As usually happens when The Disenchantments start a show for strangers instead of just kids at our school, the crowd stares at them in a stunned silence.
One of my favorite things about The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour is that The Disenchantments are a terrible band. In that way, the story reverses expectations, so that the reader knows this isn’t the typical rise and fall of a band narrative.
What it is instead is the story of a boy and his best friend (and two of their friends) and how that best friend also reverses expectations and does something unexpected and heartbreaking. See, Cody and Bev had always planned to travel after high school, but Bev changes her mind and doesn’t tell Cody until they’re on their last hurrah–taking their band on tour up the West Coast to drop their friend Meg off at college.
While I read The Disenchantments in one afternoon, the book ultimately fell flat for me. It has a lot of elements I like (friendship issues, road trip, seriously contemplating The Future), but Meg and Alexis (the other members of the band) never felt like fully realized characters. I mean, sure Meg gets a badass tattoo and Alexis keeps a book of jobs, but other than that, I could barely tell them apart. Also, Bev is a heartbreaker and beautiful and silent and moody and…that’s about it. Not to mention, Cody isn’t that interesting either. He draws! He loves Bev! That’s about all I got from him.
So, I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters nor did I particularly care about what happened to them. (Aside from Jasper. LOVE Jasper.) In fact, I just felt like a spectator during most of the story, so could never fully escape into the world.
Also, I am kind of annoyed that that the book cover isn’t Cody’s band poster art.
To end this on a more up note, I really appreciated LaCour’s treatment of Bev’s bisexuality. Bev kisses boys and she kisses girls. The end. No need to discuss that she’s bisexual and what it means and blah blah blah. It’s a matter-of-fact part of Bev’s character that doesn’t even need to be named. Very well-handled.
In conclusion: The book is well-written and has some interesting elements; I just couldn’t really connect with it.