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A Broadway Buff's Guide to YA (Part I)

It’s not a secret at Swoon HQ that I am the resident musical theater lover. I grew up listening to “West Side Story” and “The Music Man,” and my sister and I once reenacted the whole “Mary Poppins” movie in real time. (We had the movie memorized. My sister’s older, so she got to play Mary, obviously). Now that I live in New York, I go to see as many shows as I can (and, let’s be honest, still reenact musicals with my sister when we’re together).

The only thing that matches my love for Broadway is my love for books, so it only makes sense that I’m writing what may be the nerdiest blog post of my life—the essential “You loved this Broadway musical, so what should you read next?” guide.

If you love "Dear Evan Hansen," read The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen


If you’re trying to create dramatic tension, kick off your story with a lie. In "Dear Evan Hansen," Evan pretends that he was friends with a boy who recently died to gain popularity and acceptance. In The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, Taylor creates a fake relationship with (a guy whose name ALSO happens to be) Evan to save her reputation. Both characters have to work hard to keep the truth from coming out—but can they succeed?

If you love "Hamilton," read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee


Have you heard of this scrappy little musical called "Hamilton"? If not, you’ve likely been living under a rock for the past three years. If you have the cast album playing non-stop (tee hee), you should make Mackenzi Lee’s irreverent and sexy YA novel your next read. Historical setting? Check. Wry and smart sense of humor? Check. A protagonist who’s a bit of a cad and lives life by his own rules, no matter what his society expects of him? CHECK (and sorry, ghost of Hamilton, for calling you a cad—but you are one).

If you love "Catch Me If You Can," read You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando


You may not know that this Leonardo DiCaprio movie was made into a musical. It had a short-ish run in New York, and many Broadway wonks think it was axed from the Great White Way before its time. But if you’re one of the many musical theater geeks who counts this as a favorite show—or the movie as one of your favorite films—you should check out Kristen Orlando’s spy novel for more undercover capers and secret identities. There’s nothing more compelling than a con artist at work.

What have you read recently that called to mind a favorite musical? Tell us in the comments below! And don't miss Part II and Part III!

Author spotlight

Kat Brzozowski

Native New Hampshirite. Broadway musical nerd. Work team softball slugger. Embroidery aficionado. I’m one part Ramona, one part the monkeys …

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