Debut Author Bash: Janet McNally

Posted June 29, 2016 by Emily in Events and Features, Playlist / 2 Comments

Debut Author Bash: Janet McNallyGirls in the Moon by Janet McNally
Published by HarperTeen on November 29th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon

Everyone in Phoebe Ferris’s life tells a different version of the truth. Her mother, Meg, ex–rock star and professional question evader, shares only the end of the story—the post-fame calm that Phoebe’s always known. Her sister, Luna, indie-rock darling of Brooklyn, preaches a stormy truth of her own making, selectively ignoring the facts she doesn’t like. And her father, Kieran, the cofounder of Meg’s beloved band, hasn’t said anything at all since he stopped calling three years ago.
But Phoebe, a budding poet in search of an identity to call her own, is tired of half-truths and vague explanations. When she visits Luna in New York, she’s determined to find out how she fits in to this family of storytellers, and to maybe even continue her own tale—the one with the musician boy she’s been secretly writing for months. Told in alternating chapters, Phoebe’s first adventure flows as the story of Meg and Kieran’s romance ebbs, leaving behind only a time-worn, precious pearl of truth about her family’s past—and leaving Phoebe to take a leap into her own unknown future.

I’m so excited to host Janet McNally today with a playlist for Girls in the Moon. I love her reasons that she chose each song and how they relate to her book. Skip to the bottom first if you want to listen to the playlist before you read her reasons behind the choices.

Janet McNally

Girls in the Moon has two narrators, the present voice of seventeen-year-old Phoebe and the past voice of her mother Meg, who co-founded—and left—her iconic 90s rock band Shelter. We see Meg’s experiences in reverse, starting when she quits the band and takes her daughters away from New York, and ending as she writes their first hit song. Unsurprisingly, I was listening to a lot of 90s music while I wrote Meg’s chapters, so here’s a playlist of some of my favorites.

Pavement, “Major Leagues.”

Is there a prettier, sadder song in all the world? I canÂ’t think of one right now. I imagine Meg listening to a lot of Pavement after she left her band Shelter, and the mood of this one would be perfect.

Liz Phair, “Help Me, Mary.”

By the time she left Shelter, Meg was pretty tired of the whole rock scene. And sure, this song seems to be about intruders (roommates?) in an apartment, but I think the sentiment fits. Liz Phair had barely performed live when “Exile in Guyville” came out, and this record captures so well the magical moment at the very beginning of a musical career.

The Lemonheads, “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You.”

I love the idea of Evan Dando singing a song—with words—about how it’s impossible for him to talk. Meg is a lyricist, so words are especially important to her. Before she and Kieran break up, they lose the ability to talk to each other, too, even though they can still speak.

Ani Difranco, “Gravel.”

This is the ultimate love-hate song, so I think itÂ’s perfect for Meg and Kieran. She really does still love him, but she canÂ’t believe that heÂ’s not willing to give up fame for their family. So in the end, love isnÂ’t enough. As a Buffalo girl, born and raised (like me), Meg would have to have Ani on her playlist.

Juliana Hatfield, “Somebody Is Waiting For Me.”

This song is cheating my 90s list a little—it came out in 2000. I could have picked other Juliana H songs, but I love this one for Meg. When Meg leaves Shelter, there’s no person waiting for her, but there’s a new life. The life she’s been imagining for herself and her girls, out of the spotlight.

Sonic Youth, “Little Trouble Girl.”

I love this one for the way it references 1960s girl groups. Meg would have noticed that right away. Plus, thereÂ’s more than a little bit of Kim Gordon in Meg.

Sleater-Kinney, “Dig Me Out.”

In Girls in the Moon, Phoebe wonders if her mom would have been happier in a band full of girls like Sleater-Kinney. Maybe! This is such a fantastically chaotic song about trying to find your way out of a mess.

Tanya Donnelly, “Pretty Deep.”

This is the first song on Tanya Donnelly’s first solo record after Belly. Listen to this lyric: “Do I look like a crier? Do I look like a crybaby to you?” There’s such heartbreak and vulnerability in the lyrics, but also an absolute toughness that reminds me of Meg. And Tanya D’s voice is incredible.

En Vogue, “Hold On.”

Another great 90s all-girl group, plus this song has a great a capella beginning that uses the Jackson 5’s “Who’s Loving You?” (which Meg would have recognized right away). I think Meg would hear these lyrics and think of her love for her daughters.

Tori Amos, “Pretty Good Year.”

I love the sentiment to this song. There’s sadness just out of the frame here, but also gratitude. I’m sure Meg was listening to a lot of Tori Amos when she first left New York. There’s something so satisfying about the drama of the music. And in the end, when she looked back over the year she left Shelter, I think she’d feel that it was a “pretty good year.”

HereÂ’s the link to the playlist:

https://play.spotify.com/user/janetmmcnally/playlist/5spLf0gaSMqqygDEyedGpG

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