Bookmarks Issue: 
Nina LaCour

737232.pngNina LaCour, a high school English teacher, grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. Her 2009 debut, Hold Still, was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

The Story: Best friends for years, Bev and Colby know exactly what they’ll be doing after high school. First, Colby will accompany Bev and her untalented but charismatic three-girl band, The Disenchantments, on a five-day tour from San Francisco to Portland. Then the two will explore Europe for a year. But on the first day of the tour, Bev announces she’s changed her mind. Paris is out; instead, she will attend the Rhode Island School of Design. Though he is confused and hurt, nursing a hopeless crush on Bev and wondering why she kept her real plans secret, Colby decides to stick with the tour. And as Bev’s band travels through one grimy Podunk after another, Colby can’t help asking, What’s next for me?
Dutton Juvenile. 304 pages. $16.99. ISBN: 9780525422198

365 Days of Reading 4 of 5 Stars
"[A] quiet book; on the surface it seems to be a fun road-trip/bonding story, but Nina LaCour turns it into so much more. She has this way of taking your emotions and giving them a great big squeeze—there’s an enormous amount of power packed into her writing and the plights of the characters." Lauren

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"[H]er affection for NoCal is infused in this lovingly written, quietly compelling novel that will appeal to music fans and countercultural readers with its college radio soundtrack and tour stops at tattoo parlors, urban farms and independent coffee shops. … The Disenchantments is reality-based young adult fiction in the style of Sarah Dessen—well rendered, bittersweet and hopeful." Susan Carpenter

VOYA 4 of 5 Stars
"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." Jonatha Basye

YA Book Shelf 4 of 5 Stars
"Nina LaCour beautifully captures the influences of music and art to tell this group of friends’ coming of age story. … [A]n enchanting tale about growing up, finding yourself, falling in love, and all the complications involved." Melissa

Rather Be Reading 3 of 5 Stars
"I really enjoyed the characters and all their messed-up craziness. … When the suspense was over and I finally knew why Bev had changed her mind, I felt a little let down." Magan Blasig

Critical Summary

The cover of The Disenchantments features a cute girl in a rainbow T-shirt adjusting a pair of red, oversized sunglasses. It’s a playful, lighthearted image, but LaCour’s sophomore novel, narrated by a male, offers far more psychological depth than its cover suggests. Besides delving deeply into her characters’ secret hopes and fears, LaCour also "incorporates some postmodern allusions to art and music in general, and girl bands, tattoos, and graffiti artists in particular that will make readers want to check them out" (YA Bookshelf). One critic found Bev’s big secret a disappointment and the teens’ immaturity frustrating at times, but the other reviewers couldn’t praise the book enough. After all, opines the Los Angeles Times, "There’s nothing like the story of a vintage VW bus packed with teenagers road-tripping for the first time to explore what happens when two people make a pact and one of them breaks it."