Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Blogger Post: The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

We are delighted to introduce our new guest blogger, Rachel S!

Best friends Colby and Bev are finally doing it. While their classmates head to college, they are jetting off to Europe exactly as they’ve been saying they would since the 8th grade.  The only thing that stands between them and Paris is a week-long tour with Bev’s girl band, The Disenchantments.  As soon as the tour is over, they’ll drop off band mates Meg and Alexa and hit the road.  At least, that’s the plan. Early into the first day of the tour, Bev drops a bombshell: She’s applied to RISD for the fall, and she’s going.  A formerly overjoyed Colby is suddenly broken hearted, angry, and without a plan.  His feelings for Bev have long since ceased to be platonic, but even putting that aside he feels betrayed that his best friend since he was 9-years-old lied to him, continuing to plan the trip while secretly applying to college.  The Disenchantments is the story of a band on the road, but it is also the story of Colby coming to accept Bev’s decision, and to make some decisions of his own.

This book is very very hip.  Colby is an amazing artist with a growing fascination with graffiti.  Bev is a casually bisexual, naturally gorgeous would-be riot girl who rocks impulsively shorn hair, tight white tank tops, and has a savant level proficiency at whittling.  (Yes, I said whittling.)  Meg wears mod dresses and buys Supremes albums on vinyl, while her sister Alexa dresses in hippie garb and has a notebook filled with more than 700 career choices.  Colby and the band are driving around the Pacific Northwest in a vintage VW van named Melinda.  I mean, really.  I think I’ve made my point. 

Personally, I loved the references to Sleater-Kinney, to gay married dads, to Banksy, to tattoo artists, and to French films I’ve never seen.  It reminded me of watching Sex and the City- I knew it was an overblown representation of a niche group of people, but there was certain glamour to it that I couldn’t help but love.  Of course, there are people who hated watching Sex in the City because it was an overblown representation of a niche group of people who they found really very annoying, so if over privileged teenage hipsters press your buttons, this is a book to skip.  

The Disenchantments does have more going for it than its commitment to a m├ętier.  Instead of the typical will they/won’t they dynamic of most teen books, we learn fairly quickly that they won’t, so instead of spending the book in a tizzy of suspense, readers are surprised by the turns the characters take with one and other.  LaCour’s characters explore whether or not romantic love can last, and how that question affects both families and young couples. She also delves into the issue of how our perception of people and events often differ greatly from reality, something that it is all too easy for teens and adults alike to forget.

All said, The Disenchantments is a unique and well done YA book.  It will appeal to older teens with artistic interests, or to those who see themselves as falling somewhere outside of mainstream American culture.

Rachel is a YA services librarian at a public library in MA.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Rachel. I was curious about this book because the cover is so fabulous, so it's great to read your thoughts. -meghancnyc


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