I am beyond thrilled to be participating in the 2nd Annual Authors Are Rock Stars event hosted by Fiktshun, Two Chicks on Books, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! As part of the tour, I have been paired up with a young adult author who just so happens to be a bookish rock star! Sarah Guillory, author of the upcoming novel Reclaimed, has put together such a FUN post for us today. She’s selected songs that fit into her book AND she explains just why she picked them. But before we get to the musically awesome portion of this post, first let’s learn a little more about Sarah and see just why I think she is a rockstar!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Guillory has always loved words and had a passion for literature. When she’s not reading or writing, Sarah runs marathons, which she credits with keeping her at least partially sane. Sarah teaches high school English and lives in Louisiana with her husband and their bloodhound, Gus. Reclaimed is her debut novel.
WHY I THINK SARAH GUILLORY IS A ROCKSTAR:
So why do I think Sarah Guillory is a rockstar? Let me just count the ways! First is because her book cover is gorgeous. Superficial of me yes, but still, I can’t deny it. Second is because her book blew my freaking mind. BLEW MY MIND PEOPLE. It was so intense that I had to put it down about 75% of the way through because I was scared to find out what was going to happen next. Not scared in a I’m-hiding-beneath-the-covers way but more in the holy-crap-I-think-I-know-what-is-about-to-go-down-and-I’m-scared-to-be-right way. When I finally worked up the courage to read the remaining amount of the book, it shocked me because what I thought what was going to happen didn’t and what I couldn’t possibly imagine happening did. Sarah threw one curveball after another. She basically pulled the rug out from under me making it so I really didn’t know which way was up. Moving on to another reason why Sarah rocks my socks off: her writing style is different and unique and just refreshing. Oh and she writes from alternating points of view…successfully and totally non-confusing! I am a sucker for alternating points of view. And can I just say that there was lots of swooning on my part while reading her book? Yes the book as a whole was sort of mysterious and very much heart-not necessarily breaking but definitely heart-hurting, she still knows how to write a beautifully broken and totally swoon-worthy male character. And don’t even get me started on this book playlist. Seriously, it’s awesome. So there you have it, in a very long and sort of rambly nutshell, just why I think Sarah Guillory is a rockstar!
And now that my fan-girling is on pause for the moment, let’s move on to this sort of mash-up of a guest post and a book playlist. Sarah did an awesome job selecting the music and now that I’ve read the book AND have read her reasoning for picking each song, I can so see it! So please take a look at Sarah’s post, give her a warm welcome, and by all means, let us know what you think of the book playlist in the comments section!
Welcome Home – Radical Face
I listened to this album on repeat while working on RECLAIMED, so just hearing this song pulls me into Solitude. I see the pine trees, the lake, Solitude Point, and the abandoned train yard. Though Solitude is a town I made up, I have lived in several small towns. I grew up in Arkansas, where the novel is set, so writing the scenery was a homecoming for me.
The line “the backs of my eyes hum with things I’ve never done” makes me think of Jenna. Solitude is her home. She has lived in the small town her entire life, just like her mother and grandmother. But Jenna wants to see different places and be different people. She knows she will never be able to do all the things she wants if she stays in Solitude, and she is reminded daily of the things she’s never done.
“Peel the scars from off my back/I don’t need them anymore” also fits with Jenna because she feels like if she can just escape Solitude, she can escape those things which scarred her as well.
Picking Up Pieces – Blue October
Sometimes I feel like weeping
Awake and when I’m sleeping
Perfecting how to put a game face on
This puzzle I’ve been keeping
Has been in hiding creeping out the closet door
Spilling out onto the floor
How long will I be picking up pieces
How long will I be picking up my heart
I chose this song because all three characters hide things from the outside world, and all three feel like they are picking up the pieces left scattered by those secrets. Jenna has to deal with her mother’s drinking while trying to keep it a secret from everyone, especially her grandmother. Every time her mother gets drunk, Jenna is the one who has to put her back together again. Ian is always putting on his game face. He’s the peacekeeper, and he feels like he has to put his family back together after the divorce. Because he is the responsible one, it’s his job to try and repair the cracks in his family. Luke is keeping a secret from his brother, one that has consequences that he is still dealing with. But the secret he’s been hiding will eventually creep out, and all three characters will have to try and salvage the pieces.
This is How I Disappear – My Chemical Romance
This is mainly Luke’s song. He feels like being in Ian’s shadow causes him to disappear. Ian is the good student and athlete, while Luke is the one always getting in trouble. But Luke feels like Jenna sees through all that, sees who is really is. She makes him feel like he doesn’t have to disappear.
Better than Today – Wes Kirkpatrick
no need to lie – cause I find the truth on your face and your ways
Just realize, I don’t care if you like what I say
when I leave, you’re still here
the same old place year after year
I want to see the smiles on different faces, I want to see the stars from other places, it will do no good to stay, you’ll never be better than today
Jenna is dealing with her mother’s alcoholism and lies. She wants to help her mother, but she always wants to leave Solitude. She is sick of being in the same place. The chorus is exactly Jenna – she wants to go places and experience new things. She is angry that her mother may jeopardize that by being selfish and having to be taken care of.
Falling Away with You – Muse
So I’ll love whatever you become
and forget the reckless things we’ve done
I think our lives have just begun
I think our lives have just begun
The relationships in this story are complicated in that each is dealing with a lot at home and each finds something in the other that helps them cope. Add in the fact that Ian and Luke both need each other and have conflict with each other. I wanted to write a story about three teens who come together as their lives are falling apart. I think I’ve done that.
All of the love we’ve left behind
watching the flash backs intertwine
memories I will never find
memories I will never find
All of the characters have left things behind in the past, things they don’t really want to remember, and things they wish they could get back.
What if We Could – Blue October
What if we could
Put our lives on
Hold and meet some
Where inside of the world
I would meet you
Would you meet me?
This story is about the solid places we find when our lives are crumbing. Each of these characters needs something from the relationship, be it Jenna and Ian, Jenna and Luke, or Ian and Luke. While their worlds fall apart, they find something in each other that helps them get through it, or deal with it, or ignore it just for a little while.
I’m glad to say that we’ve met
But I’m sad to say that the circumstances weren’t
On our side
And the circumstances aren’t on their side. Ian has lost three solid months. Luke doesn’t seem to be able to do anything right. And Jenna has to be the responsible adult when dealing with her mother. Add in that Jenna is falling for both boys, and the circumstances aren’t ideal at all. But none of them are willing to give those relationships up.
Fix You – Coldplay
When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
I love writing broken, flawed characters. In some way, each of these characters tries and fails at something. Each needs something that may not happen. Jenna says at one point in the story that while she tries to do great things, she sometimes feels like she’s stuck, wading around in mediocrity, thinking she’s found her way out only to circle back to where she started. Ian is used to being successful (honor student and star athlete), but he can’t recover his memories as quickly as he wants to. And Luke feels he is always going backwards, stuck in a pattern of self-destruction.
And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?
They all lose things that can’t be replaced. Jenna watches her mother destroy herself with alcohol. Ian and Luke, who were once inseparable, now have what feels like an irreparable rift between them.
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Home is an important idea in this novel, and in the end, while these characters find things they need in their relationships with each other, they cannot fix each other. In the end, we can only fix ourselves.
Ghosts That We Knew – Mumford and Sons
You saw my pain washed out in the rain
Broken glass, saw the blood run from my veins
But you saw no fault, no cracks in my heart
And you knelt beside my hope torn apart
For Jenna, being with Ian is like having a blank slate. He hasn’t known her all her life, doesn’t remember every stupid thing she ever did, so she feels like she has a new start. For Ian, Jenna gives him hope that he will be normal again. When his memories fail, he can make new ones with Jenna.
Jenna sees through the dark version of himself that Luke throws at everyone. She knows Luke is broken, but she sees deeper than that, and she likes that they can be a little broken together.
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light
‘Cause oh that gave me such a fright
But I will hold as long as you like
Just promise me we’ll be alright
In the end, they help each other believe that things will be okay. Spending time with one another shows them there is hope and redemption, that the past might possibly be escaped, and that a life can be reclaimed.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two.
All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother. She’s determined she’ll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn’t tainted by her family’s past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets.
Ian McAlister doesn’t want to start over; he wants to remember.
Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle.
The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget.
Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian’s memory return.
Jenna, Ian, & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you.
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