Keep Me Posted!

Sign me up for the latest news from Penguin Teen, including new books, special offers, and promotions.

Love, Death & Shakespeare: A SPEAK OF ME AS I AM Playlist by Sonia Belasco

SHARE

Sometimes you read a book and think to yourself “I need the soundtrack of this.” Sometimes, you’re so lucky that the author creates one for you! Speak of Me as I Am by Sonia Belasco is a moving story of grief, honesty, and the healing power of art – the ties that bind us together, even when those we love are gone. Read a bit more about the book below, then grab your headphones and start listening!

 

About the book:

Melanie and Damon are both living in the shadow of loss. For Melanie, it’s the loss of her larger-than-life artist mother, taken by cancer well before her time. For Damon, it’s the loss of his best friend, Carlos, who took his own life. As they struggle to fill the empty spaces their loved ones left behind, fate conspires to bring them together. Damon takes pictures with Carlos’s camera to try to understand his choices, and Melanie begins painting as a way of feeling closer to her mother. But when the two join their school’s production of Othello, the play they both hoped would be a distraction becomes a test of who they truly are, both together and on their own. And more than anything else, they discover that it just might be possible to live their lives without completely letting go of their sadness.

 

Onto the playlist!

 

1. “Better Days” – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

I love this optimistic, unsentimental look at how to envision a better future when things are tough. That to me is Damon and Melanie’s relationship in a nutshell.

 

2. “Godawful Things” – Lake Street Dive

What an upbeat song about how terrible life can be! But it’s so important to be grateful for the people who come into your life when you’re struggling, as those connections often become the strongest.

 

3. “Trust in Me” – Etta James

Etta James – besides being an awesome and legendary soul songstress – is a point of intersection for Melanie and Damon, a touchstone.

 

4. “You’ve Got to Learn” – Nina Simone

Nina Simone sings about grief like no other, because she knew that one of the hardest parts of being sad is pretending you’re okay.

 

5. “Stay” – The Suffers

Both Melanie and Damon love soul music, and this is the kind of contemporary soul I imagine they would listen to together (and maybe make out a little?).

 

6. “Mother” – Florence & the Machine

This fierce song represents Melanie’s mother and the scope of that loss.

 

7. “Patchwork Lover” – Noah Guthrie

Melanie and Damon are both coming apart at the seams, trying to help stitch each other back together.

 

8. “Apologize” – Kacey Musgraves

I like this stripped-down version of the One Republic song, which has always been Damon and Carlos’s theme song in my mind. Grief often comes with a desire to say you’re sorry, but it can feel like it’s too little, too late.

 

9. “Shelter” – Ray LaMontagne

Melanie and Damon are definitely each other’s shelter in the storm that is loss, but they also lost those that sheltered them.

 

10. “Rooks” – Shearwater

This song has always resonated with me as being about that hard-to-define sadness that comes with loss. It feels almost funereal.

 

11. “Can’t Go Back Now” – The Weepies

Personally, this song has helped me in moving forward when so much of my attention feels focused on the past, and I imagine it would help Damon and Melanie too.

 

12. “I Miss You” – Beyonce

Beyonce may be talking about the end of a romance here, but that is a form of grief too.

 

13. “Higher Love” – James Vincent McMorrow

I see Melanie and Damon’s story as a hopeful one, a search for a higher love, a way of rising from the ashes.

 

 

 

 

Get your copy of Speak of Me as I Am!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#AuthorSpotlight

9 1/2 Things We Learned and Loved From Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana Documentary

If you found yourself deeply emotionally invested in Taylor Swift’s recent Netflix documentary, you’re not alone. And luckily, our fav YA couple IRL, Austin Siegemund-Broka & Emily Wibberley (Wibbroka, if you will) are also HUGE fans. So, they sat down to recap their top nine (and a half) things we learned (and loved) from Taylor Swift’s … Continued
See More

A Q&A with Adib Khorram

We are IN LOVE with the cover for Darius the Great Deserves Better, and it got us thinking about some questions we have both about the cover and what to expect going into book 2! Luckily, Adib Khorram was kind enough to answer our questions. Scroll down for the Q&A! A Q&A with Adib Khorram! Q: We … Continued
See More

9 Authors who absolutely cannot wait for The Beautiful!

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is hitting shelves in just a couple of weeks, and there are a few beloved YA authors who have some early tickets to the hype train 🌹📚   From Queen Marie Lu,   To the amazing Sarah Nicole Lemon! “And to think I read it as a Word doc. I feel so … Continued
See More

12 Things to Remember About The Brilliant Death Before You Start Reading The Storm of Life

We are SO excited that The Storm of Life is officially on shelves! But in case you need a quick refresher since reading The Brilliant Death, we asked author Amy Rose Capetta to recap the major stuff! Read her recap below! 1. Teodora di Sangro is a strega. A strega is a witchy-type of person, each one with a … Continued
See More

Plotting with Rosaria Munda

If you’ve been paying attention to the goings on of YA, you’ve probably have noticed a whole lot of chatter about the amazingness that is Fireborne by Rosaria Munda. Between the dragons, political intrigue, and wildly complex relationships of characters that had our hearts absolutely aching, Rosaria Munda pretty much captivated fantasy shelves everywhere. And that’s why we decided to … Continued
See More

The first excerpt of Steel Tide…with Natalie C. Parker’s commentary!

With Seafire‘s stunning paperback glow-up now gracing shelves and Steel Tide just around the corner, it’s time for an excerpt! Not just any excerpt though…we’ve got author commentary! Natalie C. Parker is giving insider info and commentary on all things Caledonia in the first riveting (annotated!) chapter of STEEL TIDE! Find the excerpt and her notes below with … Continued
See More

Penguin Teen on Tour!

Not one, not two, but THREE internationally bestselling authors are coming together for the book tour of a lifetime! From historical fantasy, to royal intrigue, to dystopian survival, authors Marie Lu, Melissa de la Cruz, and Astrid Scholte are ready to celebrate some of 2020’s biggest books, and you’re invited! Check below to see if they’re coming … Continued
See More

Rosaria Munda’s Fantasy Book Recs!

Fireborne is Rosaria Munda’s thrilling fantasy debut. In case you’re new to this Game of Thrones meets Harry Potter fantasy you’ve always needed in your life story, here’s a bit about the book! About Fireborne: Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing … Continued
See More

5 Life Lessons from Netflix’s CHEER

Author Jennifer Iacopelli of Break the Fall, like us, is a HUGE fan of Netflix’s addictive new original: CHEER. So, we asked her to share her top five takeaways! Here are 5 life lessons from Netflix’s CHEER.   Try New Things   Take a page out of Gabi Butler’s book and don’t be afraid to try something … Continued
See More

Welcome to the We Are YA Podcast!

YA books are longer than 280 characters. Conversations about YA should be too. Welcome to the We Are YA podcast! Over 7 episodes, host Anna Borges will be talking all all things YA with the amazing authors that make up the modern YA community. Here is where you can find additional information and links to each episode! … Continued
See More
BACK TO TOP