The main characters are as obsessed with music as you are in these nine young adult books that range from funny to swoony, heartfelt to adventurous! Here's a look at what would be on their Spotify playlists. See any favorite artists?
Jasmine Zumideh Needs a Win by Susan Azim Boyer
November 1, 2022 - Wednesday Books
Jasmine’s dream is to become a music journalist and cover New York City’s exploding early 80s punk scene. David Bowie is her lifelong obsession — particularly his ability to reinvent himself. She's determined to be the first student reporter to interview Chrissie Hynde, the lead singer of the The Pretenders, when they tour the U.S.. Bowie’s “Win” becomes her anthem — even if she completely misinterprets the lyrics! — and her playlist would include music by Kate Bush, Siouxie Sioux, Elvis Costello, and The Clash.
The Turning Pointe by Vanessa L. Torres
February 22, 2022 - Knopf Books
Rosa is Prince-obsessed. His groovy Minneapolis sound, the way he moves, and his gender-bending fashion is magnetic, consuming her in a way that distracts her from troubles at home. And the new love in Rosa's life, Nikki, is all of the above and then some. Because he's more than a funky beat on the record player. He is right in front of her, and waiting to be kissed to the rhythm of Prince's D.M.S.R.
Goth Girl Queen of the Universe by Lindsay Smith Zrull
July 19, 2022 - Flux
Geeky cosplayer Oscar is obsessed with the sci-fi book series Prince of Moons. When he starts to fall for foster teen/goth queen Jess, he uses David Bowie's music to connect with her. Bowie once said that "Starman" was written to be a message of hope for the young people of the world. That's a message Oscar and Jess would definitely get on board with.
A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy
June 7, 2022 - Balzer & Bray
Emmett dreams of being country music's biggest, gayest superstar. Luke, meanwhile, hates country music because he thinks it ruined his family's life. With Emmett focused on his career, and Luke not out to his family, neither boy is looking for romance. But when they meet while working at Wanda World, the theme park owned by country music legend Wanda Jean Stubbs, they can't help but feel an attraction to each other...which makes Dolly Parton's "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That?" the perfect song for them.
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah
September 6, 2022 - Sourcefire Books
Koral adores listening to music. She attributes music as being a life saver, her sole companion as she burrows in her underground room, on days when her family is falling apart. Her favorite kind of music is something that will help her make sense of the tangled emotions in her mind, whether it is a ballad or just an instrumental with lots of strings. A close comparable song would be "Lovely" by Billie Eilish (with Khalid).
Unravel by Amelia Loken
February 15, 2022 - Sword and Silk
Deaf princess, Marguerite, learns to step into her identities - deaf, royal, and magical - as she attempts to save her kingdom from her tyrannical and abusive uncle. Though she doesn't have access to our music, she would love Taylor Swift and all the Girl-Power-themed music out there, but the song that captures her story best is, "I Dare You," by Bea Miller.
Once More With Chutzpah by Haley Neil
February 1, 2022 - Bloomsbury
Hopeful lyricist Tally Gelmont has dreamed of writing musical theater hits ever since she saw Waitress on Broadway . She’d love to make someone feel the way she does when she hears songs like “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles. Maybe this temple youth group trip will be just the kind of inspiration she needs. Except thoughts like that are selfish. This trip isn’t about her… it’s to help her twin brother who’s struggling in the wake of a car accident. (Still, she’ll bring her music journal along, just in case).
The Holloway Girls by Susan Crispell
June 7, 2022 - Sourcebooks Fire
Remy Holloway kisses a boy the first night of her kissing season and accidentally curses him instead of granting him good luck. Now she craves music that's as dark and broken as she feels. Her Spotify is a mix of Breaking Benjamin, Starset, Bring Me The Horizon, I Prevail, Papa Roach, AFI, The Used, The Amity Affliction. Until she receives an anonymous playlist with "Follow You" by Bring Me The Horizon, which makes her want to believe in love again — if she can break the curse.
The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
January 23, 2023 - Salaam Reads
Zahra is a fan of fierce female pop stars like Blackpink, Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, and Taylor Swift. These artists help her sort through her emotions while dealing with her feelings for two very different Bengali boys—the stoic but secretly sensitive Harun who her mom set her up with and dreamy, unsuitable Nayim, who works with her at a local tea shop. The book also nods to traditional Bangladeshi/South Asian music sometimes, particularly that which features in natoks and Bollywood, local cinema. Her Spotify playlist would include the Bridgerton instrumental version of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and the songs Paper Rings and The Very First Night by Taylor Swift.
List curated by: Susan Azim Boyer
Posted to the blog by: Ren Hutchings