The Disenchantments, by Nina LaCour
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
“Things happen for a reason. It doesn’t make sense now, but eventually, it will.”
This past week, I could feel myself sinking into a reading slump. No book was catching my attention at all. I even picked up a book by my favorite author, but I was too out of it to truly appreciate it, so I stopped.
The blame could only be placed on one thing:
*Heavy breathing.* Fucking volleyball anime.
Anyway. I figured that what I needed was a change of scene. I’d been reading a lot of fantasy lately, so I switched to a contemporary. I needed something fast and light; I needed something easy to absorb.
Nina LaCour was the woman for the job.
Her books are some of my favorite contemporaries of all time. Her writing is low-key and mellow. It’s like sinking into a warm bath, almost. Sometimes there are ripples, but they calm down quickly. You would think that that would make her books rather boring, but it’s just the opposite: the pages fly by so fast, you don’t know what hit you.
“It’s incredible,” she says, “how much damage everyone does to everybody else.”
This story is about an all-girl band and Colby, the protagonist and roadie, who go on a one-week tour as a last pact of friendship before they are all divided by their different paths. Colby and his best friend, Bev, are supposed to be going on a trip across Europe right after the tour, but just as it begins she breaks it to him that she’s going to college instead. This wrecks Colby emotionally and sends him spiraling, wondering what he’s going to do next.
The main theme of this book is, of course, the future. It’s about where you’re going and what you want to do with your life, and also how you’re going to deal with the people you leave behind. The sentimentality in The Disenchantments – as is in every one of Nina LaCour’s works – hits me hard. This book is very hipster-esque and has a lot of emotionally-ridden quotes, but they don’t feel forced. They don’t make the characters seem too wise for their age. Nina LaCour perfectly captures the voice of a teenager struggling to puzzle out their life.
As a chord reverberates through through the tiny room, I decide that it can’t be that hard to be the person you want to be. What’s difficult is finding a place in a world with other people, who want different things for themselves.
I struggled to like Bev. She reminds me of Alaska Young too much for my comfort, but like Alaska, I didn’t let Bev ruin the experience for me. Both characters are distant and mysterious, and it makes me hate them. However, Bev eventually fleshes out and becomes more of a real person instead of something straight out of a cliche. I don’t know if the romance between her and Colby was necessary, but I do think that there would’ve been a lot less going on, so I don’t mind so much. I also love the way Nina LaCour casually slipped in her bisexuality, because nothing makes me happier than an undercurrent of LGBTQIA in a book that’s not about being gay at all.
Perhaps The Disenchantments is more about personal taste. Maybe I’m biased because I’m such a big fan of her work, but I love every book that Nina LaCour writes. Her work is so tender and easy to dive into, making them the perfect thing to read even if I don’t feel like reading. I’m so excited for her new book coming out in February, because I know I’m going to love it just as much.