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Feeling Musical? There’s a Book for Your Broadway Craving!

by  | December 31

There’s nothing like watching or listening to a good Broadway musical, the soundtrack of which can always be counted on to lead you down a passionate, high-energy narrative of love, loss, and growth while you scream the lyrics in your car. A good book is a pretty close second, though. And there are plenty of books that can sate the storytelling cravings brought on by an amazing musical. So whether you’re a die-hard musical nerd, or just looking for some new book recommendations to inspire a different side of you, here are six musical-book pairings that will have you singing and dancing down the aisles between bookshelves.

My Dear Hamilton

My Dear Hamilton

by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

For Hamilton fans:

If you’ve never heard of Hamilton, then you have been missing out on a phenomenon that has shaken the theater world to its core. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton has not only reinvigorated the historical fiction genre and the musical world, but also sparked interest in the complicated lives of early Americans. One of the musical’s most beloved figures is Alexander’s devoted wife, Elizabeth “Eliza” Schuyler, who sings the powerful ballad “Burn” after Alexander makes his affair with another woman public. If you’re desperate to learn more about her (despite her erasing herself from the narrative, as the song “Burn” goes), give My Dear Hamilton a try. The novel, a fictionalized retelling of Schuyler’s life based on thousands of letters and original sources, leads readers through the tumultuous world of a general’s daughter turned founding father’s wife. The book also explores Eliza’s life after Alexander’s death by duel, highlighting how passionate and driven she was. If you cried at Hamilton (no shame, we all did!), then grab those tissues and dive into this beautifully written story.

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Sing You Home

Sing You Home

by Jodi Picoult

For The Prom fans:

Being a teenager sucks. Being a gay teenager in Indiana sucks even more, as we see in the hit musical The Prom. Emma finds herself stuck in a tough situation when she faces backlash for wanting to take a girl to prom. Suddenly, the media is getting involved, four actors from New York are barging in to try and fix it, and Emma’s girlfriend, Alyssa (who is still in the closet), is more hesitant than ever to come out. In Sing You Home, music therapist Zoe finds herself in a similar situation. After marrying her partner, Vanessa, Zoe wants to use one of her frozen embryos, which she made with her ex-husband Max, to have a child. However, Max is persuaded to sue Zoe for the rights to the embryos, and the entire lawsuit becomes a media circus. Zoe strives to fight for her right not only as an LGBTQ individual to have kids but also to understand her own identity and legitimize her marriage. So if your “Unruly Heart” is looking for a good read with characters that fight for what’s right, consider adding this book to your TBR.

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The Last Tudor

The Last Tudor

by Philippa Gregory

For Six fans:

History gets overthrown in the amazing West End musical Six, which is making its way to Broadway this season. The wives of King Henry VIII take to the stage in a pop-inspired musical to sing their truths and rectify history’s stereotypes about them. But there’s one more Tudor woman that history often overlooks: Lady Jane Grey, Henry VIII’s cousin and a pawn in her father’s political games. Due to his machinations, Jane was crowned queen for nine days before the throne was taken by Henry’s daughter Mary and her supporters. Philippa Gregory’s excellent novel The Last Tudor delves into the lives of Jane and her two sisters, all of whom rebel in small ways under the monarchs they hold court with. Full of intrigue, courage, and Gregory’s signature captivating prose, all you’ll want to do is get one more chapter in. If you’re a fan of Tudor women taking back what’s theirs, there’s “No Way” you can miss out on this read!

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The Hundred Year Flood

The Hundred Year Flood

by Matthew Salesses

For Come from Away fans:

Come from Away chronicles the amazing and heartbreaking true story of passengers from 38 different flights who were diverted to Newfoundland on September 11, 2001. The various characters of the play, passengers and Canadians alike, deal with the fallout of the news as well as trying to figure out who they are now in the wake of a mass tragedy that has turned everything around. If this kind of introspection in the face of disaster is the type of narrative you’re looking for, then you’ll also be drawn to The Hundred-Year Flood. The book follows Tee, a twenty-two-year-old Korean-American who escapes to Prague in the wake of his uncle’s suicide in the aftermath of 9/11. There his life gets tangled up with the artist Pavel, his wife Katka, and their companion Rockefeller, as he tries to figure out who he is in a strange new land. The work’s dream-like narrative, particularly from Tee’s perspective, captures feelings of loss, confusion, and a sometimes murky sense of what it means to belong. No matter where you come from, or who you are, these two works will touch your heart and remind you how we are all connected.

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The Flood Girls

The Flood Girls

by Richard Fifield

For Waitress fans:

Sometimes life is a hard left turn down a road you never thought you’d see, or at least that’s how it is for the characters in the show Waitress. The hit musical written by Sara Bareilles, and based on the movie of the same name, follows Jenna, a small-town waitress who makes incredible pies and discovers she is unexpectedly, and undesirably, pregnant. With the help of her friends, her very attractive obstetrician, and the diner’s owner, she finds the strength to not only leave her abusive husband but also to believe in herself. In that same vein, Richard Fifield’s The Flood Girls features a heroine trying to change by heading back to her small Montana hometown. To say Rachel caused a whirlwind nine years ago in the town of Quinn would be an understatement. Newly sober, she’s come to make amends to everyone, including her mother, Laverna, but finds it’s going to take a lot more than a few apologies to start over. Full of wit, personal growth, and hope for opening up to a new day, both Waitress and The Flood Girls will leave you walking on air and believing in the power of change.

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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

by Lee Israel

For The Music Man fans:

Sure, this latest production of the musical is stirring up a bit of controversy for nudging another show out of its theater (I love Beetlejuice too!), but there are lots of ways to enjoy The Music Man. Harold Hill comes to the small town of River City, Iowa, with a con in mind to make some cash before heading out—by pretending to set up a marching band. However, soon he finds himself drawn to the town and its inhabitants, and suddenly he has to find a way out of his own con. In Can You Ever Forgive Me? author Lee Israel finds herself in a similar situation when she begins forging letters from famous literary figures in order to make money. But as her forgeries are discovered and her personal life starts to get more complicated, Israel faces some serious consequences, including jail time. Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a confessional memoir written by Israel about how she and friend Jack came up with various forgeries and sold them to collectors. Given that both The Music Man and Can You Ever Forgive Me? are also films, you can enjoy the allure of “76 Trombones” and juicy literary forgeries in more ways than one.

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Photo Credit // Gwen Ong on Unsplash

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A reporter by trade, Sara Roncero-Menendez is a lover of horror, sci-fi, and all things pop culture. From indies to classics to even the strangest genre pieces, all movies, TV shows, and books are fair game for a binge-fest. Follow her on Twitter @sararomenen or at her website, www.sara-roncero-menendez.com