Strange the Cupcakes

In honor of finishing and LOVING Laini Taylor’s  Strange the Dreamer, I present to you: STRANGE THE CUPCAKES:

 

Guest Book Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

 

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Lesley (left) and Cassie (Right)

As you know, many of my best friends are helping out Team Midsummer with our LGBT History Month Celebration, and today’s Guest Book Review is by Lesley!  Lesley and Jess met at church a few years back, enjoyed many a trivia night together, and are now part of the fabulous five best friend group.  Lesley is now married to Cassie (another one of our Guest Reviewers!) and they are the most adorable of the adorable.

 

11595276When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship — one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self — even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

I grew up in a very small farming community in rural Michigan.  My parents were evangelical Christians and most of my friends and their families were, in some form, Christian too.  I was a “jock girl”, very tall, athletic, slightly arrogant and underneath it all, very gay.  Given this information, it would seem obvious to anyone reading the notes about The Miseducation of Cameron Post to see why I might have identified with Emily M. Danforth’s plucky main character.

However, Cam’s tomboy antics, Jesus-loving friends and family and pension for lady love aren’t the only things that make her relatable.  In fact, most of us can identify with Cam’s struggle for acceptance and identity regardless of our experiences or sexual orientation.  In The Miseducation of Cameron Post, we follow Cam on a journey from ages twelve to seventeen as she looks for her true self in her relationships, struggles and daily life.  She seeks acceptance from friends, lovers and the adults in her life the way any child would.  In the end Cameron finds the most satisfaction in accepting herself and in starting a life that reflects her beliefs and choices.

After a youthful crush and sugar-sweet first kiss, Cam experiences a devastating loss.  Forced to navigate her formative years with only her born-again aunt and elderly grandma to guide her, Cam gets into the usual trouble created by the boredom of teens in small town America.  Her trouble is often overlooked until her greatest secret is twisted from the truth and revealed as a dark path from which she must be saved.   Instead of finishing out high school, Cam is sent to a rehabilitation school for kids with similar “afflictions”.

This book is one that tells the story of each of us as we grow in a world that prefers the status quo.  While the subject matter is a bit dark, the depth of Danforth’s characters creates a light and lovely story.  It reminds us to celebrate our differences and that a diverse world is a beautiful one.

I absolutely recommend this book for anyone struggling with self-acceptance for any reason.

4 Bards, as I liked the book, but the ending left me hanging, which I didn’t really like.

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Book Review: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

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‘I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.’

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Wow. I quite literally could not put this down and I read it in one day. I spent the first half of the book just waiting for Shazi and Khalid to be reunited and when they finally were, I was not disappointed. Ahdieh does an amazing job of building up and continuing their relationship, while also adding some depth to Shazi’s other relationships, with her sister and Tariq.

I really enjoyed the extra magical aspect, especially Shazi coming in to her own powers and learning how they work. My favorite thing about Shahrzad is that she never lets other people and their actions decide her fate. She takes her life into her own hands and she will do anything to protect the people that she loves.

I do wish there was more, however. I think the book does wrap up nicely, but there were so many things and characters that were introduced and I wish we had gotten a better glimpse of them. Specifically, Artan and his aunt. Of all the new characters, Artan was my favorite and I just wish there was more of him and Shazi together, and him teaching her how to use and control her magic. I also wish there was more Despina in this book. One of the things I loved the most about The Wrath and the Dawn was her and Shazi’s friendship. I think it highlighted the importance of female friendship, and I wish that would have continued in this book. Because even though Shazi was reunited with her sister, it wasn’t the same dynamic as she felt like she had to keep secrets and sneak away rather than confiding in her.

Overall, I loved the nonstop, fast pace of everything that was going on. It made the book more intense and the surprisingly few scenes between Shazi and Khalid that much more powerful. I wish we had another book coming, but overall, 4.5 bards.

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Book Review: Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Tomorrow, March 25, 2016, marks the 105th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Disaster.  

This fire killed 145 workers, most of them immigrant women who worked around 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for only $15.00. 

When the women protested these working conditions, the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory hired police to imprison those who were striking.

The doors were locked to the stairwells, only one elevator was working, and there were no safety precautions taken (i.e. the installation of sprinkler systems, etc). 

It is important to remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Disaster as it caused the reform of worker’s rights and was directly connected to the Women’s Suffrage movement in New York.

The fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 young immigrant workers, is one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and the disaster, which brought attention to the labor movement in America, is part of the curriculum in classrooms throughout the country.

Told from alternating points of view, this historical novel draws upon the experiences of three very different young women: Bella, who has just emigrated from Italy and doesn’t speak a word of English; Yetta, a Russian immigrant and crusader for labor rights; and Jane, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. Bella and Yetta work together at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory under terrible conditions–their pay is docked for even the slightest mistake, the bosses turn the clocks back so closing time is delayed, and they are locked into the factory all day, only to be frisked before they leave at night to make sure they haven’t stolen any shirtwaists. When the situation worsens, Yetta leads the factory’s effort to strike, and she meets Jane on the picket line. Jane, who feels trapped by the limits of her own sheltered existence, joins a group of high-society women who have taken an interest in the strike as a way of supporting women’s suffrage. Through a series of twists and turns, the three girls become fast friends–and all of them are in the Triangle Shirtwast Factory on March 25, 1911, the day of the fateful fire.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to put a finger on why the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire has stuck with me ever since I learned about it back in high school history.  I’ve always had a big fear of fire, which could be part of it, but I’d like to say it’s because the lives lost there changed so many things in history.  But maybe it was because I could identify with the historical accounts of the lives lost; teenage women, the age I was when I first learned about the disaster, who had to work ruthless hours for little pay in a booming industrial age of America, women who were locked in a building to prevent any unapproved breaks and stealing.  While we learned about the Shirtwaist Strike as well, it was this disaster that really gave the strike arguments more power and recognition.  Some of those battles we still fight today (i.e. Gender and Race wage gaps).  Either way, suffice it to say that the Triangle fire is important.

Triangle-FireWhen I first learned there was a novelization of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, I was a bit skeptical.  How long could you conceivably make a novel that features a fire that burns so hot and quickly that it killed so many people in a short amount of time?  The fact that I have a big phobia of fire didn’t help my skepticism, because I was a little fearful of it causing some terrifying dreams.  I could not be more happy about reading this novel.

Haddix does a brilliant job at focusing on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory from the beginning of Uprising, as she focuses on the close working conditions, and within a few pages of the first narrator, Bella, recounting her first day at the Triangle factory, there is a number of workers that walk out exclaiming, “Strike!”  The narrative then goes into explicit detail of how these workers are exploited by being overworked, underpaid, and treated like third or fourth class citizens and how these women stood together and formed a large Garment workers Strike.

The two immigrant narrators, Yetta and Bella, are so well done as individual characters.  Bella’s voice is a bit weak and timid at the beginning, definitely befitting her character, but then grows continuously throughout the story into a character that is shown to really embrace her new life in America, no matter the hardships she has to endure.  Yetta is fierce, independent, and extremely stubborn.  Her narrative voice is so strong that it almost overshadows the other two characters for the majority of the novel, but I think that this was intentional and demonstrative on how fervent these women worked to establish a union and acceptable working conditions.  Both Bella and Yetta worked so hard for so little just so they could support themselves and their families, and it is inspiring to read about their determination.  The third narrator, Jane, I wasn’t expecting to like, because let’s face it, she seemed like a rich girl just looking to circumvent her father and get a little bit of attention, but she became much, much more than that.  Haddix does such an eloquent job at making these characters so realistic that I felt like I lost three friends when the story ended.

A large majority of the narrative focuses on the strike, implications of the strike, how strikes are formed, who funds the trianglefiredamagestrikes, the mistreatment of those on strike, and how a union can be formed.  That sounds utterly boring, right?  Wrong.  These parts of the story are so interwoven into the personal parts of the narrative that you don’t even realize that you are learning.  You learn that the socialist movement really helped a gain a lot of support for this strike, you see the positive and negative aspects of immigrants coming to America at the turn of the century, you find that there were those who survived New York winters without shoes, much less jackets.  You are put in the middle of the fire.

The story does build to its inevitable end, the fire on March 25, 1911.  I think that Haddix’s writing in the fire scenes is particularly eloquent for scenes where there is so much at stake.  I cried my eyes out.

5 Bards for Bella and Yetta and Jane and all those who lost their lives in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

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For more information about the strike, fire, resulting trial, victims, etc please visit this link.

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I can honestly tell you that I’ve not been a fan of Stiefvater’s previous work.  I found the Shiver trilogy unenjoyable and The Scorpio Races a bit boring. Don’t get me wrong, these are just my personal opinions of those novels and it’s very possible they were just not my cup of tea.  I encourage everyone to form their own opinions of them and read those novels.  However, I would rather you skip all of those and go directly to The Raven Boys.

I finally see what magic some readers have been seeing in Stiefvater all this time, because this novel was addicting, astonishing, amazing, and a host of other positive adjectives that don’t start with “a.”

by tumblr user: sturmhond

Not only has Stiefvater created a world that I didn’t want to leave (I immediately read The Dream Thieves and am currently reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue), but she has also given readers a group of characters that are so different but yet still have aspects of someone you know within them.  Blue isn’t necessarily exactly like everyone, but some aspects of her personality or her behaviors are familiar.  Everyone knows someone who seems to have two sides, one that they show to the world and the other they reserve for their friends, just like Gansey.  There’s the person who has to work hard for everything they have, like Adam.  And Ronan, well, he is damaged and aren’t we all a little damaged? I can’t say much for Noah, other than we do all know someone who is dead.  We aren’t necessarily literally haunted by them as Noah has corporeal form, but we are haunted by memories.

The plot is wholly original with the nice Arthurian spin to it, and I just can’t praise it enough.  I loved the use of magical realism, and I adore Blue’s family and all of the secondary characters.  Even just reading this, I’ve learned more information about the tarot than I already knew and hope that the rest of the novels continue to teach me.

I found the POV shifts to be a bit rough toward the beginning of the novel, especially since they were each in third person limited.  However, once the novel established the characters a bit more fully, then the shifts seemed more organic and it became more flowing as if these characters almost share a stream of consciousness, even though they do not.

Overall, I’m giving this first installment 4.5 Bards and keep an eye out for my reviews of The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

I’m seriously kicking myself for waiting to pick these up.

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Book Review: Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process.

I’m torn on this novel.  There are a lot of things that I liked but there were also a lot of things that I didn’t care for.

I’ll start with the positive.

Flynn has done an amazing job at establishing a character with a sharp and unique voice, while still making sure that she comes off as vulnerable in regards to her past and family life.  I really appreciate what Flynn is trying to do with this novel.  She has created a character that is (somewhat) open about her sexual life and her urges, someone that seemingly has complete control over her emotions, and also manages to come off as wise beyond her years.

I also really enjoyed the dichotomy between Mercy and her best friend, Angela.  With Mercy, and also Faye, representing those sexually active teens that haven’t made a promise to themselves or to religion to wait for marriage.  Angela, on the other hand, represents all of those things.  I loved that Flynn showed how even those who choose to wait still have sex pushed on them in the media, through their significant others, and even through their friends.  It was a very brave move to include things like this and to show each of their journeys.

The issue that I have with the novel comes from being cheated on in a relationship before.  I find it so hard to understand how a character could justify sleeping with other people’s boyfriends even if they say they are really just trying to make it better for their girlfriends.  It’s just not something that I find sympathetic.

I do understand that Mercy had some awful things happen in her past that led to this behavior, but it’s still hard to sympathize with her.  Sure, everything comes crashing down around her and it’s kind of like “just desserts,” but no one deserves what happened to Mercy in the end. However, I do wish there was some kind of explanation for how Faye accomplished what she did at the end, as the novel wrapped up pretty quickly, but I like that Mercy came full circle as a character.

Overall, I found it an enjoying read even with my reservations about some of the character’s actions.

3.5 Bards

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Book Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
 
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I think that depression and suicide is something that has affected everyone, if not directly then peripherally.  I’ve had ex-boyfriends and friends that suffered from depression and suicidal ideations, and most everyone knows someone who has been affected in one way or another.

I Was Here opens the reader to a lot of emotions that come along with dealing with suicide.  Forman depicts survivor’s guilt, the standard emotions that come along with loss, and showcases an aspect of the mental health community that everyone needs to be aware of.

Cody didn’t handle Meg leaving and changing her life as well as she could have, yes, but growing pains happen in friendships.  However, much of the novel is about Cody and how she discovers Meg’s secret life with depression (I am an advocate of being 100% honest and upfront with your friends about any struggle you might be having with mental illness) and her descent into the pro-suicide internet groups.  Cody struggles with discovering who she is without her best friend, but ends up finding a lot of new ones along the way and ends up exposing her town and the police to the website that encouraged Meg’s iwasherequotesuicidal ideations.

I suppose for me it wasn’t a surprise to hear about the online community for those that have suicidal ideations, because as someone who suffered from an eating disorder for almost 15 years, I am well versed in pro-ana and pro-mia sites that serve as motivation for those suffering.  What was very interesting to me was that Forman drew this story from real life inspiration, and that she was so moved by one young woman’s story that she expanded upon it and created a novel that can help educate as well as it can entertain readers.

This isn’t an easy story to read.  It is hard to read about someone who ended their own life, and I understand that this can be triggering to some readers.  But this is an excellent story and a good platform for readers to learn.

If you or anyone you know suffers from depression or suicidal ideation, please reach out and find help.

4.5 Bards for I Was Here

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry

 

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lovethatsplittheworldNatalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.
 
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start…until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
 
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. 

Release Date: January 26, 2016

I’m going to guess that you may have reacted the same way I did when you read the title of this book.  I remember thinking, “Wow, that is a bit dramatic.”  But now that I’ve finished the novel, I can tell you that my personal reaction to the ending was something like this:

So now I firmly believe that the title was really just a metaphor for what the story did to my heart.  Henry should just rename it The Love that Split Jessica’s Heart.

This book has the absolute wonderful ability to showcase some of the lesser known Native American myths, mixed with common anglo-saxon religious stories, some time travel theories, and alternate realities.  Whew, that sounds like a lot doesn’t it?  Well, it seems like it would be, but it all comes together extremely well.

Henry did such a great job with the characterization in The Love that Split the World, and I have to say that most teens and young adults I know can definitely understand and identify with Natalie’s main problem: trying to find who they are and where they fit into the world.  Seriously, I’m in my twenties and I completely identify with those questions.  Granted, Natalie has some pretty specific reasons behind her need to find herself and her place, but they can be universally applied and it really causes you to be emotionally invested almost immediately.

Quickly the reader will realize that Natalie isn’t exactly a run of the mill teenager.  She has been visited off and on her entire life during her sleep by a mysterious entity she calls “Grandmother,” and on her last visit Natalie is warned that she has three months to save HIM.  Naturally we all assume that the him is the guy mentioned in the synopsis, but there are actually three other male characters not mentioned in the synopsis that this possibly applies to!

Beau is the typical bad boy with a good heart, but that doesn’t make him any less complex or interesting in this context.  He comes in and out of Natalie’s life in flashes and their time together is precious and full of ALL the romantic and sexual tension (Kudos, Henry).

I’m not going to give away any other spoilers but there’s definitely a River Song and Doctor vibe going here with Natalie and Beau’s relationship.  If you are a Whovian then the correlation should be pretty obvious and make you want to read this even more.  If you aren’t a Whovian, then read this book and go watch Doctor Who! It’s on Netflix for crying out loud!

4.5 Bards for The Love that Split the World! Don’t forget to enter to win a copy below!

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Book Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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In accordance with Penguin Teen’s Gayle Forman celebration for the paperback release of I Was Here, I finally read the sequel to If I Stay, Where She Went.  Be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the review, because 5 winners will win a complete set of Gayle Forman paperbacks!

 

It’s been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard’s rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia’s home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future – and each other.

Told from Adam’s point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that this book didn’t bring the feels.  Now, it’s a whole different type of feels than those in If I Stay.  Where If I Stay was full of life and death and first love, Where She Went is full of despair in the midst of success, struggle to move forward, and the hope that something better is ahead.

The novel is told from Adam’s perspective this time, and so the reader gets a lot more information about how the accident and the loss of Mia’s family affected him as well.  He suffers from crippling panic attacks and is increasingly unhappy with the direction his life has taken since Mia ghosted him.  Seriously though, I love Mia as a character, but come on, you ghosted him?  The guy that was there for you through the accident and the aftermath? Turns out she has a decent reason, but I still question that choice.

Fate seems to have a hand in their lives because not only are they in the same city, but are finally both in the same emotional place at the same time.  There are a lot of really heartrending moments in this book concerning Adam’s need to accept and let go of Mia.  She tries her hardest to show Adam all the little formanquoteplaces that make her happy she moved away to New York and never returned to her hometown.  Readers see through Adam’s eyes how Mia has healed and how she has rebuilt her life without her family.  It’s beautiful to see the growth in her, but Forman manages to leave just a bit of mystery in the process so there are enough places for readers to fill in their own details.

The novel is full of Forman-isms (that’s right, I called it that), and they can be applied to everyone in one way or another.  If you haven’t read If I Stay or seen the movie, I recommend picking up the first installment now so you can have the pleasure of reading Where She Went.

4 Bards

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Enter to win a complete paperback set of Forman’s novels, here!

 

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Bowie & Books

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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
Fame”

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
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the stranger)
Ch-ch-Changes
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.

 

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