I think I was a little ambitious when I went with this list; there are too many to choose from! I’ll revisit the topic at a later date for part two. For the moment, here is a small selection of books that use music in some way.
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Piper is a strong and fearless character with a voice that jumps out of the page at you. She also just happens to be deaf. It was one of those wonderful moments where I realised the author had pulled the wool over my reading eyes and I had no idea until Piper told me outright (page 5) that she’s deaf. In those two little words, ‘I’m deaf’, the author had me questioning the way I read characters – why is the assumption that they can always hear? or see?
If I Stay Series by Gayle Forman
A little different from the rest of our selection, If I Stay focus is that of classical music and the bond Mia feels with music and her instrument, all the while she is becoming more and more drawn to rocker, Adam. Music plays an important role dipping and weaving between the characters as they find, lose and then find each other again.
Audrey Wait by Robin Benway
When Audrey breaks up with her musician boyfriend, he ends up writing a song about her that becomes an instant hit. Suddenly Audrey is notorious and everyone has an opinion about her. But do they want to know the real story behind the song?
Chasing Charlie Duskin by Cath Crowley
Interspersed throughout the book with song lyrics, Chasing Charlie Duskin follows Charlie – a shy and lonely character who begins to live with the help of music and friendship – and Rose – who appears to live life to the full, but is desperate to escape her small town. Crowley’s writing often comes at you with such raw intensity and so poetically, it feels like a song lyrics.
Love Struck Summer by Melissa Walker
Quinn is an indie rock music junkie on summer vacation – no where near the music internship she would have died to have gotten. Making the best of a music-less situation, she sets her sites on local DJ Sebastian, but then there’s Russ who has no idea about music, but is an all around nice Austin guy…and what’s a music indie rock chick to do? Love Struck is a romantic comedy with a musical twist.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Two starry-eyed teenagers, on the cusp of adulthood, embark on a musical journey to find the fabled rock band Where’s Fluffy. On the way there is angst, New York City, love, friendship, more angst and lots of playlists.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
For Charlie, our protagonist, music moves him. It invites him to feel deeply about things around him. He spends his time paying it forward by making mix tapes for his friends. At one stage, he reminisces about when he was younger and stole the mixed types his sister’s boyfriend would give her. While music isn’t the main focus of Perks, it does show how Charlie is able to connect with his friends via his gifts of mixed tapes.
Asleep by the Smiths
Vapour Trail by Ride
Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel
A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum
Dear Prudence by the Beatles
Gypsy by Suzanne Vega
Nights in White Satin by the Moody Blues
Daydream by Smashing Pumpkins
Dusk by Genesis (before Phil Collins was even in the band!)
MLK by U2
Blackbird by the Beatles
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Asleep by the Smiths (again!)