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July 8, 2009

Book Notes - Alyson Noel ("Blue Moon")

In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.

The second book in the Immortals series, Blue Moon continues the paranormal saga of Ever and Damen. Alyson Noel's writing is filled with twists and turns, young adult fiction that surprises not only with its clever plots but also with its realistic depictions of teen emotions.

In her own words, here is Alyson Noel's Book Notes music playlist for her young adult novel, Blue Moon:

In Evermore, book #1 in my new Immortals series, the protagonist, Ever, suffered a near death experience that left her with tremendous psychic powers she doesn't want. Powers that allow her to hear people's thoughts and know their entire life stories by touch. Powers that she tries to block out by keeping to herself and blasting the Sex Pistols on her iPod.

But Ever isn't a Sex Pistols fan. Nope, that would be me. So much so that I watched "Sid & Nancy" while writing the book and got so wrapped up in the story that when it came time to write I accidentally attributed the vocals in "Anarchy in the UK" to Sid, when we all know it was Johnny—oops!

Glaring error aside, Ever's not in it for the music, she craves silence. And it's only when she meets Damen, a boy who can silence the noise with his voice and warm her skin with a look, that she gets some relief. Though it's not long before she discovers that the one person who makes her feel normal, is anything but...

I spent hours putting together a playlist for this book. Partly because, if done correctly, this is one of the best procrastination tools a writer has, but mostly because immersing myself in the right mix of songs goes along way in informing and shaping the world I'm creating. And in this case, I was searching for songs that were dark, moody, and chock full of unrequited longing—songs that include the following:

"Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star

What can I say? I love this song. From the first time I heard it I was swept by the feel of it, and no matter how many times I've listened to it since, I never get sick of it. Not to mention it perfectly encapsulates the mood of the book. Perfectly.

"Superstar" by Sonic Youth

I'm not gonna lie, I grew up listening to The Carpenters' version of this song—and while I can't claim to have been a fan, for some reason, this version really speaks to me like the original never did. Hence, I included it.

"Wicked Game" by Giant Drag

Yup, another remake (keep reading, there's more!). I love it when songs that define a long ago moment in my life are redone and given a whole new feel by a whole new artist. And while I'm partial to the original, I happen to think this one is just as sexy as the Chris Isaak version, and to me, it has this very "Ever & Damen love story" feel to it.

"Kings of the Wild Frontier" by Adam & The Ants

Okay, full confession here: I, Alyson Noël, once pledged undying allegiance to Adam Ant. Yes, I was a full on "Ant Person" ready to join his "Ant Nation" and listened to nothing but "Ant music." One of my shorter lived obsessions for sure, but still, there it is. And when Sofia Coppola used this song in Marie Antoinette as a backdrop to some very hot scenes between Marie and her lover, Count Fersen, well, I knew I had to add it to my playlist too since Evermore includes its own Marie and Count Fersen reenactment scene!

"Magic Man" by Heart

Loved this song as a kid (hey, I had older sisters!), and I love it still. I added it to my playlist because it reminds me of Damen. He's complicated, a bit of a shape shifter, and definitely a man of magic!

"Creep" by Radiohead

Not only do I love to sing this one while playing Rock Band on the Wii, I think anyone who ever went to high school can relate to this. That feeling of complete alienation and freakishness—or maybe that was just me? But since Ever always feels like the absolute outsider, viewed by her classmates as the ultimate freak, this song helped me get inside her head, helped me see the world through her eyes.

"Something"- by Jim Sturgess

While nothing beats The Beatles' version, by now you know I love my covers! And after seeing Cirque Du Soleil's "Love" show in Las Vegas—where they performed a ballet to this song that left me with tears in my eyes, I knew I had to add it to the list. There's so much love and reverence here—and it reminds me of how Damen has felt about Ever for the last 400 hundred years!

"Hong Kong Garden"- by Siouxsie & The Banshees

Another Marie Antoinette movie pick that not only harkens back to my high school years, but has the kind of fun feel I wanted to interject between all the longing and melancholy!

"Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks

In my next life, I'm going to be Stevie Nicks. The voice- the dresses- the hair—the witchy ways—a true rock star! But this time around, I'm stuck with just being a fan, and while my playlist actually includes the live version of this song—which I happen to love, love, love and never get tired of listening to—the truth is, any version will do. Everything about this song reminds me of Ever, who, by the way, just happens to be on the "edge of seventeen" herself!

"Warning Sign" by Coldplay

Honestly? Not sure why I chose this one, other than the fact that it's nice, and slow, and I like it!

"Across the Universe" by Fiona Apple

I first heard this song while watching Pleasantville (love that movie) and waited forever for iTunes to add it. The moment they did, I added it to the list and it really fits since Ever and Damen are star crossed lovers who've been thwarted for 400 years—and yet they keep finding each other, from all the way "across the universe," they come together again and again, trying to make it work.

"Maybe I'm Amazed" by Jem

The first time I heard Paul McCartney sing this—I got chills. The second time, I ran for my stereo and hit record—ultimately playing that cassette so many times it got all crunched and tangled and I was forced to jam a pencil tip in there to get it all unwound and straightened out again (remember that?!). And while this version will always be somewhat tainted as the Caleb and Julie wedding song on the now defunct TV show, The OC, I still like it in spite of that. I think it perfectly encapsulates what it's like when you totally and completely fall for someone—and you realize it's reciprocated!

"Wild Horses" by The Sundays

Yes, yet another remake. And while I've been a Stones fan from day one, I really do like this version. It has a more "girly" feel to it and reminds me of Ever's feelings for Damen.

Alyson Noel and Blue Moon links:

the author's website
the author's blog
the author's page at the publisher
the author's Facebook page
the author's MySpace page
the author's Twitter page
the author's Wikipedia entry
excerpt from the book
video trailer for the book

The Book Chick review
Darque Reviews review
GreenBeanTeenQueen review
Merry Genre Go Round Reviews review
Mind of a Bibliophile review

Bookburger interview with the author
Orange Coast interview with the author

also at Largehearted Boy:

other Book Notes submissions (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)
guest book reviews
musician/author interviews
52 Books, 52 Weeks