There are two things that I truly love in this world: Music and YA novels. They don’t lie, break my heart or unfollow me on Instagram. Seriously- if I’m having a bad day, nothing cheers me up like my favorite song. And is there anything better than a slow-burn YA ship? I used to think that macarons were, but now that I’m allergic, slow-burn ships have taken the top spot. Today, I’ve paired some of my favorite YA novels with some of my favorite bands! I hope that you’ll find something you love as much as I do on this list!
Dreamers & The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O’Brien
Listen, guys. I’ve read a LOT of YA SciFi in my time. A few of these books have stuck with me throughout the years, but none like The Vault of Dreamers. The book follows Rosie, a film prodigy accepted into the Forge School for the Arts. This is no ordinary school: everything the students do is recorded and streamed as a reality show. Not only is the competition cutthroat, but there are far more sinister things going on behind the scenes of this prestigious school.
I’ve paired this book with the band DREAMERS for obvious reasons. DREAMERS are an alt-rock band that have a whole discography of addicting songs, some of which feel downright dystopian in the best way. I’ve linked their song “Insomniac” above for you to try out!
Chvrches & Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
There are so many reasons that Chvrches is the perfect pairing for Shatter Me. Their music is lyrical and glittery, just like Juliette’s narration. Their song “Miracle,” along with the chaotic music video, remind me a lot of the dystopian world in which Shatter Me takes place. Additionally, the lyrics “if you feel it, could you let me know?” are a perfect paralell to Juliette and WArner’s relationship. If you’re looking for YA/NA slow burn that has a lot of angst and some very steamy scenes, you need to read this series.
Glades & True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan
Glades is one of my favorite bands for when I need to take a break from pop-punk. Their sound is literally magical, and they manage to capture incredibly strong feelings in very few lyrics. Their music was relatable to me back when I was in college, and it’s still relatable to me now. The reason that I paired them with True Letters from a Fictional Life is because of the way that both mediums look at love. Kenneth Logan’s book is about a gay teen struggling with coming out to his friends and family. When he the decision is made for him, his life is thrown into turmoil…but he might just find love along the way. Though I chose “Nervous Energy” as the song above, because it reminds me of the romance in the book, their song “Her” also connects, as it’s about the inevitability of feelings, and how that can be good and bad.
Krewella and Internment by Samira Ahmed
I’ve been a huge Krewella fan since thier first EP, Play Hard. Their sound is perfect for dancing and working out, especially if you’ve got some anger to work out! The dark beats in their music, especially “Somewhere to Run,” and its “let’s freaking do this!” opening beat drop pair perfectly with Internment. This book is such an important story about prejudice and fear. When 17-year-old Layla is forced into an internment camp for Muslim-American citizens, every day becomes a fight to survive. A must-read that’s stayed with me long after I turned the final page.
Arrested Youth and Unwind by Neal Shusterman
I have never heard a more “Connor Lassiter” band in my life. Seriously. Arrested Youth has an addicting, raw, angsty sound, and that fits the protagonist of Unwind perfectly. If you haven’t read this book yet, you are absolutely missing out. It takes place in a super creepy future in which if you don’t like your kid, you can have them sent off and “unwound” for spare body parts, which is just as freaky and repulsive as it sounds. However, it’s also one of my favorite books of all time. Shusterman writes with a real, raw voice that mirrors the boldly honest lyrics of songs like “What You’re Made Of” by Arrested Youth.
Hotel Apache and Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Hotel Apache is one of those bands that don’t seem to have a single bad song! I’m super obsessed with their sound, from “Hotels” to “Cigarettes.” They have a wiftful note to their music that I think mirrors Everything, Everything perfectly. Maddy lives her life behind glass, and longs to experience the world. The reason that “plsrspnd” fits so well with this book is because of the pure longing in the music and lyrics. Give the band a listen, and the book a read!
Do you see any of your favorites on this list? Let us know in the comments.