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Title: Last Seen Leaving
Author: Caleb Roehrig
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Synopsis: Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?
Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
Songs that remind you of the book, a scene and/or character(s)
1. I Know There’s Something Going On – Frida
This song from 1982, about a relationship at its breaking point because of secrets and lies, is a perfect fit for Last Seen Leaving. Flynn, the main character, has been keeping secrets from his girlfriend, January—and when she disappears, he learns there were plenty of things she wasn’t telling him, either. With musical influences from the 80’s bigger than ever, this song also has a surprisingly contemporary feel to it.
2. We Are Young – Fun. (feat. Janelle Monáe)
Fun is one of the bands that January, the missing girl, particularly loves; this song, about (more or less) partying while your life falls apart, has this vibe of reckless cynicism that reminds me of her, Flynn, and their friends. Plus it’s super catchy.
3. Girls/Girls/Boys – Panic! at the Disco
P!atD is another group that January is really fond of, and an anthem about sexual fluidity seems incredibly apropos, given some of the themes of the novel.
4. Wrecking Ball – Freddy & Francine
First: this is NOT a cover of the Miley Cyrus song. Second: what it IS is a song about wanting to support someone in their darkest hour, and it put me in mind of a couple characters from Last Seen Leaving. In the book, January’s favorite indie band is a Detroit-based group called The Disasters; it’s actually a fake band some friends of mine and I invented, but I imagine them sounding a lot like Freddy & Francine, and I imagine that this song would be one of January’s favorites.
5. It’s Not – Aimee Mann
Aimee Mann’s music has gotten me through some bad times, and this song—about false friends and the paralysis of self-doubt—communicates feelings that both January and Flynn experience at one point or another throughout the course of the novel.
6. Black Sheep – Metric
Not to pound you over the head with symbolism, but January gets treated like the black sheep of her family, so this was an easy pick.
7. Venus Fly – Grimes (feat. Janelle Monáe)
This is a LOT of song. It’s got this clubby, electropop, butt-shaking, sexy/dangerous sound to it, BUT it’s also about challenging the power dynamic of dudes creeping on girls when they’re out to dance and have a good time. I think people who’ve read the book will understand why I chose it.
8. Let the Night Fall – Dragonette
In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m really into synthpop/80’s stuff lately. But, anyway. There’s a scene towards the end of the book where Flynn looks at a photo of himself and January that was taken at a pool party the previous summer; Let the Night Fall—a dreamy, catchy song about great nights with your friends—captures exactly what I think is going through his mind at that moment. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a lyric that literally goes “look at this picture of us / yeah, there’s so much love”.
9. Somebody Loves You – Betty Who
This choice is a little more out there. It’s so upbeat and dancey, like a bonus track from one of Madonna’s early albums, and it has this irrepressibly cheerful vibe that doesn’t totally square with my thriller about secrets and lies and possible murder/kidnapping; but I imagine January’s mother singing this song to her as a little girl, and it just feels right. Besides, the song is just so damn much fun, I couldn’t resist including it on the list.
Meet The Author
Win one (1) of three (3) copies of Last Seen Leaving