|The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Juvenile
Publish Date: February 16, 2012
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? -(summary excerpt from Goodreads.com)
by Nina LaCour
My Thoughts: I approached Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments with caution because I’m very afraid of YA contemporary novels. They seem to have a depth and emotion that tears me to pieces. This book is another one of those and even a few days after finishing it the more I think about it, the more it slays me.
Why I loved The Disenchantments:
1. The Characters. Two excellently-developed and multi-dimensional main characters with a wonderful and diverse supporting cast, complete with their own characteristics and complex issues. Let’s talk about Colby and Bev:
- Colby. The story’s male protagonist. In love with his best friend, Bev. Colby is wildly likable and remarkably talented – he’s a sketch artist and is frequently found sketching things (including Bev) as he narrates. I was very emotionally invested in Colby and his story, and I was an out-loud cheerleader for him while I was reading. Colby is one of the most believable and real characters I’ve ever read.
- Bev. Distant, flighty, and beautiful. Bev was harder to connect to because I didn’t always know her reasons for doing the things she did. Sometimes she seems to be a little mean, sometimes a little flirty, and sometimes a little vulnerable. Even so, she is well-written and strongly characterized – and if you’ll just stick with her for awhile, she’ll reveal her motivations to you. She may even break your heart.
2. The Conflict/Betrayal. Shortly after the friends leave for their band’s tour, Bev makes an announcement that destroys Colby’s world: she’s abandoning their huge, epic plans for a year in Europe to go off to college instead. This absolutely shatters Colby for several reasons:
- He’s in love with her – and her revelation almost feels like a break-up. He doesn’t know whether to be hurt or angry, so he constantly alternates between both feelings.
- Colby never applied to any colleges. He and Bev spent several years making what he thought were concrete plans to really go to Europe and maybe do the college thing later…
- …thereby realizing that while they were making their plans and having a great time at it, she was secretly applying to colleges. Did Bev ever have any intention of going to Europe with Colby? Why won’t she talk to him about it?
- Now Bev has somewhere to go in the fall – somewhere to belong – and Colby is stuck with no college, no travel-mate, and no plan.
There is more betrayal revealed later in the book, and it hurts to read about as well. A wonderful addition to the story, it explained many of the conflicted feelings I had about Bev.
3. Heartache. I was broken for Colby after Bev broke her news to him. As I read, I witnessed the breakdown of a boy that had everything he wanted packed in and ready to go, right within arm’s length – and then ripped away from him with barely an explanation. This, in particular, was so emotionally devastating to me.
There were several instances of heartache throughout the book, all dealing with different areas within the plot. But such is life and such is YA contemporary. And that is why it is so tough for me to read — because it hurts so much sometimes.
4. The Culture. What fun! This is a very artsy book. There are nods to all different types of art: music, graffiti, tattoos, painting, sketching, and even wood-carving. Not only that, but there are a ton of different real-life bands mentioned — any music-lover enjoys a bookish nod to a favorite band. For me the best part of all was the mention of Banksy. Love him.
5. The Romance. Gut-wrenching. Colby was so in love with Bev and she acted so flirtatious sometimes and so spiteful at others. Still there was an almost naive hopefulness that I watched Colby carry, and I also carried it as well — only to have Bev’s actions break my heart just like she broke Colby’s. This romance was not like other romances in YA romance books; it was like the ones you may have now or may have had in the past. This is real-life stuff and it hurts like real life does. Unrequited love always does.
6. The End. Man, the end. There is indeed resolution to the burning questions you will carry throughout the book. Everything is wrapped up neatly. Some of you will love the ending and some of you will hate it. But you all should read it. The way it ends is how life sometimes is.
Perhaps I am a little too close to this subject matter, but this book wrecked me. It was wonderfully written, well-executed, and beautifully heartbreaking – and it was no small feat for me to get through. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves to read about being young, broken-hearted, and in love.
The Disenchantments will appeal to fans of:
Male point-of-view in YA books
(aka New Adult) and
Books with music & art written into the story
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour is out on February 16, 2012.
*I borrowed this book as part of Around The World Book Tours in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions. I received no compensation for my review.