YA Books for Music Lovers

I absolutely love books that have some kind of music element in them, whether the protagonist be in a band, or they find solace in music, or anything like that. There’s just something so comforting about characters being passionate about the same things as you are, right? And I adore listening to music — especially when I’m reading.

So today I thought I’d share some of my favourite books that you should definitely check out if you’re a fan of any kind of music! There’s characters who enjoy pop music, to those that are into rap, and even some that play classical pieces. Something for everyone!

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I Was Born for This

Y’all are definitely sick of me saying this, but I LOVE ALICE OSEMAN. She’s one of my favourite authors of all time (and yeah, she’s definitely my favourite contemporary YA author), so how could I not include I Was Born for This in my post?! This is a book about fandoms and music and mental illness and friendship, and it honestly… brings a tear to my eye every time I think about it. JIMMY. ANGEL. AHHH. Seriously, this book is perfection. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me swoooon… oh my goodness. If you haven’t read anything by Alice Oseman yet, please do check out her stuff!


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The Brightsiders

Heck YAAAS. I am so here for The Brightsiders. After reading — and absolutely adoring — Queens of Geek, I knew I had to get my hands on this stunner. AND WHAT AN INCREDIBLE NOVEL IT WAS. I was just looking for a cute band book that would make me swoon and make me laugh, and The Brightsiders totally pulled through with that. GOSH, THE ROMANCE. I devoured this beauty in a single day just because I wanted to see how these relationships and these friendships would turn out. And the band sounded pretty badass too! Honestly who wouldn’t want a kickass drummer girlfriend?! EMMY IS MINE, FOLKS. Also this book has a super diverse cast, which was really lovely to see!


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You Asked for Perfect

I’ve been super excited for this book ever since I heard about it last year, and finally it’s been released! This is the kind of book that had me preordering it months ago, then careening down the street when I heard my bookstore got it in for me, then curling up on the couch and reading it until 2am. HOLY HECK IT WAS GOOD. I mainly wanted to read this book a) because it’s queer, b) because it’s about students who put too much pressure on themselves (erm, totally me in high school), and c) about the uncertainty of the future. But I was so pleased to see that it had a side plot that involved our protagonist playing in a band! 10/10 recommend.


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Open Road Summer

Will I ever get sick of reading cute, swoony contemporaries? THE ANSWER IS CLEARLY NO. I’m just a sucker for a happy ending, what can I say? AND THIS ONE WAS ADORABLE TO THE EXTREME. It’s about a girl and her best friend (who is like Fearless-era Taylor Swift) who go on tour across the States, along with a guy her best friend is pretending to date for the publicity. WE ALL LOVE THE FAKE DATING TROPE. Except, it’s not the knockoff Taylor Swift falling for him… it’s her non-famous friend. *CUE SCREAMING* I don’t know what it is that draws me to books about romance and fame and all that jazz, but I just love them. So if you’re anything like me, you’ll absolutely adore this one too.


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A Thousand Perfect Notes

GET READY FOR THE TEARS. Grab some chocolate, have a box of tissues handy, and try to prepare yourself for the emotional torment this book will play on you. BUT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. I seriously didn’t know how beautiful and how heartbreaking this book was going to be, and I’m still not over it. I WILL NEVER BE OVER IT. It’s about a boy named Beck who’s forced to play the piano by his ex-musician and performer mother. Just seeing him? Wishing he could escape his mother and the pressure she put on him to be perfect? OOF. The feeeeels. I cried multiple times while shoving cake into my mouth reading this book, and I know you will too. So um… enjoy!


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On the Come Up

Angie Thomas is freaking slaying the YA scene, and I’m SO HERE FOR IT. Seriously, who would have thought that after the release of the absolute masterpiece that is The Hate U Give that she would be able to release another book that’s just as incredible?! I’m honestly in awe. I didn’t know if I’d love On the Come Up as much as THUG simply because I’m not a maaaasive rap fan, but I was so happily surprised! And listening to the audiobook? *chef’s kiss* The rap parts were amazing with the voice narration! Plus this book deals with topics like police brutality and racism and refusing to be silent, and it’s honestly a must-read. Seriously. Go find a copy if you haven’t read this one yet!


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This Song Will Save Your Life

Oh my goodness, I read this book back in 11th grade and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. This Song Will Save Your Life is a book that really resonated with me. I’m honestly so thankful I decided to pick it up, because it’s the kind of book that will help you feel like you’re not entirely alone in the world. It’s a novel about depression and music and finding your people, and it will seriously save your life. I know we toss around the phrase “this book saved me” heaps in the bookish community, but this one had me sobbing in the first chapter. Do be mindful that this book deals with topics such as suicide and self-harm. This Song Will Save Your Life is just beautiful.


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Daisy Jones and the Six

Okay, this book isn’t YA… shhh. But I have to include it because I WILL NEVER BE OVER HOW GOOD THIS BOOK WAS. I was really, really scared going into it just because I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so much and I was like… “How can something possibly live up to that masterpiece?”. While it fell just the tiiiiiniest bit short of Evelyn Hugo (because really, nothing will ever be as incredible as that stunning, timeless novel), it was absolutely incredible and I just wanted to spend time with Daisy Jones and the band forever. IT WAS SUPURB. I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook though, because the interview style really lends itself to that format. THIS IS THE STORY OF THE FICTIONAL 70s BAND YOU WISH EXISTED. So beautiful. Much sobbing.

lets-talk

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What are some other books about bands or music? Have you read any cute ones recently? I’d love to know!

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22 thoughts on “YA Books for Music Lovers

  1. I’m currently reading on the come up, and you are SO right about the audiobook!! The narrator captured the flows so well, but besides that the story is enjoyable and I’m really starting to love Bri. Angie Thomas is so talented I can’t

  2. I haven’t read any of these books, but when I think about books with music, Noteworthy always came to my mind! It’s about a girl who masquarades as a boy to joined an all-guys acappella group, but it also discusses important issues and I love it so much!

  3. I love these recommendations! I plan on reading Open Road Summer this summer- it’s the only Emery Lord book I haven’t read yet- and I need to get on Daisy Jones and the Six ASAP! We Are Still Tornadoes by Susan Mullen and Michael Kun is one of my favorite music-inspired YAs- one of the two protagonists has his own band.

  4. I love this list SO much and I love how similar our reading taste is, too ❤ ❤ I adore Alice Oseman's books and I Was Born For This was SO good! ❤ I also loved You Asked For Perfect and The Brightsiders so, so, so much. I need to read Open Road Summer! 🙂

    • Ahh omg thank you so much! We’re obviously meant to be best friends ❤️😂💕 I KNOW RIGHT?! I’m soooo obsessed with everything Alice writes. I’m so pleased you loved YOU ASKED FOR PERFECT and THE BRIGHTSIDERS as well! ☺️

      • It seems like we are meant to be indeed 😂 I LOVE that, finding people with the same bookish taste ahhh, this makes me happy 💕

  5. So many good suggestions, and my TBR just got bigger…

    And, I think one of my favourite music related book is ‘Just Listen’ by Sarah Dessen.

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