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The Disenchantments: Book Review

Editorial intern Alyssa Jaffer takes a dive into young-adult literature with a local author's novel, hot off the presses from Penguin Group.

If it’s true that teenagers tend to be overemotional, then the proof is in the pages. San Francisco Bay Area native Nina LaCour attempts to summarize the adolescent experience in her young-adult book The Disenchantments (released today), yet misses the mark by overstating the drama of the teenage mind without any real character development. The age-old story of unrequited puppy love is set in the Bay and on a road trip north on the golden coast, with the occasional wink at San Francisco landmarks like Haight Street or the Mission. Colby, fresh out of a local arts high school, wrestles with his feelings toward his best friend Bev, lead singer of girl band the Disenchantments. He is torn between love and resentment toward her because she chooses to attend college over an open-ended trip to Europe with him, after her band’s West Coast summer tour ends—with Colby as a reluctant but smitten roadie in tow. The young characters are preoccupied by trivial situations, like most teens are, but the aha moment never comes, rendering the characters static. All the while, the teens are given the parental go-ahead to check into motels alone, get tattoos, smoke cigarettes, and drink underage but dramatically pronounce, “The world is against me,” at the discovery of a splinter.