDING OVATION to Elizabeth Eulberg for writing another outstanding YA novel, TAKE A BOW. I started this late last night and couldn’t put it down until I finished it some time in the wee hours of the morning. Worth every second I gave up for a good night’s sleep.
TAKE A BOW is narrated by four different characters: the lovable, talented, and unsure-of-her talents Emme, the self-destructive and brilliantly gifted Ethan, the former child actor Carter who is searching for his identity, and the selfish and arrogant Sophie who will stop at nothing for fame. Then add a cast of supporting characters: Jack and Ben are funny, wonderful, dedicated, loyal friends to Ethan and Emme. They’re as much a part of this novel as the rest, and even though they’re not center stage, Elizabeth Eulberg does a fantastic job giving them strong voices and bringing them to life as members of TEENAGE KICKS, the band they play in with Ethan and Emme. Then there is Amanda, a prickly, jealous girl who fits right in with Sophie. All of these YA attend the prestigious, highly competitive New York City High School of the Creative and Performing Arts.
What transpires over one year at the CPA will leave readers completely engrossed in these characters’ stories. You’ll fall in love, cheer, sneer, and have your heart crushed. This is writing at its finest! I loved this novel. The biggest disappointment was finishing the last page. It’s a story I wanted to last and last and last. But like any superb novel, you can imagine the characters’ futures because the author did a tremendous job giving you plenty of glimmers within its pages.
TAKE A BOW has heart, it has music, it has a clear view of the fierce and competitive nature of performing arts’ schools, and it has an authenticity that will make you hope that we’ll see these characters gracing the big screen some day.
Bravo, Elizabeth Eulberg. Thank you for writing such a fine novel!
HOW TO KILL A ROCK STAR by Tiffanie Debartolo: Goodreads
A perfect novel for college students and above. Would How to Kill a Rock Star quality as NA & the 20 something crowd? Yeah, I think so!! But any age adult will love it.
How to Kill a Rock Star is a lyrical read about the love of music with an unforgettable storyline and fantastic characters who have you rooting for them and at times completely pissed off for their stupidity – but in a good way. 😀 I had started this novel months ago – read a few pages then stopped. But when I picked it up this time, I read it straight through, unable to put it down. The setting in the Big Apple is perfect – touching upon Sept 11, which fits right into Eliza’s phobias of flying. Readers will love Eliza’s quirks and want to strangle her too. They’ll love Paul Hudson and his unyielding ways. Their are so many memorable things about this book: the band Bananafish, Doug Blackman, Loring, the Michaels, Rings of Saturn and the bartender John the Baptist! One of my favorite lines(view spoiler)
Thank you to Jaime Arkin of fictionfare.blogspot.com for recommending this book to me! I absolutely loved it.
AMPLIFIED by Tara Kelly: Goodreads
BE DARING, PURSUE YOUR DREAM!
Amplified was recommended to me by Jaime Arkin ofhttp://fictionfare.blogspot.com and if I’m honest, I’m not sure I would have picked this book up without that recommendation. The book did not disappoint! The characters were layered and interesting.
From moment one, I hated Jasmine’s father, a rich cardiologist who kicks his daughter out of the house because she wants to take time off and defer going to Stanford U. This guy is a doofus for not recognizing how amazing his daughter really is. It’s like he will never get it! She wants to explore her passion for playing guitar, and that just won’t do for him. No wonder Jasmine takes off. She arrives in Santa Cruz. There she meets some great people who are in a band called C-Side. Each one has their own issues, including Vera, the lead singer with psychic abilities and her brother
Sean. Sean is awesome. At first he’s cold to Jasmine, but as time passes and he becomes more and more dazzled by Jasmine’s guitar playing these two become quite the interesting pair. As Jasmine faces obstacles, she tries to reach out to her father. He barely makes time for her. She made her bed and now he was damn well sure she was going to sleep in it with the hope she’d crawl back home with her tail between her legs. I HATE parents like this! I could really go on about this, but I’ll spare you. Read the book. But if you have a parent like this, take heart from this novel!
This is a great book for any YA contemporary novel fan, especially those who have a passion for music. Thanks, Jaime! Great recommendation.
AUDREY, WAIT by Robin Benway: Goodreads
AUDREY, WAIT! was published in 2008 and what made me want to read it were a few recent reviews from some of the people I follow on Goodreads. What a creative, fun, wild ride into the music scene. When Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend, Evan, he writes a song that instantly becomes a hit. Not only does Evan become famous but so does Audrey who is sometimes admired, sometimes hated but just about always watched by a public willing to hack into her email account, call her phone, set up fan pages, and even track her down in school. The reader gets to be along for the ride as Audrey deals with her unwanted fame. There’s a great BFF named Victoria with a devoted bf named Jonah. Victoria is bent on getting Audrey to go out with semi-geeky but definitely cute James, her co-worker at Scooper Dooper – an ice cream shop. As it turns out they connect and maybe what they have is true love?
Audrey, Wait! is a fun read certain to please those who love YA novels big into the music scenes.
NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan: Goodreads
NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST is written from two different perspectives by two extremely talented writers. Both Nick and Norah have struggled with painful breakups that have left them with emotional scars and plenty of doubts about themselves. When Nick’s ex-girlfriend starts walking over to him after he and his band have finished playing, Nick turns to Norah, a girl he’s never met before, and asks her to be his five-minute girlfriend. She answers him by wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him. And that is the start of a roller coaster evening of intense emotion, intense physical attraction, and some heavy sexual activity. As they discover each other, they discover themselves. This novel is definitely appropriate for older YA. The “F” word is used a lot and one particular sexual encounter is graphic (love the humorous twist!).
A secondary “character” in this novel is music and the music scene of NY. For those who have a passion for music, you will LOVE this.
Besides the concept of self-discovery and recovery from bad relationships, I liked how Nick and Norah moved into the space of just being themselves instead of what they perceived they SHOULD be for other people. Nick does a “SInging in the Rain” act in Times Square and Norah lets her vulnerable side show instead of being all tough. It proves that when you find the “right” person, he or she will appreciate you for your true self. And why would you want to surround yourself with anyone else?
FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB by Antony John: Goodreads
Dumb is a name of a HS rock band in Seattle, WA. The group won the Battle of the Bands – teen division. After an impromptu concert on the steps of their HS Piper, the MC who is a deaf girl, tells them what they need to do to get Dumb’s name out into the world. She becomes their manager and the experience not only transforms Dumb, but it changes Piper. Her job is a tough one but she does it well. For those who love music and Seattle’s rich musical history this is a wonderful read. Piper’s family dynamics are fascinating too, especially how they relate to Piper and her being deaf. There’s also a sweet romance that blooms as the band goes through its transformations.
VIRTUOSITY by Jessica Martinez: Goodreads
I picked up VIRTUOSITY because of three reviews on Goodreads: Hayden’s, HD’s, and Melina’s. After their awesome write-ups, I couldn’t resist. Among many things, Melina’s review talked about addiction to music, to prescription drugs etc, and she was definitely correct. Hayden related VIRTUOSITY to his own experience, and HD loved the novel for its writing etc. All three of them connected to this novel differently and they were dead-on as far as a five star review. VIRTUOSITY definitely pulls at you with the power of music, the power of family, the power of love, the power of medication, the power of standing up for yourself, and the power of turning a wrong into a right, even knowing it could cost you something that you love – like becoming one of the best violin players in the world. Overall, this novel will leave you aching for Carmen and the pain she had to suffer to discover her inner strength, her love for playing violin, and her discovery into what is truly important. She has a huge weight to deal with, one so great that in the end what is most admirable about her is her guts, her determination, her inner strength. Toss into the equation a young man named Jeremy who not only is Carmen’s biggest competition, but is the heart of the conflict in her life. Love his raw honesty, his complicated personality!
VIRTUOSITY has it all: wonderful writing, a pull-me-in story arc, relatable characters, life-changing decisions. It’s a winner. Put it on your must-read list!