October 17, 2013

Band Geek Thursday: THE VOW by Jessica Martinez

Happy Band Geek Thursday, Misfiteers! Today we've got a special guest you might recognize from one of her awesome earlier novels, VIRTUOSITY and THE SPACE BETWEEN US. However, today's playlist is all about guest poster Jessica Martinez's newest contemporary YA novel, THE VOW. 

No one has ever believed that Mo and Annie are just friends. How can a guy and a girl really be best friends?

Then the summer before senior year, Mo’s father loses his job, and by extension his work visa. Instantly, life for Annie and Mo crumbles. Although Mo has lived in America for most of his life, he’ll be forced to move to Jordan. The prospect of leaving his home is devastating, and returning to a world where he no longer belongs terrifies him.

Desperate to save him, Annie proposes they tell a colossal lie—that they are in love. Mo agrees because marrying Annie is the only way he can stay. Annie just wants to keep her best friend, but what happens when it becomes a choice between saving Mo and her own chance at real love?

Sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it? (Spoiler alert: it is. You should read it immediately.)

But this is Band Geek Thursday, and you're not here just to read about the book; you're here to listen to it, amirite? And so, I present Jessica Martinez, and the songs behind THE VOW!


Disclaimer: For me, listening to music and lyrics is a lot like playing the violin and talking at the same time. I mean, technically I can do it. Technically. But I have to really concentrate, and sometimes the vowels get screwed up, and sometimes I accidentally shout instead of speak. I think my musician-brain is bossier than my writer-brain, so if there’s music happening, everything else is peripheral.

All of that is why creating this playlist required some serious effort—I had to listen to words!—but I did it, and I didn’t even accidentally shout at anyone. THE VOW is all about home, and belonging to a place and a person. It’s set in the heartland of Kentucky, and that’s where these songs take me, in both music and message.

  1. "Don't Panic," Coldplay - Everything about this song screams Mo. The description of home as something he’s worked for and the sadness of the melody beneath the repeated exclamation that it’s a beautiful world—it’s all Mo.
  2. "Two of Us," The Beatles* - The optimism of this song sums up what Annie and Mo are feeling when they jump into their mess. It’s got that same happy-go-lucky, oblivious and well-intentioned earnestness. The grocery store trip on skateboards from the novel? This song could’ve been playing in the background. (Sidenote: When my husband and I were first married, he bought us skateboards at a yard sale, and for kicks we would take them grocery shopping. Ah, to be young and stupid and awesome again.)
  3. "Bruises," Chairlift - This one is all Annie. It's about a girl who’ll do anything for the people she loves, even if she keeps getting hurt. Permanently bruised, grass-stained, and smelling like strawberries—that’s her.
  4. "Our Swords," Band of Horses - Mo is sort of paranoid and cynical but sweet too. Like this song.
  5. "Ho Hey," The Lumineers - After Mo’s family leaves, he’s vulnerable in a way he didn’t anticipate, and he starts to rely on Annie like he hasn’t before. He’s a wreck, barely able to take care of himself, and she’s suddenly not just a best friend, but a protector too. Not the first muddy line they cross.
  6. "When She's Near," Fiction Family - I feel like this song could be both Mo’s and Reed’s anthem—and therein lies the problem. It doesn’t really matter that they love her in different ways and that their loves shouldn’t technically compete. (Another sidenote: I love this song. Love it.)
  7. "Farmhouse," Phish - Not only do these lyrics not fit my book, I can’t even figure out what they mean. But for some reason I can see Mo and Annie riding along in her old beater truck listening to this song, and that’s good enough to put it on the list.
  8. "Home," Phillip Phillips - So this seems like the obvious choice, maybe too obvious, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. The message, the heartland folk feel, the hopefulness, it’s why Mo and Annie do what they do. It explains away their stupidity, the danger, and the costs. You listen to this song and understand their lie is all worth it. If it works.
  9. "I Will," Alison Krauss - This playlist needs a love song for Annie to sing. This is a sweet one.
  10. "Last Words," The Real Tuesday Weld - This song should be sad, but instead, it's hopeful. I love that.
 *Alas, not available on Spotify

THE VOW (in addition to Jessica's other books) is available via Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and wherever else awesome contemporary YA is sold.

Jessica Martinez is the author of young adult novels VirtuosityThe Space Between Us, and The Vow.  She was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child she played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly, then went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University. Since then she has been a high school English teacher, symphony violinist, elementary school teacher, violin teacher, and mother. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three children.


erica m. chapman said...

Love this playlist, so many of my favorites. THE VOW sounds amazing!! Adding it to my list now!

Great post!

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