Songs that Make me Feel Like A 2010s YA Protagonist


If you’re anything like me, your high school years were full of a steady stream of YA dystopian novels. I think Divergent was my favorite, but Shatter Me and Unwind were up there, too. I worship Neal Shusterman. All this to say, “shy girl with a book” was absolutely my aesthetic. This weekend, I thought it would be fun to gather up some songs that remind me of that era and that might just bring you back there, too. 

Clarity by Zedd

I mean, duh. This song has all kinds of forbidden love embedded into its very DNA. I used to listen to this both at the roller rink and through my headphones as I took the bus to school. Now, this is a classic that I go back to whenever I’m feeling nostalgic.

Villains by Mainland

This song didn’t come out until 2018, it captures the essence of a brooding YA protagonist perfectly. They’re all just searching for that girl to fix their damage and show them a better way, right? So is the protagonist of this song. 

The London Air Raids by Vian Izak and Michael Schawel

This is very on the nose for adventure love stories! I absolutely love the vocals and the dark story that this song tells. There’s also an EDM component to this song. You all are NOT ready for that beat drop. 

Space Talk by The Native Architects

The cityscape is burning like an ashtray….or it is, often, in those dystopian novels that we love so much. This song is sweet, simple and will make you feel just like that first Fourtris kiss in Divergent. I’m kidding. Nothing will ever make you feel like that. Ever. 

Sk8er Boy by Avril Lavigne

I’m sorry but we all know that this song belongs on this list. 

You Belong with Me by Taylor Swift

Like Sk8er boy I will neither be explaining nor defending this choice. 

Animal by Ke$ha

This song is on here for one reason only and that is its appearance in the ill-fated 2010 ABC Family MASTERPIECE The Nine Lives of Chloe King. Chloe & Brain forever. 

Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard

Because, duh. This song elicits feelings of beachside carnivals and late night talks on picnic blankets. 

Golden by Parade of Lights

This pick is for largely personal reasons! I got into Parade of Lights just as I was discovering music. To me, this song is forbidden clubs under glamorous lights. 

Heartlines by Broods

Broods, another lovely, glittery band. Heartlines is my pick because it talks of road trips and skipping town. Swoon. 

What songs do you associate with YA books? 


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