I’m hard at work on my presentation for the Children’s Literature Association Conference, and I thought that others might find my list of YA books with music as a central theme or catalyst helpful. The books below range from contemporary YA to historical fiction, from the literary to the commercial. I’ll be talking more about music in YA literature as we get closer to the conference, but please let me know if I’ve left anything off this list!

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Battle of the Bands by K. L. Denman
Beige by Cecil Castellucci
Born to Rock by Gordon Korman
Candor by Pam Bachorz (not music, but town controlled by subliminal messages)
Chartbreak by Gillian Cross
Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys by Francesca Lia Block
Debbie Harry Sings in French by Meagan Brothers
Dirty Jersey by Phillip Thomas Duck
Don’t Sleep With Your Drummer by Jen Sincero
Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going
Geniuses of Crack by Jeff Gomez
Girl by Blake Nelson
Heavy Metal and You by Christopher Krovatin
I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
In Mozart’s Shadow by Carolyn Meyer
Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
King Dork by Frank Portman
Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Orfe by Cynthia Voigt
Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn
Resurrection Blues by Mike Tanner
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nights by Todd Strasser (published in 1982 “the granddaddy of all YA band books”)
Rock Star Superstar by Blake Nelson
Somebody Everybody Listens To by Suzanne Supplee
Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron
The Carbon Diaries 2015 and The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle
The Divas Series by Victoria Christopher Murray
The Exes by Pagan Kennedy
The Orpheus Obsession by Dakota Lane
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur (Tupac’s book of poetry.)
The Scott Pilgrim graphic novels, by Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Vandal by Michael Simmons
What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
When You Wish by Kristin Harmel

Edited to add:
Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
So Lyrical by Trish Cook
Overnight Sensation by Trish Cook
Indigo Blues by Danielle Joseph
The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor
The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
(Thanks Wendy!)

(This list was also compiled with help from Reading Rants and the Duraleigh Library.)

Last updated: July 31, 2015

 

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

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