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What songs capture the essence of YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE – a powerful novel about five teens whose struggles with friendship and self-identity are the subject of a widely acclaimed documentary film series? What songs are coming to mind? Jennifer Castle is here with a playlist that she listened to while writing this novel.

 

 

Jennifer Castle on her playlist:

Oh, how I love me a road trip. Whether you’re driving alone or with other people, there’s something about that combination of speed, scenery, and suspended reality that just makes things happen. That’s why I was really happy to include a road trip in You Look Different in Real Life, and even happier to put together this playlist. Some of these songs are from my actual writing playlist for the book, some are songs I simply love driving to…and many are both. Start your engines!

1. “Heroes” by David Bowie: The centerpiece of my You Look Different in Real Life writing playlist. It’s all kinds of powerful, especially if you’re listening to it while in motion. It was my way of reminding Justine and her friends that yes, they can still be the heroes of their own stories. So can we all.

2. “Raise Your Glass” by Glee Warblers: Another key song from my writing playlist. For some reason, it has to be this version. (I love Pink, but I love Glee more, and here Darren Criss’s lead vocals provide just the right edge.) Hit hard on the gas pedal and own your dirty-little-freakness.

3. “Kiss Off” by Violent Femmes: Sometimes you’re driving because you’re angry–at someone, at something, at everything–and you gotta leave that anger in the rearview mirror, at least for a little while. This song should be part of any road trip just so you can shout the epic counting part at the top of your lungs, windows down, pounding on the dashboard.

4. “Someone Take the Wheel” by The Replacements: There’s a great metaphor on this track from another of my all-time favorite bands. Haven’t we all just wanted someone else to take the wheel for a while? Driving this life is EXHAUSTING.

5. “Forever Young” by Alphaville: I first heard this song sitting at my bedroom desk in high school, my radio tuned to the only “New Wave” station in the area. It’s a constant reminder that when life randomly offers you a chance to embrace joy and all the possibilities out there for you, please, please, TAKE IT!

6. “Black or White” by Michael Jackson: Iconic through and through, with a road-loving riff. Nobody in the car will be able to resist sit-dancing to this one. Stick your hands out the window and do silly things with them to annoy the drivers behind you.

7. “Put the Message in the Box” by World Party: So the lyrics here are both literal and metaphorical when it comes to road trips. Both ways, it’s a killer, inspiring song-on-the-move. What’s your message in the box? When will you get heard?

8. “Kids in America” by Kim Wilde: I was a teenager when this song came out, and even though I was a total nerd who could only dream of being as badass as Kim Wilde, it felt like a battle cry. When I hear it, I still feel like I’m hurtling toward some amazing future.

9. “Freetime” by Kenna: Bust out of yourself with this one, especially if you need to “ride, ride to oblivion.” I can also imagine Kenna being one of Felix’s music idols.

10. “Stop and Stare” by OneRepublic: From the writing playlist. These slower, more introspective songs are important on road trips, especially if the lyrics and passing scenery give you a chance to ponder something with a fresh perspective.

11. “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” by Paul Simon: Getting sleepy? Wake up! Let the guitar rhythm here give your wheels some extra bounce. Just try NOT to sing along. I dare you.

12. “Kids” by MGMT: Another one from the writing playlist that I also love driving to. The lyrics really move me, and I always picture Felix playing synth on this.

13. “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine: I listened to a lot of Florence songs while writing Playing Keira, but this one captured Keira for me best. This might have inspired her to finally seek what she wants so badly to find. Go ahead, Keira. Shake it out!

14. “We Are All Made of Stars” by Moby: At this point you could ask: Well, Jen, which is it? Are we heroes, or are we made of stars? We are both, and everything in between. We are whatever we want to see on the horizon up ahead, just on the other side of the windshield.

 

Jennifer Castle is the author of The Beginning of After (available now) and You Look Different In Real Life (on sale June 4th, 2013).

Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Jennifer_Castle!