Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blog Tour: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Lainey synopsis:
Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?

Official bio:
Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated from Washington University and the Goldfarb School of Nursing. When she's not writing, she's kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. Paula loves interacting with readers! Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Or order a signed copy from Paula's favourite indie, Left Bank Books. More info here: ^
Music in The Art of Lainey
I’m not sure if music has actually saved my life, but I can say with certainty that it’s kept me from doing reckless and self-destructive things. When I’m anxious, angry, or sad (three emotions common to a lot of creative types, from what I’ve seen) music makes me feel better.
Musical references:
I knew that The Art of Lainey would have music in it, and my first decision was whether to use real bands. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only author who doesn’t do this, but here’s why I decided to use made-up (for the most part) musical references.

  1. These kids would not listen to the bands I’d want to name-check, and it would have been inauthentic to make them fans of 90s music just because that’s what I like.

  1. Putting real references in your book can be a bad idea for lots of reasons. What if your fave band commits some heinous crime? If you put them in your book, you’re basically endorsing them for years. Or what if they die? The fictional soccer star in The Art of Lainey started out as a fictional actor based 100% on Paul Walker. If I were the type who didn’t fictionalize references, I would have made him Paul Walker and that would have affected how people read the book. RIP, Paul. I <3 font="" you.="">

  1. Fictionalizing references is fun. I learned it from Libba Bray’s Going Bovine. (She’s a master at fictionalizing.) I like making up band names, restaurant names, etc. :-)

So I opted to fictionalize most of my band names, though if you’re a savvy listener of 90s music you might be able to figure out one or two bands I was secretly referencing. Micah does reference Black Flag at one point and possibly Social Distortion (I can’t remember if that got cut) and I was okay with that because those are classic punk bands whose reputation is basically solidified and will stand the test of time.

Musical awakenings:
What I think is cool about The Art of Lainey, is that every character likes different music. (This is really evident on the EpicReads playlist, which contains everything from The Ramones to Jason DeRulo to Taylor Swift.) Micah is into punk and metal. Jason is into rap and R&B. Bianca strikes me as a Top 40 kind of girl.
And then there’s Lainey. At the beginning of the book, music isn’t really a big deal to her. She starts out as kind of a sponge—she likes what Jason likes since they’re together a lot. Then, thanks to Micah, she’s exposed to different stuff and she has a musical awakening of sorts. Micah’s music makes her FEEL THINGS. And it freaks her out a little bit
Musical emotions:
Here’s an unstated truth from the book: when someone is doing something they love, they are at their most attractive. Lainey realizes quickly that Micah is an okay guy, but OMG when she sees him all blissed out by his music, it’s a whole different kind of awakening for her. Later Micah sees her play soccer and has a similar visceral response.

The concert scene is one of my favorite scenes, because not only is Lainey experiencing this cool mix of rock and classical for the first time, she’s also seeing Micah completely unguarded. The song Wake Up Dreaming is fictionalized, but if you’re struggling to imagine what rock music mixed with classical music sounds like, listen to Queensryche’s Real World. Yeah, I know they’re hella old and I know Geoff Tate has kind of a weird (awesome, like nine-octave) voice, but there’s a guitar/violin solo before the whole song goes crazy instrumental and I could listen to it 1000 times in a row. I would link it, but I couldn’t find a licensed youtube so check it out on Spotify or iheartradio, maybe. Peter Gabriel’s My Body is a Cage is another great mix of rock and classical.
And just in case you’re wondering how into music Micah can get, he’s probably a lot like me. And I’m typing this at 0130 while singing along to Real World and playing air violin. Seriously. And if you were here with me I would be doing the same thing because the songs that move me, own me in an “Oh crap. I’d better pull the car over so I don’t get in a wreck” kind of way. And if you think that’s crazy, if you’ve never had a song get inside of you and pump through your body with every heartbeat, and render you pretty much incapable of doing anything but surrendering to it, then your musical awakening is still ahead of you. Prepare to have your world changed forever someday.

What about you? Was there one song or band or concert that changed the way you feel about music? Tell me about a time music made you feel things and I’ll give one random commenter (INTL) a $15.00 iTunes gift card, or if you prefer, a copy of The Art of Lainey from the Book Depository. Winner to be announced at the end of the blog tour.

Check out Paula Playlist on Epic Reads!! HERE
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Gackt - a japanese group because they combined voice, guitars, and even the violin to create these incredible sounding and unique songs

    1. OH, I am SO looking them up. Thanks for the reference.

  2. Thanks in advance, everyone, for sharing yourl ife-changing music experiences. Almost ALL of my fave bands were introduced to me by someone else and I look forward to broadening my horizons.

    And hey Amanda. If you get a second, my playlist just got released via @EpicReads. Will you link to it in your post for ppl who might not read the comments?

    1. Thanks. My FB is kind of booked up for the next couple of days, but I'm posting about this early next week so we can try to get more contest entries.

  3. I am really looking forward to this book! It looks like a great summer read!

  4. I definitely prefer the made up musical references. Sometimes it feels like the author is showing off how cool they are when their characters listen to certain music (for example - can YA characters please let other bands then the Smiths?!)

    Also I loved this book :)


I try to get back to all comments, so check the box for follow up emails, or give me the link to your blog and I'll stop by! I love reading comments!

Thanks Amanda

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