The Teaser: Colby and Bev are best friends with a plan. After graduation they'll put off college and travel around Europe together. And if Colby has his way, somewhere in some hostel, Bev will realize that she feels the same way he does: decidedly more than friendly. Before they can leave for Europe though, they're headed out for a 10 day tour with Bev's band. The worst wannabe riot grrrrrrl band in the history of history. As the tour winds its way out of San Francisco, through Northern California and into Oregon both Colby and Bev have to face the hard fact that what's best for them might not be the same thing anymore.
What Stood Out: I loved every single character in this book. I loved Colby's dad and his Uncle Pete. I loved Jasper, Sophie, even the guy with the PBR at the first show they played. And I loved Alexa and Meg most of all. Every single person who dropped into the story, even for 3 seconds, was a fully realized person with a back story and their own motives. Just like Bev's mini-world of sculptures, I bet Nina LaCour has an entire journal filled with stories about even the most minor faces who populate her world. The people of The Disenchantments are truly truly amazing.
What Didn't Work: Maybe because every single character was so awesome, it really stood out (in the bad way) that Colby and Bev are the most boring leads ever. I wanted her to suck it up and I wanted him to stop beingsuch a pushover more times than I could count so that we could get back to Miranda the Van and the crowd reactions to the terrible shows.
Anything Extra Special?: Too many to count. Seriously, it's the little things with this book. But let's start with these.
Who hasn't wanted to jump in an old VW van with 3 of their best friends and travel along some of the prettiest country in America? Road trip books are always on my favorite read lists because they usually spawn great music playlists and heightened tension from being in such a small space for so long. The Disenchantments is no exception, one of my newest, dearest wishes is for LaCour to release all 12 of Meg's playlists. Rock on great American tradition, rock on.
Sleater-Kinney is Bev's favorite band and they sort of serve as a stand-in for all riot grrrl groups in the story. Sleater Kinney will forever hold a place in my heart for getting me through high school in one piece (maybe I am more like Bev than I want to admit) and my crush on Carrie Brownstein is unparallelled. Especially after her stint on NPR's All Songs Considered podcasts.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: If a book has even a passing interest in graffiti, I will gobble it up. While all four leads in The Disenchantments went to an arts based high school, Colby is the only one who focused on traditional two dimensional drawing and painting. Graffiti became an interest of his after doing a school project and the story keeps circling back to his maybe there, hidden desire to try it out for himself.