Bowie & Books



We here at A Midsummer Night’s Read wanted to do something to honor the memory of the talented and wonderful David Bowie, so we decided to gather a few of his great songs and apply them to a few good young adult books!

David Bowie was an avid reader and supported efforts to encourage children to read.  So how better to honor him than with words: his and a few good authors.

The first song that really stuck out, “Heroes,” is from the album of the same name released in 1977.

“And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, for ever and ever
Then we could be Heroes, just for one day”

The book that I paired with this song is
These Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. It tells the story of a figurative princess with all the riches in the world and a former war hero that are having to save themselves and their future.  Plus, they fall in love and really do become heroes for each other and their world.


The second song I chose has a great message and an unforgettable beat, “Golden Years.”

“Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel
Come get up my baby
Run for the shadows, run for the shadows
Run for the shadows in these golden years”

The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord really reminds me of this song.  The friendship between Paige and her best
friends as well as her blossoming relationship with Max really define what was the “Golden Years” of her life.  They will not let her miss out on those years, and really, don’t we all need people to help us through that?


The third song I chose is one of his lesser known songs from Space Oddity, called “Letter to Hermoine.”

“They say your life is going very well
They say you sparkle like a different girl
But something tells me that you hide
When all the world is warm and tired
You cry a little in the dark
Well so do I”

I imagined this song from the point of view of the male characters in Sarah Dessen’s The Moon and More, as they would think upon Emaline and her future without them.  This novel really was about Emaline’s journey and her story, but the guys play a big part in her development as a character, so I found this song about longing and missing her to be fitting.


The fourth song I chose, I chose mostly in honor of Prince Magnus from the Falling Kingdoms series, and it is fittingly titled “It Ain’t Easy,” and it is from the seminal 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.

“When you climb to the top of the mountain
Look out over the sea
Think about the places perhaps, where a young man could be
Then you jump back down to the rooftops
Look out over the town
Think about all of the strange things circulating ’round”

Like I mentioned, I hear this song and I think of Magnus and his struggle to find his place and his future within the battle for Mytica, and of course, I think of his blossoming feelings for Princess Cleo and what that could bring to the table.


Fifth is one of Bowie’s songs that was co-written with the late Beatle, John Lennon.  “Fame” fits a number of novels that I could think of, but this one in particular.

“Fame, makes a man take things over
Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
Fame, puts you there where things are hollow

Of course I immediately thought of Emery Lord’s country pop star novel, Open Road Summer, when I listened to this song today after hearing of Bowie’s passing.  For me this song is for Lilah, because she loses so much in her fame throughout the novel, including someone she loves.  So it is a good fit.



This is probably one of Bowie’s more romantic songs, in my opinion, and “Soul Love” is another amazing track from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.


“New love – a boy and girl are talking
New words – that only they can share in
New words – a love so strong it tears their hearts
To sleep – through the fleeting hours of morning”

I had to choose Emily Henry’s debut novel, The Love that Split the World, when listening to this song again.  It really just made my heart feel all of the emotions that I felt when reading Natalie and Beau’s love story.  My review of this book will be up on January 29, so sit tight and listen to “Soul Love” while you wait.



The last song I picked for this post is one of Bowie’s most popular, the catchy “Changes” from his album Hunky Dory.

“Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it
(Turn and face the stranger)
Where’s your shame
You’ve left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can’t trace time”

I had to chose Adam Silvera’s More Happy than Not for this song, because there are a lot of things going on in Aaron’s life and he is going through a lot of change.  He is going through change with the death of his father, his sexuality, and understanding what it really is that makes him happy.


Thank you, David Bowie, for being a constant innovator and a true role model for individuals everywhere.  Thank you for showing that reinvention of self and art is beautiful. Thank you for the music.


Book Review: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

openroadsummerAfter breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.

Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.


Taylor and Abigail

It was absolutely impossible for me to not draw some kind of comparison between Dee (Lilah) and Reagan’s friendship and what the media knows about Taylor Swift and Abigail’s relationship.  I mean, both Reagan and Abigail are mentioned in their respective best friend’s tunes, and they attend award ceremonies as their best friend’s dates.  So yeah, I imagined them as Taylor and Abigail at first.

However, Reagan, as a character, defines herself fairly early on.  She is an individual who is completely rough around the edges, which is partly from her life experience but also from walls she has constructed for herself.  Dee, on the other hand, I would describe as kind of a circle with a few dings taken out.  Dee is strong in another sense, but is definitely more well rounded and adjusted than Reagan seems at the beginning of the novel.

I’ve seen a number of reviews of this novel that mention the negative attitude that Reagan takes toward other female characters (other than Dee), and I’d like to comment on that.  Reagan reveals that her mother left her as a child.  Not only does this realistically provide an intrinsic distrust of other females, but it does explain the origin of her trust issues as well.  It would be natural for a person in her shoes to dislike a lot of females and I think that Lord portrayed this realistically.  I do understand that in today’s world it is absolutely necessary for women to uplift other women, but since this is a novel set in reality, we have to think realistically.  Not all teenagers are in that frame of mind yet and Lord depicts it.

Lord is practically my narrative godmother at this point, because both Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You are so well paced and structured that they kept me on the edge of my seat wanting more, while also having satisfying endings.

The romance aspect of Open Road Summer is much more pronounced than in The Start of Me and You, and I think that it works both ways for Lord as a writer.  I absolutely adored the slow smolder of obvious attraction between Reagan and Matt in Open Road Summer, but I also loved the sudden realization of love between Paige and Max in The Start of Me and You.  Since I mentioned Matt I think it is only fitting to say that if you do not swoon over this wounded character at least once or twice throughout the story then I think something is wrong!

Lord also did a phenomenal job with writing song lyrics to accompany the story, and each one I could almost sing along with in my mind.  Can someone sell these to a singer so we can have some of these on our iPods?

Going home to my guitar now. 4.5 Bards






Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound


Book Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

the start of me and youIt’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Wow.  Brilliant.  Wonderfully real.  Emotional.  I firmly believe that Emery Lord struck gold with this novel.  I cannot even think about this story without it bringing tears to my eyes.

This novel is first and foremost about grief.  Lord does a phenomenal job at showcasing the struggle that people go through when trying to move past such a defining moment in life, and how detrimental it is to handle it with the utmost care.  Paige’s grief has manifested itself in an intense fear of water and drowning, nightmares, and isolation.  She has isolated herself from a social life in high school and has alienated herself from herself.  That sounds a bit confusing, but she has started to also define herself as the girl with a dead boyfriend, rather than moving past it.  That is what is so brilliant about Lord’s portrayal of Paige.  Paige wants more than anything to get out of that rut and begin to define herself again.  It provides an excellent narrative arc that also allows the reader to struggle along with Paige.

Paige has an amazing support system throughout The Start of Me and You.  Her three best friends, Tessa, Kayleigh, and Morgan are the absolute best example of how friends can really help you through the toughest times.  No lie, it really made me miss my two best friends from high school, because we are scattered through the east coast now!  All of the girls were also well written as individuals that function as a part of a whole unit.  I loved that these characters could stand on their own with their differences, but they worked better as a friend group.  Paige isn’t the only one who has problems, but they continually step up to help one another through anything.

As for the two main male characters, Max and Ryan, I think that Lord concocted a very interesting juxtaposition between them, especially since they are best friends.  Ryan is described as being bright blonde and blue eyed, while Max has darker hair, green eyes, and glasses.  Ryan is the hot guy jock and Max is the adorable, gangly nerd. The novel immediately sets up Ryan as the main love interest for Paige, but Lord does a good job of displaying how Paige and Ryan would not fit, regardless of how stubborn Paige is in her crush.  While Max sneaks up on Paige and her heart, it was clear to me from the beginning that she would end up with him, but that did not deter me at all.  As Max says in the story,

Max's Post Secret (Made by Me)

Max’s Post Secret (Made by Me)

“Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And the getting there is the best part.”

Lord really outdid herself with the relationship between Paige and her Grandmother.  Not only was Grammy struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but she suffers from two strokes as well.  Paige is extremely close to Grammy and considers her the only person she can share secrets with.  They have such excellent conversations, and the dialogue in these scenes is on point.  Lord made me cry a number of times during the scenes with Grammy, as it really reminded me of my relationship with my Mawmaw, who passed on a few years ago.

This novel really hit home with me, and I hope everyone will pick up a copy and read it.

5 Bards.


Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten 2014 Releases I meant to read but didn’t get to

1. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

2. Panic by Lauren Oliver

3. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raash

5. Talon by Julie Kagawa

6. Hexed by Michelle Krys

7. #scandal by Sarah Ockler

8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

9. Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

10. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

What are some books that you missed out on in 2014?  It was a busy year! Glad I was able to read thebooks I did!

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted for us book blogger types by the Broke and the Bookish. They provide a topic, and all of us participants post our answers on our blogs and we hop around checking out one another’s answers! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books on my Spring 2014 TBR List

Click on the titles to read the synopsis, and then add them to your TBR!

1. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

2. On the Fence by Kasie West

3. The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

4. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

5. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

6. A Girl Called Fearless by Catherine Linka

7. Nil by Lynne Matson

8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

9. Tease by Amanda Maciel

10. End Times by Anna Schumacher


What are some of your books on your TBR list?  I’d love to have more to add to mine!


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