Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
Release: February 16, 2012
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?
The Disenchantments is a thoughtful and introspective depiction of the journey a not-quite adult takes the summer after graduating from high school. Everyone from thirteen-year-olds pondering their collegiate futures to adults reminiscing on the old days will find truth in this watercolor of words that splash into a story that is as speculative as it is entertaining.
This novel, in some ways, is a classic road trip book full of teenage antics that so often define last summers together before college, but LaCour shines a brighter taillight on the emotions coursing through the characters that drive their actions. As a teenager who has plenty of time in high school ahead of her but who sees her future looming ominously yet enticingly ahead, I can testify that the author perfected her portrayal of the insecurity behind moving forward in life. This is only intensified by Colby's feeling of betrayal and confusion, Bev's apologetic visions for herself, and everyone else's desire to simply make their final shows together count, filling The Disenchantments with brilliant themes that are exactly reflective of anyone who has been or will be lost on the cusp of freedom and responsibility.
On the other hand, this honestly becomes a bit repetitive at times. The overload of emotions and internal conflicts may seem to drag out for miles surpassing those that the band drives on their tour, and I occasionally found myself searching for the refreshing moments of fun that were still supercharged with feeling. This is not a complaint as much as just something to point out, though, because I knew what I was getting into; The Disenchantments clearly relies more on interpersonal relationships and beautiful writing, and there is nothing wrong with that when done this well. This style is gorgeous in the way it allows the characters' lives to so closely mirror our own, creating a book that is more representative of our reality than almost anything else in the YA genre, which is something so often overlooked.
Best of all, LaCour's true-to-life narration allows her sophomore novel, just like her debut, to grow better and better in readers' minds long after they have turned the final page. Her writing has a unique quality that makes it impossible to ever fully fathom it, because your appreciation grows day after day into infinity, and the tales never leave your mind. It is as if the ideas need time to ferment and the characters are not quite done telling their stories and refuse to leave readers alone unless they listen. I love The Disenchantments even more now than I did while reading it, and I can guarantee that my adoration will continue to grow insatiably.
This writing method is incredibly rewarding for readers, especially those who do find reason to become slightly disinterested as the summer days go by. You have my word that it all will become worth it after you turn the last page, not that it is a hardship to get there, because the story only improves as it is pondered.
The Disenchantments is one of those books that beg to be remembered, and will kick and scream and fight to do just that. Its haunting realism is a precise portrait of aspects of life experienced by people of all ages, and its fundamental look at a turning point in a few teenagers' road maps can never, ever be banished.