If you liked that musical, then you'll love this book (and vice versa)

Hi friends, and happy Friday!

Within the past two years, I’ve really become a musical person. Sure, before that, I knew of the classics and greats, but you wouldn’t really ever catch me just casually listening to a soundtrack because I couldn’t get it out of my mind, because I couldn’t stop dreaming about seeing that specific story on a stage with a whole production surrounding it.

Fast forward to now and enter a little show called Dear Evan Hansen, and I’m almost always shuffling a new Broadway playlist recommended by Spotify or I’m trying my hardest to avoid any bootlegs before I get to see the show in person. And, while I’ve been finding these new shows and stories, I’ve been finding new books at the same time—books that oftentimes remind me of a few Broadway shows.

So, that’s how we’ve gotten here. And, without much further ado, let’s get into gushing about some books and musicals at the same time (a total dream, by the way).


Anastasia & The Lunar Chronicles

Maybe it’s because I immediately put “Learn to Do It” and Cinder, Wolf, and Thorne together, but I genuinely cannot stop thinking about the similarities of these two stories, specifically relating to Cinder.

The Lunar Chronicles ultimately follows four different characters we’ve essentially grown up with hearing about—Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. Even though we read their fairytales growing up, these retellings arguably smash what you expect out of these strong-willed women. They’re not the damsels in distress we were taught about; they’re protecting themselves and saving others while they’re at it. They don’t fit into the expectations other people hold for them.

On the other hand, Anastasia focuses on Anya and her quest to become the now-found lost princess. Because of a shiny and expensive reward, two wonderful hooligans come across Anya and attempt to mold her into the expectations everyone has of the lost princess so they can return her to the palace and earn the reward money.

Both stories hold such special places in my heart, and they both tackle great themes. Just because you may not fit into the world you’re thrown into or you’re not exactly what everyone expected you to be doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Truthfully, if you like women that are a force to be reckoned with, I couldn’t recommend both of these enough. And, if you’ll need me, I’ll be over here listening to “Learn to Do It” for forever and trying to nail Christy Altomare’s perfection.


Hamilton & The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue

Unless you missed the entirety of 2015, I’m fairly certain you know what Hamilton is about. By this point, we all know that Alexander Hamilton has done some remarkable and questionable things throughout his short-lived life as a founding father. We also know that Lin Manuel-Miranda is an actual genius; none of this is exactly news. But, I must have something for snarky historical retellings, because I couldn’t not include these two on my list.

Both Hamilton & The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue are stories about underdogs that work against other people’s opinions of them. In case you didn’t notice throughout the two hour and twenty-two minute long soundtrack, Alexander isn’t always well-liked. Not to mention, he wasn’t given the greatest childhood, seeing that his mom died and his cousin/guardian was gone soon after. You could say that the odds were definitely stacked against this man.

Monty from TGGTV&V is very much disliked around his social circle. He’s seen as entitled, lackadaisical, and impossible to take seriously. And, frankly, it’s kind of deserved. At the beginning, Monty doesn’t exactly have many redeeming qualities. (I’m sorry Monty, I love you).

But then Alexander and Monty both grow into themselves. They both realize that what other people think doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and it doesn’t really affect what you’re able to do. If you want to propose a national bank, go for it. If you want to go on a long quest and defeat the impossible, be my guest.


Dear Evan Hansen & Fans of the Impossible Life

Sure, I could’ve just recommended the Dear Evan Hansen novelization, but that’d be too easy, right? You should still go read it though.

At its basics, yes, Dear Evan Hansen is about an anxious, pathological liar that can’t help himself but lie about a classmate’s death. And yes, when you put it that way, it sounds completely horrible and irredeemable. But, and as many of its fans yell about, Dear Evan Hansen is about mental health and feeling the absolute need to fit in. It’s about wanting to make new friends but being painfully shy to the point where socializing brings on a panic attack. It’s about needing to please others before you even begin to worry about yourself. And, unfortunately, it’s a story filled with plot points and characters that just about anyone can relate with.

Fans of the Impossible Life centers on three characters trying to navigate the horrors of high school as they figure out which social groups they belong to, where the fit in best, and their own identities. One of the characters, Jeremy, has completely isolated himself from his peers. He wants nothing to do with any of his classmates, until he sees one of them and feels just a little bit more seen. Then, because of that, Jeremy gets pulled into a new world with new people and new surroundings, and he has no idea what to do. He has no idea if he even belongs there.

Even more so, both Dear Evan Hansen and Fans of the Impossible Life have some stellar side characters that you need to meet right this moment.


The Last Five Years & Landline

I will forever be upset that they took The Last Five Years off of Netflix.

I’m a sucker for stories with interesting and complex timelines. Sure, you can conventionally tell me a story. But what about different perspectives? And what if you start at the end and take me back to the beginning?? Now things are getting interesting.

The Last Five Years takes place over five years (ha) and follows Cathy’s story, starting with her soon-to-be-over marriage and concluding when she first meets her soon-to-be ex-husband. Then there’s Jamie, and his story starts when he meets Cathy before ending in their deteriorated marriage. Because of this, their stories only ever converge when they’re dancing at their wedding. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT IS STUNNING. AND HEARTBREAKING.

Landline is similar in the way that Georgie stays behind to work while her husband and kids leave for Omaha for Christmas to visit family. It’s then that Georgie discovers a telephone that lets her talk to past-Neal, before they ever got married. In the future, their marriage is short of failing and the two don’t really talk to each other, but by being able to talk to a younger version of her husband, Georgie is given the opportunity to redeem their relationship.

Simply put, both of these stories have such similar characters and storylines that I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to not love both.


Sigh, I love musicals and books. I also fully understand that my musical and book suggestions listed here aren’t exactly unknown or undiscovered, but I really just needed a chance to gush about these stories.

And, like I said, I’m newer to loving musicals. So, if you have any recommendations, please be sure to let me know! I’m always looking for something new to obsess over.

So, what did you think? Would you have picked a different book for one of the musicals I mentioned? Would you have picked a different musical overall? Let’s chat!

21 thoughts on “If you liked that musical, then you'll love this book (and vice versa)

  1. Oh man, I was thinking about doing a post like this and you beat me to it!! I love everything you picked for these – how have I never connected Hamilton and Gentleman’s Guide?? It’s so perfect!! And I’m pretty sure Fans of the Impossible Life was already on my TBR but it just flew upward because of your comparison to DEH. (Also, telling people they should just read the novelization is me every day of my life.) I haven’t read Landline but it does seem like a PERFECT recommendation for The Last Five Years based on your description!! And I’m also very bitter that they took that movie off Netflix. ☹️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great minds think alike! And I came up with that connection solely by staring at my bookshelf; trust me, I was shocked I didn’t put them together before then 😂 Alexander and Monty are both the same amount of chaos; it’s fantastic. I hope you like Fans of the Impossible Life!!! Agreed. Everyone needs to read the novelization (#WheresMiguel). They need to bring Last Five Years back!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a cool idea, I love it!!
    I love musicals myself, it is always something I forget about then I go and see something and I’m reminded that I really enjoy them!!
    I would love to see Anastasia and Hamilton SO bad– they are both on my wishlist of plays to go to. I’ve been playing the Hamilton record all of last year. And I love the animation for Anastasia (which is underappreciated in my opinion)!!
    My favourite ones I’ve been to are probably Never Forget, We Will Rock You and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I think because I didn’t expect to like any of them as much as I did (especially the last one) but they surprised me and I loved my experience.
    I also love the playbills you get in the USA!! They are so cool!!

    Anyway I love this post– I can definitely see the similarities between Cinder and Anastasia and I love it!!
    It makes me very excited to get to Gentlemen’s Guide now because I love Hamilton and it sounds like a great book!!
    Fans of the Impossible Life is another book on my TBR and can’t wait to get to it, even more now!!
    Wonderful post!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sophie!

      Oh my word. I saw Anastasia last year and it was INCREDIBLE! I’m also seeing Hamilton in a few weeks, so I’m dying a little (a lot). You have some fantastic musicals on your list, although I may be biased. 😊 I’ve actually never seen any of your favorites! I was hoping to catch We Will Rock You when it was recently on tour, but wasn’t able to. And that’s so, SO incredible that you got to experience those emotions! I swear, the way you feel after seeing a show that really means something to you is unmatched.

      I hope you love Gentleman’s Guide! I actually read the audiobook, and I would highly recommend it. I was laughing every other minute. And same for Impossible Life – I hope you love it!!

      Thank you so much, Sophie! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. LAUREN!!!!!! this is one of my favorite posts ever.
    i’ve been trying so hard to get back into musicals! i tried really hard to like musicals back in like 2015, but ultimately realized it wasn’t the right time for it. now, though, i’ve been listening to les mis, dear evan hansen and heathers, and i really want to listen to a few more, so your post showed up in the most perfect time.
    i’ll definitely be checking out anastasia and the last 5 years. you pitched them in such an interesting way, i feel like i’ll truly love it!
    thank you so much for sharing, lauren!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LAIS! You are WAY too kind! Thank you so, so much – it absolutely means the world to me! And I totally understand what you’re saying. I was pretty involved in different creative things while I was growing up, but I could never get into musicals. A few years back, something in me switched and now I just want to spend all of my money on seeing these shows. You’ve been listening to some stellar soundtracks, and I really hope you enjoy these as well! You’ll have to let me know of all of your thoughts ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh what a fantastic idea, I love this so much. I have to admit I’m not much of a musical kind of person…. not that I don’t enjoy them,it’s just that I haven’t had the occasion or just didn’t pay attention to them all too much and, despite knowing a lot of these by name, I haven’t watched them at all… oops. But I love your recommendations and a lot of them makes me want to discover the musical now, especially Anastasia and Dear Evan Hansen, and I’ve been wanting to read Fans of the Impossible Life! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Marie! ❤️ I totally get that and understand! Other than High School Musical, I didn’t really fall in love with musicals until pretty recently. And I really hope that you love the music for Anastasia and Dear Evan Hansen if you end up listening to them! Those two have some of my absolute favorite soundtracks. I also hope that you enjoy Fans of the Impossible Life! Thanks so much again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a good post! I love musicals and I think some of them definitely go well with books! I love Gentleman’s Guide, and while I’ve never listened to the whole soundtrack of Hamilton I can see the similarities. I think a lot of people got into musicals from Dear Evan Hansen – I know I did too! My recommendations would be Heathers and Be More Chill – the latter is really weird but highly entertaining, and the songs are catchy too! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Abi! Both musicals and books are great ways to tell stories, and I’m glad to hear that you feel the same way! And I don’t blame you there, listening to the whole Hamilton soundtrack is quite a commitment 😂

      Thanks so much for the recommendations! I will definitely give them a listen!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so, so much for sharing my post, Sophie! It truly means a lot to me ❤️

      And despite having a little bit of a strange reading month, congratulations on reading so many books! Always a fantastic accomplishment. I saw Green Book sometime last year, and I totally agree with you. It’s an incredible story!

      I will totally think up of some questions and get back to you!

      Wonderful post!!

      Like

    1. MARGARET! You are so kind—thank you for sharing my post! It means a lot to me that you liked it ❤️

      So, the thing is, I actually haven’t read any of the books you read over the month?! Definitely time to add some of these to my TBR. Also, I really appreciated your pun. It was fantastic.

      I’m horribly behind on Anne With An E; pretty sure I haven’t even watched season 2 yet?!?! I don’t know that I’m ready to get sucked into it again, but I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed season 3!!! Also, I’m not ready for The Good Place to end. I’m on the third or fourth episode of the season, and I’m both not looking forward to watching new episodes and looking forward to it. It’s a strange balance going on.

      And don’t mind me, just adding all of your songs to a playlist because you always have the best music ever.

      Great, great post as always! ❤️

      Like

  6. Ooh this is a wonderful idea for a post. I absolutely adore musicals and would love to see the Anastasia one at some point. My favourite that I’ve seen on stage is Les Miserables, it’s just incredible to see live. And I’ve always loved Chicago & Moulin Rogue. And Wicked – that’s one that I spent years waiting to finally see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Charlotte! That is so kind! ❤️ Anastasia is pure magic on the stage, so I do hope that you get to see it sometime! Les Mis is totally from a different world. I saw it a few years back and totally agree with you. And Chicago, Moulin Rouge, and Wicked are all great choices! Thanks so much again 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, hopefully it’ll tour near me soon (: I know, it’s just so, so incredible!! I’d definitely go and see it again if I got the chance to. It’s okay, it was a pleasure reading this (:

        Liked by 1 person

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