Crush/Heartbreak/First Love YA Book Series Playlist by Krysten Lindsay Hager
I write books for teens and preteens with both my Landry’s True Colors Series and my Star Series. That means I write a lot about dealing with crushes, unrequited love, what ifs, if onlys, and then those first loves—those innocent sweet times we remember when we look back. When writing those types of scenes, I like to listen to music first to get in the right frame of mind. Sometimes I play songs that are more like the crush type of relationships so I put on music such as the Taylor Swift or R5 variety. I often play songs from when I was a preteen way before I ever had any guys returning my feelings! Sometimes it’s those memories from before the girl/boy dances that stand out even more than the ones from the actual years when I did have a boyfriend—or when I did one of those things where you referred to it as, “going with someone,” and your parents (or any adult in a five-mile radius) would ask, “What does that mean?” And you couldn’t really answer because you didn’t know either. I actually had one of my character’s grandmother’s ask her what that meant.
I’m not sure why the pre-relationship songs stand out more in my memory, but they are what fuels the stories more than the songs I listened to when I was actually the age of Landry and Hadley (my teenage main characters). Maybe it’s because the crushes were filled with those “if only,” or “what if,” feelings that made it seem like anything was possible or if it was easier to get more caught up in a fantasy, but the pre-relationships songs I grew up listening to are often what I put on before I start to write a scene. Some of those songs include singles from Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
I also have my set of heartbreak songs that I put on before writing either an unrequited love scene or a break up scene. For those I like Boyce Avenue’s “Change Your Mind,” Clark Manson’s “Track 9,” Mariah Carey’s “Can’t Let Go.” And then there are the defiant, I don’t need a relationship song, in which I turn to the classic, “Girlfriend,” by Pebbles. Here’s a list of songs I use by category:
Becky G- Shower
The perfect first crush song. I can see Landry singing this in…where else? The shower!
Taylor Swift-You Belong With Me
I can imagine Landry singing this song in her head while she’s trying to figure out who her crush, Vladi, is really interested in.
A cute boy/girl first crush song. Plus, I imagine Ross Lynch as looking like Vladi Yagudin.
How Will I Know-Whitney Houston
I can totally see Landry dancing to this in her bedroom as she wonders if her crush likes her as more than a friend and then asking her best friends (Peyton and Ashanti) to decipher every text and email Vladi sends her. I’ve been a Whitney fan since I was a little girl, so I can imagine Landry and her mom would play Whitney’s music a lot at home.
Sweet Romance Songs:
Taylor Swift-Today was a Fairytale
This song would be perfect for Landry to listen to after Vladi asks her to be his girlfriend. Such a sweet song.
Be With You—The Bangles
The ultimate crush song. The Bangles were a huge influence for me as a tween and I can picture Landry humming this while doing her homework and thinking about her crush, Vladi. It’s the perfect crush song.
Whole Wide World—A'me Lorain
This song so captures what it feels like when you have that first big crush. It’s so poppy and fun. I imagine Landry singing this in her bedroom (into her hairbrush!) after seeing Vladi at the basketball game.
A Thousand Years—Christina Perri or Boyce Avenue’s version:
I listened to the Boyce Avenue version, but both are beautiful and can wring tears from concrete
Change Your Mind—Boyce Avenue-
The leader singer has this vulnerability to his voice and so do the lyrics. It really fits what you feel right after a breakup. This song helped me get into the mood to write the scenes with Vladi and Landry when she wants to be back together with him.
Track 9—Clark Manson
Since I heard this one a few months ago it’s been a go-to for writing heartbreak scenes. Love it!
Mariah Carey’s-Can’t Let Go
I was in the grocery store when they started playing this song and it was such a sad, desperate song that really got to me (as I shopped for soap). I hadn’t heard it in years, but I came home and downloaded it onto my ipod and put it on repeat to get in the right mood for the breakup scene. My husband officially hates this song now due to my overplaying it.
This song is about a girl who tries to tell her friend she deserves a better boyfriend. I think this would be one song Landry would listen to when the girls deal with the doubts Yasmin’s tries to put in Landry’s head by making her think Vladi is interested in Yasmin and not Landry.
Krysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series and the new Star Series. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? And Landry in Like, as well as in, Next Door to a Star (Star Series). Her sequel to Next Door to a Star will be out March 22 2016.
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Best Friends Forever, the latest book in the Landry's True Colors Series
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