Oliver's absence split us wide open, dividing our neighborhood along a fault line strong enough to cause an earthquake. An earthquake would have been better. At least during an earthquake, you understand why you're shaking. Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. But now Oliver is back, and he's not the skinny boy-next-door that used to be Emmy's best friend. Now he's the boy who got kidnapped. A stranger - a totally hot stranger! - with a whole history that Emmy knows nothing about. But is their story still meant to be? Or are they like the pieces of two different puzzles - impossible to fit together?
Simon and Schuster are publishing Emmy and Oliver this Thursday in the UK, and it sounds like a brilliant contemporary read for YA fans! As part of this blog tour, author Robin Benway has kindly shared her playlist along with notes - yay music!
Thanks to Robin for this piece and I hope you enjoy reading it!
Emmy & Oliver Playlist
by Robin Benway
Suburban War – Arcade Fire
“Now the cities we live in could be different stars / and I search for you in every passing car…”
“Oh, my old friends / They don’t know me now…”
This song is probably the reason why I started thinking about Emmy & Oliver in the first place. I had always sort of a vague idea in my mind about these two characters, but it was this Arcade Fire song (and frankly, this entire album) that started to solidify who they were.
Buzzcut Season – Lorde
“And I’ll never go home again / Place the call, feel it start / Favorite friend / And nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true / I live in a hologram with you…”
I basically listened to Lorde nonstop while writing Emmy & Oliver, since not only did the music sound right, but the lyrics seemed to summarize exactly what I wanted the characters to say to each other. I listened to this song over & over while writing the part where Emmy first teaches Oliver to surf.
Overjoyed – Bastille
“Oh I feel overjoyed when you listen to my words / I see them sinking in / Oh I see them crawling underneath your skin…”
When I first heard this song (thanks, Viral 50 on Spotify) I knew exactly what scene it would involve. I hadn’t even written that scene yet, but it was too perfect for the moment. It’s the first time that someone really listens to Oliver since he’s come home, and his friendship with Emmy grows because of it. If you’d like to read a snippet from that scene, continue on!
I Wanna Go – Summer Heart
“I had nothing to lose and I had no one to trust / and you were calling my name…”
I listened to this song obsessively when I wrote the surfing scenes for Emmy & Oliver. To me, it just sounded like summer and lazy days and the ocean. (Even though the book takes place during the spring. But whatever!) When I went online looking for information about this song, I found the most perfect fan-made video. If Emmy & Oliver had a book trailer (it doesn’t, sorry!) this is what I’d want it to look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5V6GVrmN70
Ribs – Lorde
“This dream isn’t feeling sweet / We’re reeling through the midnight streets / And I’ve never felt more alone / It feels so scary getting old…”
Lorde comes through yet again. This song was, for me, the background for the friendship between Caro, Drew, Emmy, and Oliver, and the way friendships shift and change, especially when someone new enters them. I also liked how they’re all on the cusp of change (college, moving out of their parents’ house, or, in Oliver’s case, coming home) and how these changes both pull them apart and push them together. Being seventeen is scary sometimes. Lorde gets it.
If You Do, You Don’t – Cartel
“So take me out, and take me anywhere / I’m out of touch with everything and I don’t care / So I must be out of my mind / And all that I have to give to you is all my time / So I’ll stay with you…”
So waaaay back in the day, I had this song on a soundtrack that was for a book that will never see the light of day. (Never.) But I listened to it obsessively while writing a few certain scenes, and I was so disappointed when I realized that it would never be on a soundtrack for a book that didn’t exist. Enter EMMY & OLIVER. Thanks, kids!
Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
“Park that car, drop that phone, sleep on the floor, dream about me…”
Emmy & Oliver is my fifth book, which means that I’ve been trying to get this song on a soundtrack for one of my books for AGES! And it finally worked! I always envisioned this song sound like late nights and wet grass, when you feel like you’re the only person awake in the world, listening to that one song on repeat. This would be that song.
Los Angeles – Denison Witmer
“All of these homes are lined up so straight / But here on the inside, it’s not that way / I gave you my life and more / From sadness to sunshine, I’m yours…”
I’m starting to realize that the subtitle of the Emmy & Oliver soundtrack could easily be “All the Songs that Robin Wanted to Put on a Book Playlist But Never Could.” Because here’s another one! I’ve loved this song for years, and when I wrote a Book That Will Never Be Published (you’re welcome), I loved this song for two of the characters. But with Emmy & Oliver, it just fits them so well. If only they actually lived in Los Angeles.
But it also fits their families, too, and the idea of trying to keep up appearances when you’re falling apart.
Silhouette (feat. Ellie Goulding) - Active Child
“Tell me that you’ll stay, even when I’m far away / My voice will carry through / Until the end it’s me & you / We can make it if we try / All that I’m saying is you’re home / You’ll never be alone…”
So this song pretty much wrecked me while I was writing one of the scenes toward the end of the novel. I first heard it in the car and I started crying because I knew it was basically Emmy and Oliver talking to one another. (Sometimes when you’re writing a book, you can get a smidge emotionally involved with your characters. Ahem.) I wanted to wait a few days after the book came out (now available for purchase at all fine bookstores, hooray!) because there are potential spoilers here. Not big ones, though. But still.
Say Something – A Great Big World
“You’re the one that I love / And I’m saying goodbye…”
[Click to enlarge]