Friday, September 20, 2013
Review: The Disenchantments
Author: Nina LaCour
Published: April 18, 2013
Paperback, 307 pages
4 Gold Stars
(summary from Goodreads)
Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.
But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book. In fact, I must not have read the back cover very well because I didn't even realize the narrator was a male until I read the first page. I knew there'd be music, some drama, and hopefully some laughs, and I was mostly right, though none of it was the way I expected it to be, which turned out to be perfect.
Colby and Bev's relationship is one of a kind. She's this gorgeous girl who fronts a girl band. She makes out with random people and she likes to live life as freely as possible. Colby likes routine, like schedules and plans. So when Bev tells him that she's going to college in the fall instead of taking off to Europe with him like they'd planned, Colby doesn't know how to process this information. He's furious, for good reason, and she's told him while they're on the road with her band, The Disenchantments, on the final tour before everyone's life changes. Watching all this unfold through Colby's eyes gives this story that different edge that it needed. If this were narrated by Bev, I don't think it would have struck readers as much.
What I loved most was that this played out like a John Green novel. He's one of my favourite authors and his characters have a way of sticking with you long after the last page. They are funny and multi-dimensional and his plots are unlike anything out there. LaCour has the same spirit as Green. Her characters jump off the page and not just because they all have such different looks. They are each so strong in their own ways and the minor characters we meet throughout the story hit you as hard as the mains. This is a road trip book, which Green does so well, that never bores. Each night the band plays a different venue, each more random than the last. The band is not very good which made me laugh since the band is everything to them. I love that they kind of suck, it's much more realistic that way. Garage bands are just about the music, and boy did these girls love the music.
The small things that happened are what made me love this book. Meg's tattoo, the lost amp, the graffiti, Colby's art and Bev's carvings. This book was full from beginning to end. Each new town brought new characters, new challenges, and moments where I wasn't sure if Colby and Bev would make it through the trip together. Colby's voice put me right in the van with these girls, the pain he felt every time he looked at Bev and knew he couldn't have her. The longing in his voice whenever he spoke to his parents. The need to leave his mark on the world, and the familiar feeling of not knowing what you'll be doing with your life when everyone around has it all planned out. This book hit that area after high school and before the rest of your life right on the head. We all feel lost when we graduate from what we know. Some people go off to school, others take a year off, and then there are those that just want to see the world and escape real life fir awhile. Plans change, people change, and all you can do is try to keep going, try to make new plans and love the people anyway. This book captured every feeling I felt when school ended, and I love how it all played out. This was not a typical love story, it was about friends who have changed without each other knowing it, and dealing with what comes next. Beautiful writing and wonderful characters made this a heartwarming read that made me glad it wasn't the comedy I thought it would be.
“Searching, always. And yes, we all are, or soon will be, disenchanted, I still want to know it all: the heartbreak, the fear, the friendship, the anger, the love. All of it.”
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