Book and Music Pairings Volume 2


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These books lend themselves a bit more to the music than the books in the first five lists.

As always, none of the music is mine; please respect copyright laws and pay for any music you wish to download!  (Although listening on YouTube is free.)

Book: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

Song: The Last Steampunk Waltz by Ghostfire

Why They Go Together: Although this song is technically contains a number of allusions to Arthurian legends, the steampunk mood fits The Girl in the Steel Corset perfectly.  I can totally picture Finley, Griffin and friends dancing to this after saving the world….again.


Book: Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio

Song: Annabel in Numberland by Paul Shapera

Why They Go Together: Both Annabel from Shapera’s opera “Dolls of New Albion” and Agatha from Girl Genius are steampunk inventor girls with a lot of angst and drama in their lives.  Although “Dolls” doesn’t make nearly as much sense, as a story, as Girl Genius, the atmospheric music works pretty well.


Book: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Song: The Strength to Go On by Rise Against

Why They Go Together: Although “The Strength to Go On” doesn’t have the same computery edge as Little Brother, the song and book do share the message of standing up for what you believe in.


Book: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Song: Skyfall by Adele

Why They Go Together: Stormbreaker is a spy book. Skyfall was written for a James Bond film, a spy movie.  It was meant to be.


Book: In the Cards: Love by Mariah Fredericks

Song: Things I’ll Never Say by Avril Lavigne

Why They Go Together: An awkward middle school romance + an awkward middle school romancey song= perfection.


Book: So Punk Rock and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother by Micol Ostow

Song: Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance

Why They Go Together: I can totally picture the characters in the book playing this in their rock band.  It’s not quite punk, but it’s loud.  Plus, the music video for the song is really awesome and would look even better with a bunch of awkward teenagers.


Book: Rock God: The Legend of BJ Levine by Barnabas Miller

Song: It’s My Life by Bon Jovi

Why They Go Together: I’m afraid the exact reason is a spoiler.  However, the song also goes with the idea of starting a band and following a totally absurd dream and sets the mood for the book, so there’s that.


Book: Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sonia Charaipotra

Song: The Thieving Magpie by Rossini

Why They Go Together: This classical song is suspenseful and unpredictable, just like the characters in the story.  Plus, it’s been used in multiple movies, so it must pair with fictional narratives well.

Happy (musical) reading!


10 Books About Music, Dance, Art, and Theatre

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If you love singing, dancing, drawing, or acting, you will love these books.

1. So Punk Rock And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother by Micol Ostow

Some kids at a conservative Jewish school start a band.  Hilarity ensues.  Seriously, you just have to read it to find out what happens.

2. Rock God: The Legend of BJ Levine by Barnabas Miller

If you like classic rock, you will love this book.  It’s another “kids start a band” book, only this time, they go on a totally wacky, nonsensical adventure.  I especially enjoyed it as a Bon Jovi fan…oops, better not give away any spoilers. : )

3. Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

A girl in New York City discovers that she has the magical power to bring paintings to life.  She and her awesome friends must fight the evil powers trying to kill them.  Shadowshaper is one of the most fun “summer reads” I’ve ever enjoyed.

4. Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Theo describes her friend’s kidnapping, her eating disorder, past issues with her ex-boyfriend, and ballet in this intense novel.

5. Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra (Tiny Pretty Things series Book 1)

A diverse group of incredibly competitive girls fight to get good roles in their ballet school.  There are multiple perspectives, lots of good characterization, and lots of drama.

6. to dance by Siena Cherson Siegal

Siena tells her own life story in this cute graphic novel.  Although aimed at a younger audience, the story is fun and reminds you to follow your dreams.  That sounds cheesy, I know, but trust me on this one.

7. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Corinne and Ada are hemopaths, wizard-like people with a blood impurity that allows them to create illusions through words and music.  The only problem is that iron causes them incredible pain.  When bad things start happening, they must work together to find a solution.  Although the plot of this book isn’t that interesting, the friendship is awesome and so is the magic.

8. Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Paige moves to New York City, makes some friends, and does some artsy stuff.  Anybody with a sketchbook will enjoy this.  (Bonus–I met the author last summer at AwesomeCon and she’s pretty cool.)

9. Fame, Glory, and Other Things On My To-Do List by Janette Rallison

If you’re a theatre kid, you’ll like this funny story of a school play gone wrong.  I read this a long time ago, so I don’t remember the details, but it’s pretty funny.

10. Confessions of A Teenage Drama Queen by Dyan Sheldon (Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen series Book 1)

Lola and her sheltered friend Ella run away to a rock concert.  Yes, it’s as funny as it sounds.  Although the plot doesn’t really get interesting until the end–a common trait of Sheldon’s books, which is disappointing considering all the build up–the build-up is pretty funny on its own, as well.

Happy (creative) reading!


10 Books About Girls in Middle/High School


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One favorite genre of many teens is “chick lit,” or books directed at girls about friendship and other generally “girly” things–although many boys also enjoy these books.

1. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (All-American Girl duology Book 1)

In this story, Sam saves the president’s life and goes on a funny adventure involving art classes and friendship struggles.  Although a lot of the characters were very stereotypical, the storyline is funny and cute.  Plus, Reston readers may appreciate some of the references to real-life D.C.

2. Bindi Babes by Narinder Dhami (Babes trilogy Book 1)

When three young sisters who are used to being generally spoiled must live with their strict aunt, they attempt to marry her off…with limited success.

3. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison (Georgia Nicolson Book 1)

This book has very little to do with thongs or snogging and a lot more to do with a girl named Georgia and her cat Angus.  A lot of the comments she writes in her diary are highly cringey, but that’s what makes it funny.

4. In The Cards: Love by Mariah Fredericks (In the Cards trilogy Book 1)

Some 8th grade girls have a goofy romantic adventure.  This is the perfect light read for when you don’t want anything too serious.

5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Anne Brashares (Sisterhood quartet Book 1)

Four girls have separate summer adventures between their sophomore and junior years of high school.  It’s a cute friendship story, and unlike many book-to-movie adaptations, it worked quite well–so once you’re done with the book, the movie is as good or better.

6. ttyl by Lauren Myracle (ttyl quartet Book 1)

Three girls communicate over instant message in high school.  Although the format takes getting used to, the story is a pretty candid picture of high school life for girls.

7. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita (Secrets series Book 1)

Kaitlyn Burke, movie star, pretends to be a normal girl to see what it’s like to not be famous.  This is one of the most fun Hollywood books I’ve ever read, and Kaitlyn never comes across as annoying or stuck-up.  The other 5 books are just as good.

8. Charly’s Epic Fiascos by Kelli London (Charly series Book 1)

Charly runs away from home to audition for a reality show, something many teens dream of doing.  Although she faces many obstacles, she keeps going in this hilarious story about acting with all sorts of unusual characters.

9. He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander

Claudia and Omar must stand up for arts funding in their small school in this funny, dynamic high school story told from alternating perspectives.

10. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonia Sones

This novel in verse describes one girl’s adventures with romance.

Happy (goofy and heartfelt) reading!


10 Books About Computers

Although the books vs. computers debate will go on infinitely, you may want to try this “happy medium” solution: read about computers!  Bonus points if you read it on an e-reader.

1. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (Little Brother duology Book 1)


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A teen hacker plays an alternate reality game with his friends, later being accused of a terrorist attack and tortured by the department of Homeland Security.  The sequel Homeland is just as suspenseful and politically relevant.

2. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

In this book, a girl meets a boy living in poverty when she plays an online MMORPG (Mass Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) and must decide on the right thing to do.

3. Level Up by Gene Luen Yang

A boy training to be a gastroenterologist feels he must choose between college and video games, all the while under pressure from his family.

4. Twinmaker by Sean Williams (Twinmaker trilogy Book 1)

Clair and Libby are best friends, so when they find a mysterious online game they decide to try it out together.  Of course, in a futuristic world of teleportation and mentally-integrated Internet access, this game is far more than meets the eye.

5. Sun Signs by Shelley Hrdlitschka

When a girl does an astrology project as a remote-schooling assignment, she discovers that her fellow remote-learning classmates are not who they seem to be.  This book is unique as it is told in emails.

6. Trackers by Patrick Carman (Trackers series Book 1)

Have you ever wanted to spy on people?  The teens in Trackers do just that, getting into a bit of trouble along the way.  (Note: This book has some corresponding online content that requires online registration.  I never signed up for it myself, so I do not know what it includes or what is required for registration.  The book was aimed at middle-grade readers, so the content is suitable for teens; however, it could be bothersome to some readers.)

7. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series Book 1)

Alex Rider becomes a spy for MI6 in London and must pretend to be the winner of a computer contest in order to investigate suspicious occurrences.  Although the characterization leaves something to be desired, there is plenty of action.

8. STORM: The Infinity Code by E. L. Young (STORM series Book 1)


A group of teens gifted in science run away to Russia to solve a mystery involving black holes.  With detailed descriptions of scientific gadgets, any science lover will enjoy this book.

9. Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde (Rasmussen series)

A girl must retrieve her sister from inside a video game.  It’s a quick read and not all that interesting, but the concept of the game is fun.

10. The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

June must take a side in a growing controversy over the use of technology in Palmares Tres, the pyramid-shaped glass city in future Brazil where she lives.  However, the story is so much more than that, and it is one of the most beautifully-written books I have ever read.

Happy (digital) reading!



10 Books About Steampunk


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Steampunk, if you are unfamiliar with the genre, is a popular alternate-history genre in which electricity was never developed and everything was steam-powered.  Many steampunk stories take place during the Victorian Era or in the Wild West, although some take place in other worlds or even the future.

1. Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School Series Book 1)

Currently one of the most popular steampunk books for teens, this book tells the funny story of a girl named Sophronia and her friends who go to a mysterious girls’ school located in an airship.  Though not the most imaginative steampunk story, it’s funny and has some entertaining characters.

2. The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles quartet Book 1)

Finley Jayne, a maid in Victorian London, discovers that she has magical powers and meets a mysterious group of adventurers, then realizing that she must help to solve a mystery.

3. The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles quartet Book 3)

This third book in the Steampunk Chronicles series is as good as the first.  Mila, a robot girl, discovers that she is, in fact, a robot–and, of course, the characters from the first book make it their job to protect her.  (The second book in the series wasn’t all that well-written in my opinion and I suggest skipping it, because objectively, it adds little to the plot of the series as a whole.)

4. The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Three girls in Victorian London solve a murder.  The book is written in sort of a humorous, modern sense, and it’s a bit historically inaccurate, but it’s funny and lighthearted.

5. The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason (Stoker and Holmes series Book 2)

The sequel to The Clockwork Scarab has even more steampunk action as Mina and Evaline must solve a mystery involving ghosts.  Although many plot elements are continued from the first book, it could almost be read as a stand-alone.

6. Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard  (Something Strange and Deadly trilogy Book 1)

Eleanor Fitt meets a group of inventors called the Spirit Hunters with whose help she can fight off the zombies plaguing Philadelphia.  With the World’s Faire, electrical experiments, and an ancient grimoire, it’s pretty interesting.

7. Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio (graphic novel)

Agatha Heterodyne goes on an adventure involving a lot of scary machines in a steampunk Germany.

8. Mister Monday by Garth Nix (Keys to the Kingdom septology Book 1)

Arthur Penhaligon has an asthma attack on a class trip and ends up getting transported to the House, a parallel plane of existence at the center of the universe.

9. Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Killer of Enemies trilogy Book 1)

In a vaguely steampunk post-apocalyptic American Southwest, Lozen’s family is imprisoned by a group of four mysterious leaders who force her to kill the mutant creatures running wild in the desert.  One of the most clever and action-packed books in the genre. (The image at the top of this page was part of the cover design process!)

10. A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly trilogy Book 2)

The sequel to Something Strange and Deadly takes place in Paris.  The story continues as Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters continue to fight zombies.  Though not as good as the first, there are some good action scenes and new conflicts.

Happy (steam-powered) reading!


Book and Music Pairings Volume 1


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All of these books have been previously featured on my other lists!  I couldn’t come up with songs for all of them, so I picked a couple from each list.

Some of the music relates to the atmosphere of the book, as in background music to listen to while reading, while some relates to the characters/plotline.

I will include YouTube links if you are interested in hearing the music; if you are interested in purchasing any of it you can follow the links attached to the videos.

All of the music selected here is either instrumental or contains only clean lyrics.


Book: The Life and Death of Zebulon Finch Volume One: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus

Song: Fur Elise-1920’s Gangster Style by Ethan Uslan

Why They Go Together: The book’s about a 20’s gangster and is written in very fancy words, like a good piece of piano music.


Book: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Song: Flawed Design by Stabilo

Why They Go Together: The themes of moral conflict and coming of age in this song fit the story quite well–even though it’s happening in the 19th century.


Book: Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Song: The Vengeful One by Disturbed (Note: I did not include the official music video due to some simulated violent images that viewers may wish to avoid.)

Why They Go Together: From the line, “justice falls upon you at first Liiiight” and forward, this song perfectly describes the motivation of the main character of Death Note.


Book: HIVE by Mark Walden

Song: Villain by Skarlett Riot

Why They Go Together: This dynamic rock song by Skarlett Riot would probably play in the background if this book were a movie.


Book: The Lumberjanes

Song: Princess Pat as recorded by The Learning Station

Why They Go Together: Nothing suits a story about a Girl Scout-like camp like a classic Girl Scout camp song!


Book: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Song: Little Red Riding Hood by Derek and Brandon Fiechter

Why They Go Together: This fairytale-style music with a creepy twist is the perfect background for this terrifying journey through the forest.


Book: The Secret Circle by L.J. Smith

Song: Salem’s Secret by Peter Gundry

Why They Go Together: Peter Gundry composes a wide range of witch-themed music, which suits the atmosphere of this book perfectly.


Book: Blue is For Nightmares by Laura Faria Stolarz

Song: Hiding in the Dark by Peder B. Helland

Why They Go Together: This music is very creepy, evoking the feeling that you aren’t alone.  Incidentally, the characters in this book experience the same thing, only in real life.


Book: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Song: Russian Winter by Derek and Brandon Fiechter

Why They Go Together: Vassa in the Night, despite taking place in modern times, is based heavily on Russian folklore and has a plotline which definitely suggests a song in the minor key such as this one.


Book: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Song: “Sherlock” Season 1 theme (The Game Is On)

Why They Go Together: The book’s Sherlock story has a very similar feel to the episodes of the show, with dramatic chase scenes and other action bits not always included in Holmes adaptations.


Book: Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams

Song: A Dangerous Mind by Within Temptation

Why They Go Together: This song illustrates the suspenseful, tense plot of the story.  To say any more would give away major details. : )


Book: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Song: Ghosts of Twilight by Derek and Brandon Fiechter

Why They Go Together: Any book about ghosts in London needs an eerie Gothic soundtrack.


Book: The Iron Prince by Julie Kagawa

Song: The Forest Queen by Peter Gundry

Why They Go Together: This atmospheric music will take your imagination straight to an ancient fairy kingdom.

Happy (musical) reading!



5 Books About Faeries


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Joining the many vampires and werewolves in YA books these days are faeries.  If you want to take a trip to Avalon or an enchanted forest from your living room, check out these five great books.

1. Tithe by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales trilogy Book 1)

In this story, Kaye finds out that she is actually a green-skinned, pointy-eared pixie!  She then finds out about the unrest in the faerie world and meets a ton of new friends.

2. Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Wings quartet Book 1)

When a blossom starts growing out of Laurel’s back, she discovers that she is a faerie who must protect the gateway to her home world.

3. The Iron Prince by Julie Kagawa (Iron Fey series Book 1)

On her 16th birthday, a girl learns she is a princess from another world, and that the already-in-disagreement Winter and Summer Courts of the faerie world are threatened by the rising Iron Court.

4. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye series Book 1)

Half-faerie, half-human October Daye must return to her private investigator job after spending 40 years in a pond transformed into a koi fish.  (Note:  This book is in the adult section of the library but has content similar to many teen books.)

5. Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan (Faerie Wars series Book 1)

A boy meets a small faerie in his backyard and is dragged into a mysterious faerie world full of royal intrigue and demons.

Happy (enchanting) reading!