Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday Three: Music Themed YA Books

With the Grammys this past weekend, I feel like I have been surrounded by music talk.  I figured why not mention some of my favorite Young Adult books with music as a central theme or character.  They are all worth a read, even if you aren't a music fan.  I myself rarely listen to music and am not much interested in it in general (of course I married a musician so it is an unavoidable part of my life).  I'm saying that because I would never seek out a book because it has music at its core.  These are titles that I enjoyed based on the stories and characters themselves.  They just happen to have music woven into their plots.  Give them a try!
69904722225251. If I Stay
This is a story about the ultimate decision to stay or go.  Mia Hall is trying to decide between going to Juilliard/pursuing her cello career and staying home with her family and the love of her life, Adam.  Then, she finds herself with an entirely different decision: to live or die.  Most of the story takes place with her comatose body lying in the ICU, with her disembodied spirit as the narrator.  At the heart it is a love story: the love of music, the love of her family, the love of Adam.  Music is woven throughout the book in seamless fashion.  It is a teen book with depth and emotion.  I really liked this book.  It also has a sequel (Where She Went) told from Adam's POV.  It takes place a few years after this book and is equally good, if not better.
2. Define "Normal"
I just love this story about two girls, seemingly opposite in everyway, thrown together in a peer-counseling program at their high school.  An unlikely friendship, reluctantly forged, blooms between the two girls as they discover that they have more in common than they thought.  Antonia is a goody-goody that appears to have it all together (in truth her home life is a mess and she is barely holding herself together.  She is one step away from total collapse).  Jazz is a punk that appears to be a total mess, rumored to be a druggie, among other things (in truth she comes from a wealthy, happy family.  She is a very talented classical pianist--that is the music aspect of this book).
517383. Just Listen
Anabelle faces the school year without any friends and a less than ideal home environment. Her long time best friend, Sophie, dropped her. Her sister is struggling with anorexia. At lunch she is drawn to music obsessed Owen, a loner with anger management issues. The two form a friendship and help each other overcome their issues.  The characters in this book are simply fantastic.  Sarah Dessen has a gift for writing great supporting characters.  Her main characters are wonderful too, but she excels at the quirky sidekick role.  This book uses music as a healing medium.  It helps Owen deal with his anger and Anabelle deal with her life. 

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