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Take 5: You Spin Me Right Round, Baby: YA Books About Records

Record Store Day is Saturday, April 18.  As a music fanatic, I think this is a day worth celebrating.


From their website: “Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 at a gathering of independent record store owners and employees as a way to celebrate and spread the word about the unique culture surrounding nearly 1400 independently owned record stores in the US and thousands of similar stores internationally. There are Record Store Day participating stores on every continent except Antarctica.”


This year’s ambassador for Record Store Day is Dave Grohl. On the website, he writes, “Every weekend I couldn’t wait to take my hard earned lawn mowing cash down for an afternoon full of discovery. And, the chase was always as good as the catch! I spent hours flipping through every stack, examining the artwork on every cover, the titles and credits, searching for music that would inspire me, or understand me, or just to help me escape. These places became my churches, my libraries, my schools. They felt like home. And, I don’t know where I would be today without them.”


I spent a HUGE part of my teen years hanging out at Ernie November Records in Mankato, Minnesota. Other than going to shows and buying books, most of my babysitting money went to buying albums at Ernie’s. Some of my other favorite record store haunts as a teen were Extreme Noise in Minneapolis and Oar Folkjokeopus in Minneapolis. Lots of great music and zines purchased at all of those shops over the years.


To help celebrate Record Store Day, set up a display of YA books about record stores and musicians. Here are a few to get you started. These books take place in record stores, star DJs, and show what happens when you’re the subject of a hit song. Summaries via the publisher.


Take 5: You Spin Me Right Round, Baby: YA Books About Records


The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz

ISBN-13: 9780061715839

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date: 12/22/2009


Summer is here, and 16-year-old Allie, a self-professed music geek, is exactly where she wants to be: working full-time at Berkeley’s ultra-cool Bob and Bob Records. There, Allie can spend her days bantering with the street people, talking the talk with the staff, shepherding the uncool bridge-and-tunnel shoppers, all the while blissfully surrounded by music, music, music. It’s the perfect setup for her to develop her secret identity as The Vinyl Princess, author of both a brand-new zine and blog. From the safety of her favourite place on earth, Allie is poised to have it all: love, music and blogging.
Her mother, though, is actually the one getting the dates, and business at Allie’s beloved record store is becoming dangerously slow—not to mention that there have been a string of robberies in the neighbourhood. At least her blog seems to be gaining interest, one vinyl junkie at a time….


Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills 

ISBN-13: 9780738732510

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

Publication date: 10/8/2012

Read my review here


“This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. I’m Gabe. Welcome to my show.”

My birth name is Elizabeth, but I’m a guy. Gabe. My parents think I’ve gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know I’m right. I’ve been a boy my whole life.

When you think about it, I’m like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B side—not heard as often, but just as good.

It’s time to let my B side play.

Winner of the 2014 Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature.


Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

ISBN-13: 9781442497603

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Publication date: 9/2/2014

Read my review here


This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything.

It’s a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop and is trying to find her place in the world. It’s about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It’s about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It’s about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It’s about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music.

And it’s about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff.


Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway 

ISBN-13: 9781595141927

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Publication date: 4/2/2009


When funny, charming, absolutely-normal Audrey Cuttler dumps her boyfriend Evan, he writes a song about her that becomes a number-one hit-and rockets Audrey to stardom!

Suddenly, tabloid paparazzi are on her tail and Audrey can barely hang with her friends at concerts or the movies without getting mobbed-let alone score a date with James, her adorable coworker at the Scooper Dooper. Her life will never be the same-at least, not until Audrey confronts Evan live on MTV and lets the world know exactly who she is!


DJ Rising by Love Maia

ISBN-13: 9780316121897

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication date: 2/12/2013


The first thing I hear is music. The first thing I’ve always heard is music.

Meet Marley, an unassuming high school junior who breathes in music like oxygen. In between caring for his heroin-addicted mother, and keeping his scholarship at a fancy prep school, he dreams of becoming a professional DJ.

When chance lands Marley his first real DJ job, his career as “DJ Ice” suddenly skyrockets. But when heart-rending disaster at home brings Marley crashing back down to earth, he is torn between obligation and following his dreams.


If you would like to recommend additional titles on this topic, please leave us a comment. We always look forward to hearing what books others value and recommend.