Have you ever listened to a song and thought, “This song tells a story, and I want more of that story?” Okay, fair. Most people think of moments in their lives or other people when they listen to music, but hey, it might be fun to match books with songs on albums. Why? Because I can. I also, for some inexplicable reason, thought the first album up to bat should be 1996’s Spice, the Spice Girls‘ debut album (remember their movie? It was chock-full of weird moments, like getting out of the tour bus to pee and greeting star-struck aliens, and a creepy guy emerging from a toilet bowl). Say what you will about The Spice Girls, but their skyrocket to fame and the public’s obsession with them affixed them as a permanent part of 90s music. Though they may not have made a lasting impression on the entertainment landscape, they certainly made one. Without further ado, let’s get into pairing their songs with books (some recent, some harder-to-find).
1. “Wannabe”- My Unfair Godmother by Janette Rallison (My Fair Godmother #2)
Tell me: do you really, really want a fairy godmother? We’re fresh out, but you can have a trainee! Chrysanthemum Everstar, a fair godmother (fairy godmother in training) is kind of overzealous: so desperate to graduate into being a full-fledged godmother (giving her clients what they really, really want while still enjoying her own life to the fullest and getting what she really, really wants) that she’ll grant misinterpreted wishes, often cheerfully magicking her charges into hilarious snafus and then ditching because, hey, she’s got things to do and people to see! While Chrissy frequently flirts with disaster and chases after fairy godmotherhood with the eagerness of a puppy about to run, face-first, into a closed screen door, she does care for her charges, and her heart, though misguided, is in the right place. Be fully prepared for things to go wrong: if you wish to zig-a-zig ah, she might enthusiastically turn you into Elsa from Frozen, which means sociopathic Hans is just gonna be part of your story.
2.“Say You’ll Be There”- Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (Time Between Us #1)
Anna is a regular girl from 1995, Bennett is a time-travelling boy from 2012. I bet you can already see where this is going, right? While they’re in love, it’s not exactly peachy, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for long periods of time, and the ever-present risk to the time-stream if something gets thrown out-of-whack. Every teenage girl dreams of a partner who will always be there, even Anna, and luckily for her, though the relationship is unconventional, Bennett has literally traveled across space and time to prove he loves her. He’ll always be there, just maybe not, you know, right there, exactly where and when he’s needed.
3. “2 Become 1”- Point Of Retreat by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #2)
This song is so dreadfully, delightfully cheesy. I’m sure a bunch of mid-to-late 90s babies were conceived to this track, but now, it’s impossible to consider the song “sensual” in any capacity. Colleen Hoover’s debut novel, Slammed, is about high school senior Lakeyn falling for her teacher, Will. Point of Retreat continues their love story, establishing that Lakeyn is in fact, saving herself for marriage. Slammed and Point of Retreat, like the Spice Girls, are something of a guilty pleasure: silly, saccharine, but still enjoyable.
4. “Love Thing”- Scooby Apocalypse vol. 1 by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Howard Porter
I know what you’re thinking: wut? But it’s true! Within the pages of DC’s reimagined (T-rated) Scooby Apocalypse, Mystery Inc. bands together to save the world from real monsters, and the relationship between dogged journalist Daphne Blake and her loyal-to-the-end cameraman, Fred Jones, totally fits “Love Thing.” Fred has carried a torch for Daphne since he first laid eyes on her in his film class— and he’s not shy about reminding her (but not in a creepy, pushy way). All Daphne wanted, pre-Apocalypse, was to prove to everyone that her network show, “Daphne Blake’s Mysterious Mysteries” was hard-hitting, investigative journalism, tackling the weird and inexplicable. Fred knows the jig is pretty much up, but refuses to give up on Daphne’s dreams, because she is his dream (like in Tangled). Post-apocalypse, Daphne wants to find out what socially-stunted scientist Doctor Velma Dinkley is hiding, while surviving hordes of terrifying monsters— and even though she’s not into the whole “love thing,” Fred will protect her with his life.
5. “Last Time Lover”- Raspberry Crush by Jill Winters
Raspberry Crush is 50% steamy chicklit and 50% murder mystery. Belinda “Billy” Cabot is an art-student-turned-cake-decorator who’s settling into her new life as best she can. Somehow, she really didn’t foresee murder being on the menu. But when the town crank (a man with a strange but undeniable tether to Billy’s family) is poisoned at the annual dessert jubilee (catered by none other than the bakery Billy works at), everything she thought she knew is turned upside down. Determined to exonerate her family, Billy and her ex-boyfriend, Seth (of course she doesn’t still have feelings for him, of course not. Pfft. She is a bad liar) launch their own investigation. But danger lurks around every corner, and Billy isn’t sure who she can trust…
6. “Mama”- A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson
One of these days, I’ll stop shoving A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty down people’s throats, but today is not that day. A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty follows three generations of Slowcumb women: grandmother Jenny, determined to do right by her family, mother Liza, who is near-incomprehensible thanks to a recent stroke and panicked about a discovery on the property that exposes her dark secrets, and teenage daughter Mosey. Like her name suggests, Mosey is to go slow, and, under no circumstances is she to get pregnant at 15 like her mother and grandmother before her. A Grown Up Kind Of Pretty explores the enduring love of a mother; the secrets she keeps, the lies she tells, and how far she will go to protect her baby, no matter how old her baby gets.
7. “Who Do You Think You Are”- Rock Chicks by Ronni Cooper
I get it, Rock Chicks is seven-years-old, and if you happen to come across a physical copy, it’s likely while browsing a store that’s getting rid of all of its inventory before the doors close for the last time. This is probably the most explicit book I’m going to be recommending, so before you tear into it, make sure you’re not thinking this would make a cutesy gift for a 13-year-old. Anyway, regardless of its age, this book blew me out of the water. I honestly can’t think of a book involving a band’s rise to fame that’s as good as this one. Once upon a time, The Steel Spikes were a pipe dream; thanks to luck, hard work, a stellar band manager, a voracious groupie, and a devoted wife, they are now the biggest rock band in the world. But fame comes with a price, and not everyone can pay it.
8. “Something Kinda Funny”- The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Ed Brubaker’s gritty noir tale, laid out against the glitzy lurch of Hollywood’s Golden Era, follows (barely) functioning alcoholic, Charlie Parish as he tries to piece together the night his friend, next-big-thing actress Valeria Somers, was murdered. In his quest for truth, Charlie kicks off a chain reaction of horrors that wipes away the flawless veneer of Hollywood, revealing a host of complicated, dirty games and dangerous players in powerful places.
9. “Naked”- Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Wizner
I didn’t think anything could top the awkwardness of “2 Become 1” but hey, happy to be proven wrong, here. I had to pick a book that was just as awkward, and for that, I went with Jake Wizner’s debut novel. Shakespeare Shapiro is a teenager whose existence is the prime example of Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. But aside from resigning himself to a lifetime of perpetual humiliation (that includes getting hit in the face with a baseball at a pro game, accidentally watching an “adult movie” with his grandmother, and a best friend who’s obsessed with his own bowel movements), Shakespeare is also really, really wanting a girlfriend. Like, really bad. Not just so he can finally get laid, but, you know, that would be nice.
10. If U Can’t Dance- Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
Former-queen-bee-current-dead-girl Kimberlee had almost everything she wanted in life, but in death, she’s reliant upon transfer student Jeff to help her with her “unfinished business.” For Kimberlee, that means enlisting Jeff to give back everything she stole— she just didn’t expect him to fall for her (still-living) nemesis in the process.