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

Bad Boys Brood, Bad Girls Are “Unlikeable”

By Julie C. Dao Picture this: a male anti-hero strutting onto the page, cape billowing, eyes burning, the perfect smolder on his lips as he lies, cheats, and kills. He wins us over with his careless smirk and well-placed sarcasm, and readers are eager to defend him when he performs terrible deeds. “There’s a reason … Continued
See More

Marie Lu Talks Warcross’ Emika Chen and reveal a new Wildcard teaser quote

We’re getting closer EVERY DAY to the Wildcard’s release and Marie Lu keeps giving us that teaser love! This week we’re talking all things Emika Chen – our beloved heroic girl in the middle of a world changing game. We asked Marie what fans could expect for Emika heading into Wildcard and her answer will … Continued
See More

The EMBER IN THE ASHES Series Re-Read is Here!

If you’re like us, you’ve been eagerly awaiting A Reaper at the Gates, the third book in the Ember in the Ashes series from Sabaa Tahir! As we count down to June 12, we realized that we need a bit of a refresher on where we left off with Laia, Elias, and Helene. Never read … Continued
See More

Amy Rose Capetta’s non-binary love story and definitions that could change lives

The Brilliant Death is a book about Teodora and Cielo, two characters who don’t fit in the box of “cis boy” or “cis girl”.   It’s a nonbinary love story. It is, in many ways, my story. But in the world of Vinalia, there are no words or definitions of gender outside of a limited … Continued
See More

SEAFIRE author Natalie C. Parker destroys the toxic myth of “not like other girls”

By Natalie C. Parker   I’m a feminist and was from a very young age. For this I thank my mother, whose brand of feminism at the time might be summarized by her insistence that my sister and I were welcome to paint our nails as long as we kept them short enough to make … Continued
See More

On Writing with Your Significant Other by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

In the summer of 2015, we were young and in love. We were two college graduates working our first jobs in Los Angeles, grateful to be sharing a city following four years of long-distance. Our relationship was better for it, and we wondered what was next. We thought: why not introduce a huge new emotional … Continued
See More

6 Authors You Need to Follow on Instagram Right Now

Because everyone needs something to balance out all the cat memes and obscure Instagram ads for sunblock, we’ve compiled a list of authors on Instagram to bring an extra dose of #writinglife to your feed.   Jenn Marie Thorne You may know Jenn for her lovable contemporary tales The Wrong Side of Right and The Inside of Out. But … Continued
See More

The Horse Effect – When animals help healing

If you love Sarah Dessen but instead of the beach, want a cowboy, a horse and a romance to make you swoon then you might just be looking for Kristen Chandler and her debut novel Thief of Happy Endings. Cassidy Carrigan wasn’t planning to ever get on a horse again. She wasn’t even planning on … Continued
See More

Here’s Everything You Missed During Ransom Riggs’ Reddit AMA

Fans joined in on the Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with Ransom Riggs today to get the scoop on everything from A Map of Days release (OCTOBER 2!!!!) to the integrity of chocolate chip cookies. But if you missed it, don’t worry – we’ve pulled out the best answers including a VERY specific cookie preference … Continued
See More

Q&A with Michael Belanger, author of THE HISTORY OF JANE DOE

The History of Jane Doe, Michael Belanger’s debut YA novel comes out this June, and we sat down for a Q&A with him about the book! The History of Jane Doe is a poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning. Kirkus called it … Continued
See More
BACK TO TOP