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The Disenchantments

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Overview

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 ...

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The Disenchantments

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Overview

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?

Morris Award—finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.

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  • The Disenchantments
    The Disenchantments  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After Colby graduates from high school, his well-laid plans to spend a year traveling through Europe go up in smoke when his travel partner and best friend, Bev, reveals she’s going to art school instead. Colby is angry and hurt, but he doesn’t have time to do much brooding. He’s committed himself to playing chauffeur for Bev’s all-girl rock band, the Disenchantments, on their first (and probably last) summer tour. Chronicling the band’s road trip up the West Coast, this insightful coming-of-age story expresses how a teen in limbo learns some profound lessons about disappointment, love, and the pursuit of dreams in some unexpected places. Between gigs, Colby meets unlikely kindred spirits—a tattoo artist, a semifamous graffiti artist, and a female farmer—whose outlooks influence his decisions about the future. LaCour (Hold Still) skillfully draws connections between art and life as she delves into the heart of her characters, revealing their fears and celebrating the creative forces that inspire them to reach for the stars. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger Inc. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Immediately after graduation from San Francisco's arts-focused magnet high school, Colby is about to set out on a week-long road trip through the Pacific Northwest with a not-very-good (all right, downright awful-sounding) girl band, the Disenchantments, made up of three close friends, including Bev: the girl who has been his best friend for his entire life, the girl who is about to join him in spending their post-graduate year backpacking around Europe together, the girl he has been quietly in love with for as long as he can remember. Then Bev announces, on the eve of the tour, that she is abandoning her plans with Colby to attend the Rhode Island School of Design instead. Throughout the exquisitely observed seven days on the road that follow, Colby tries to figure out why Bev betrayed him, and what he is going to do with the rest of his life. In pitch-perfect first-person narration, LaCour lets us come along on this life-changing week for four friends on the cusp of adulthood, giving us the chance to eavesdrop on conversations by turn wry and wrenching. Stopping by a kids' roadside lemonade stand, Meg tells Bev and Colby to put aside their strained relationship for the moment, "because all memories of lemonade stands are and forever must be pure and good and beautiful. Understood?" LaCour understands the inchoate yearnings of smart, sensitive, creative teens as few authors do. She has written a novel that is pure and good and beautiful. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Mauree Schroeder
The Disenchantments is a story about friendships, change, and finding your true calling. The characters are realistic and easy to identify with, despite their unlikely lifestyle. The story is timeless and written in a modern way; the cursing is vulgar, but not overly so. In the end, readers will feel like they have experienced summer break, through the relationships and interactions of the characters. Reviewer: Mauree Schroeder, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Jonatha Basye
Bev and Colby are not rushing off to college after graduation. The plan is to complete a summer tour with Bev's band, The Disenchantments, and then travel across the pond. They want to foster their creative abilities in Europe, tour the country, make great discoveries about life. Everything appears to be on track, until Bev drops a bombshell: she is going to college in the fall. Colby, feeling hurt and betrayed, tries to beg out of his spot on the tour before his friends scatter across the country. The girls ultimately persuade Colby to continue the trek across the Pacific Northwest, but he is lost. What will he do after everyone else has left him behind? LaCour's writing style is laid-back, low key, and totally on point. This book is like diving headfirst into the tour diary of The Runaways, Heart, Sleater-Kinney. The wonderful thing about this book is that it is character-driven. It is not about the music—it is about the relationships and connections that these kids make throughout the story. Their journey is told through song, pictures, people, and, ultimately, themselves. This is a story about self-discovery and figuring out who you are and where you need to be in the big scheme of things. It is not flashy or fluffy; it is just really good writing. Make this book a part of your collection—you will not be disappointed. Reviewer: Jonatha Basye
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Enchanting in its depiction of the cusp of young disenchantment, this realistic novel will hit home with many thoughtful YAs. Just after high school graduation but before a long-awaited trip to Europe for Colby and his best friend, Bev, comes a mini-tour, a handful of oddball gigs between San Fran and Portland for Bev's impassioned but technically weak girl band, all in less than a week. No surprise that Colby has been in love with her for longer than he can remember. Big surprise that she has been keeping secret her plan to attend RISD in the fall, not tour Paris and Stockholm. Bev's bandmates, Meg and Alexa, bass and drums respectively, round out the passengers in Colby's Uncle Pete's turquoise vintage VW bus. Lies and life sometimes get in the way of the carefully planned shows and highways, but the people the teens meet and the richness of their experiences take them where they need to go. Colby's dad's old band, a mysterious tattoo linked to a recording's cover art, conversations had and left unspoken, and lots of art—these provide some of the "mountains and canyons" of the contemplative but spectacular narrative. Characters and scenes are created with the same care and attention to detail that Bev spends on her tiny sculptures that allow the people and places of Colby's road trip of passage to pop to life. Profundities will be found or echoed for many readers: we all feel pain, need love, overcome fear, crave beauty—and lose ourselves and gain strength in the elemental force of music.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Colby and Bev plan to forgo college in favor of a brief tour with Bev's band, The Disenchantments, followed by a year traveling through Europe. But only hours into the trip, Bev makes an announcement that changes everything. Even among their alternative, artsy friends, Bev and Colby's decision to chase their dreams is a bold move. Following in his father's and his uncle's musical footsteps, Colby borrows Melinda, his uncle's beloved van, to ferry The Disenchantments from one seedy venue to the next. As they travel, the band mates are forced to face some difficult truths about each other and themselves. Each member of the band chronicles their trip in a unique way: journaling, taking photographs, drawing, even with a tattoo. Colby's continued devotion to the self-centered and dishonest Bev is at times irritating, but it is also completely real. Long-held secrets strain friendships and forge new bonds. The old friends quickly realize that dreams are a combination of holding on and letting go. Quirky characters, each with his or her own story, are woven into the narrative, creating a rich tapestry that will make readers confident that they are in the hands of a master storyteller. Hauntingly beautiful. (Fiction. 14 & up)
The Barnes & Noble Review

Everyone else in their San Francisco arts high school is on their way to college, but ever Colby and Bev, best friends since childhood, saw Godard's Bande ... Part during their freshman year of high school, they have been saving for a year in Europe. The plan: First, tour the Pacific Northwest one last time with Bev's rock band, the Disenchantments ("they aren't very good, but they play so loud the speakers crackle and the bass makes your bones tremble. And they look amazing"). Drop off friend and bandmate Meg at college in Portland. Next stop: Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin. But soon after they are on the road, Bev confesses: She's not going to Europe. Instead, she has secretly applied to, and been accepted by, RISD.

Colby feels betrayed and suddenly stranded without a plan for his post–high school life. As the not-quite couple and bandmates/sisters, Alexa and Meg, meander through basement shows and record stores in small Northern California towns up through the bohemian corridor, they are both dizzy and terrified by the sense that "everything is larger and more possible."

LaCour records the tiniest details of the indie scene — the bands, the dresses and lipstick shades, the difference between fans who know show etiquette and jackasses who don't get to the front of the stage — in a genuine, thoughtful way that, like its participants, is cool without ever trying too hard. Colby is a smart guy, "put together, but not fussy," he is told by two older guys who try to school him in his best possible beer choice, judging from his sneakers (vintage Nikes), belt (lime green canvas), and taste in books (Chandler, Hemingway). He turns out to be a Guinness man.

Even the parents provide a subtle hint of what's ahead: Meg and Alexa's two dads; Colby's uncle Pete, who lends him Melinda, his turquoise VW bus, and once wrote a song for Colby's parents' wedding that became a college radio hit, making him "briefly famous among a small circle of tenderhearted fans"; Colby's father, who, along with Pete, was once a member of a band called the Rainclouds, until he met Colby's mother in a SoMa bar; Colby's mother, who, as the story opens, has run off for language lessons in France, and whose illustration for the Rainclouds' record cover becomes the surprising trigger that leads her son to find his next move when he goes looking for two men who had the image tattooed on their backs nearly two decades before. When it all comes together for Colby, it's like seeing a blurry image in the background come into focus, without ever feeling forced or contrived.

Amy Benfer has worked as an editor and staff writer at Salon, Legal Affairs, and Paper magazine. Her reviews and features on books have appeared in Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, The Believer, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Times Book Review.

Reviewer: Amy Benfer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525422198
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 2/16/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 342,946
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Nina LaCour (www.ninalacour.com) is a high school English teacher and former bookseller. She is the author of the award-winning Hold Still. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives in Oakland, California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Quiet Stunner

    The characters in this book are so incredibly real. They frustrate you. You're embarrassed for them. They will break your heart in the most exquisitely fulfilling way imaginable. Most of all, their trials as they learn that life is almost never what you expected - but it can be achingly beautiful anyway - made me remember those same things too. I was touched by Colby, the narrator, and the way he saw these three special girls, his friends. I felt twisted and desperate for Bev, who loved Colby but maybe not the way he wanted, which is maybe the worst of feelings. The entire journey, from the first page until I ran out, left me breathless and in tears.

    I'm broken. And put back together and in love. All the feelings ever made. Read this book. My words can't do it justice.

    Recommend.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I was so lucky to have won an autographed copy of The Disenchant

    I was so lucky to have won an autographed copy of The Disenchantments from Christine Lee Zilka over at her blog: 800,000 words. Thank you again Christine! Check out her awesome blog.

    So this book was amazing! I loved it so much, which wasn't a surprise since Nina LaCour is an amazing writer who knows how to breathe life into her words. I absolutely loved Hold Still, and if you haven't checked out that book, you totally should.

    I don't usually gush about book covers, but this one is gorgeous! I love everything about it, especially the super cute girl with the huge sunglasses. I felt like the cover totally represented the story from beginning to end.

    What I loved most about this book: the main character, Colby. It was so refreshing to read a Young Adult novel with a main character who is male, not female. Where are all the male main characters out there in YA fiction? I know there are lots, but compared to the female ones, they seem scarce.

    Colby was such a lovable character. I could relate to him so much. I found myself surprised at how easily I connected to him and his complex journey. I loved that he was a (fellow) vegetarian and how humorous he was. The ending completely threw me off and I was really excited for him. I was also proud of him, too. I know he's a fictional character, but the writing was so strong it made me feel like he was a real person.

    I really liked the other characters, too. Bev, Meg and Alexa were so adorable, I'm not sure why I found them adorable but I did. I love girls in bands, which is another reason why I loved this novel. We need more girls playing guitars and screaming/singing into the mike! It made me want to take out my acoustic guitar and start strumming. I found that really inspiring.

    I also liked that there was so much art in this story. There was art literally everywhere, in all its forms, from photography to wood carving. It was awesome to see how art connected the different characters.

    This book isn't all rainbows and butterflies, though. I'm not going to give the plot away, but there are some serious issues in the story. Ones that continue to haunt the characters even after the last page is turned. Most of all there are trust issues. That is something that I could definitely relate to because I struggled with trust for the longest time.

    I recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    A Gorgeous Novel, Beautiful Writing

    THE DISENCHANTMENTS is one of the best books I have read in the last year. This book is full of rich, unusual, unique characters and settings and has such a deep heart and emotion to it. Talented artist Colby narrates this story of his week-long road trip with three female friends and musicians as they figure out what happens after graduation to their friendships and their loves. A coming-of-age story about the end of innocence in many ways, THE DISENCHANTMENTS is beautiful and true.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2013

    amazing! i couldn't put it down!

    amazing! i couldn't put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    loved every single moment

    loved every single moment

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2014

    A big fan of this author

    I've read Nina LaCour before and I wasn't disappointed. With this one, I really loved the story so much and the very real problems that were troubling Colby and his friends from moving to off to college to love and friendship. It wasn't the perfect book, but it's a good one to read while traveling or on vacation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    ColbyxBev

    I'll miss their little groupie. Its been a fun time reading about them and getting to feel the emotions shown through their characters. Awesome book and I suggest everyone read this and just get the feeling of what's like to grow up and make choices even when your friends aren't always part of them. <br> ~Yubrine, a.k.a QB

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  • Posted November 14, 2012

    I absolutely adored this book. It starts off kinda slow, but i

    I absolutely adored this book.

    It starts off kinda slow, but its so amazing. The characters are SO relatable. They have the same struggles and hopes and dreams and wishes and embarrassing stories as you do. I feel like she does a great job of really connecting you to the characters. You laugh, and cry with them. You feel their pain. You get mad at them. You feel for them.
    The story also deals with a lot of issues that people have, and I think they are all tackled very well. The book definitely leaves you thinking. It's one of those books where when it's over you have to just sit there for a couple minutes. Just sit there and think and take everything in.
    Overall I think this was a FANTASTIC book and I highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Impressive

    I would never pick up a book about a band since i feel music can't be described vividly. My librarian made me read it. I was wrong, the description is beautiful and the storyline is simple but filled with detail. I would recommend.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted June 1, 2012

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    Posted July 10, 2013

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    Posted June 21, 2012

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    Posted April 11, 2012

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    Posted December 30, 2012

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