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Book-Music Pairings

Book-Music Pairings

Some books just scream for the perfect playlist or song to go with them. Sophia Y. ’19 has your back.

kentuckyclubThe book: Everything Begins And Ends At The Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
The song: Love Love Love by Of Monsters And Men

Everything Begins And Ends With Love:
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is one of my favorite authors. Both his language and books are indescribably thought provoking and gut wrenching. He has an amazing ability to connect to people, no matter the story. Everything Begins And Ends At The Kentucky Club is a collection of short stories, and like most of Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s books, it steals your heart from your chest and shatters it. The seven short stories all have commonalities that tie them together. Firstly, they all have The Kentucky Club in them, hence the title. You could argue about the other commonalities, as they are all thematic. Nevertheless, love being taken, or violated, or treacherously navigated is something that beautifully plays across all of the stories, tying them once again all together.

Of Monsters And Men’s acoustic ballad Love Love Love fits with this book in many important ways. One was the bittersweet and tender feel of the music, which for me encapsulated the brokenly gentle loving quality of the book. This song also contains the lyrics “And these bright blue eyes/Can only meet mine/Across a room/Filled with people that are less important than you/All ‘cause you Love Love Love when you know I can’t love,” which I once again felt matched the themes of the stories excellently. Throughout the course of the song the music starts sadly and quietly becomes a bit more hopeful in the middle and then fades out sadly like the beginning. This narrative of music also hinted at the search or grasping of hope in some of the stories, which just added to my joy at finding how perfectly I believed this breathtakingly beautiful song lined up with this shatteringly amazing collection of stories.

wintergirlsThe book: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The song: Dark Storms {Acoustic Version} By Our Last Night

A Dark And Stormy Winter:
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is one of those novels that will stay with you for a long time. This story of one girl’s life deals with life-shattering guilt, grief, and the struggle of battling anorexia. Lia’s former best friend, Cassie, dies alone in a hotel room after calling her thirty-three times. Believing that she alone is responsible for the death of Cassie, Lia starts to see Cassie’s ghost and begins a downwards spiral getting more and more buried underneath shame, remorse, isolation, and a deep sadness.

Our Last Night is, sadly, a relatively unknown band. Their song Dark Storms is moving and powerful regardless of whether you listen to the regular version or the acoustic version. The more toned down acoustic version to me fit better as it seemed more regretful, and lonely. Lyrics for this song fit seamlessly with the book. Both the book and the song complement each other incredibly well with an overall quality of guilt, and a summary of struggling and pain captured within each.

avalavenderThe book: The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
The song: Clouds by Zach Sobiech

The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of The Clouds:
Distinctively, The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton is one of the few books that spans the stories of four generations. Written in breathtakingly beautiful language, this story with its slight magical realism and themes of love is ineffably gorgeous and simply heartbreaking. Raw and powerful, this novel starts with the story of Ava Lavender’s great-grandmother, Maman, and ends with her own story. Ava Lavender is a girl born with wings, and her story along with her ancestors’ is one of family, passion, love, grief, obsession, and flight.

The song Clouds was written by Zach Sobiech as a kind of parting gift after he was informed that he had about a year to left to live. Sadly, Zach Sobiech did die in 2013, about five months after he released this song at the age of eighteen. The bittersweet and resigned sorrowful quality of the music really expressed the overall tone of the narrative of Ava Lavender. The theme of flying in the clouds was an added bonus, matching the eloquently woven metaphor of flight in the book perfectly: “We’ll go up, up, up/But I’ll fly a little higher/Go up in the clouds because the view’s a little nicer/Up here, my dear/It won’t be long now/It won’t be long now.”

yourfathersThe book: Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers
The song: Wrong Side Of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch

The Wrong Side Of Forever:
Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers is an incredibly unique book, filled only with dialogue. The book starts off with a NASA astronaut, Kev Paciorek, waking up after being kidnapped by a man who he at first does not remember. Thomas, the kidnapper, reveals that he went to collage with Kev. We later learn that Thomas kidnapped him in order to talk with him about life, and struggles. Thomas is, in his own way, trying to understand the universe. Throughout the book Thomas kidnaps many more people in his quest to cope with events in his life and grapple with his understanding of people and life in general. Although Thomas’ kidnappings are considered from a normal societal point of view, very wrong, this book does an interesting job of getting you to understand Thomas and sympathize with him. To his credit, even though Thomas threatens many of his captives, he doesn’t actually hurt anybody under his care. I believe that this book provides a really amazing window for examining human morality, and your own morality, as at the end of the book I still really connected to Thomas despite his many crimes.

Wrong Side Of Heaven by Five Finger Death Punch was inspired by the band’s dedication to raise awareness for veterans and for the consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder. The theme of the music as well as the lyrics and the inspiration of the song really fit with this book. Some of the lyrics from the chorus are “I’m no hero/And I’m not made of stone/Right or wrong/I can hardly tell/I’m on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell.” This song to me really helps portray the mixed morality of Thomas and his choices in the book as well as staying within the same themes of wrestling with life and coping in general.

CAUTION: This final entry necessarily contains spoilers for the book. Are you ready?










WeWereLiarsJacketFinalThe book: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The song: Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier

A Liar’s Lullaby:
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a book with many twists that keep you on your toes, and a plot that demands you read the entire thing in one sitting. Told out of chronological order, Cadence’s riveting narrative will have you desperately trying to piece together the full story.

There were two main things that drew me to chose Arsonist’s Lullaby by Hozier as the quintessential counterpart to We Were Liars. The first thing was the perfect title. The second thing was the perfect lyrics. This is a book where one could argue that the climax is the committing of arson. The whole story is basically dedicated to that event/what caused it and the recovery afterwards, so I literally cannot think of a better title than Arsonist’s Lullaby. You could interpret the lyrics of Arsonist’s Lullaby in many different ways, but my favorite interpretation was always that the song is about schizophrenia and hallucinations, which Cadence experiences throughout the story.

By Sophia Y. ’19

**Slider image by Jeff Golden.

Posted in Featured, Reviews & Recommendations, Student Work0 Comments

Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

Upcoming Bay Area Literary Events

Spring has sprung, and that means new book babies to adopt and love! See some of your favorite authors up close and get to know some debut ones, too.

challengerApril 14, 7:30pm, @ Kepler’s
Are you one of the many students who read Francisco Jiménez’s fascinating memoir The Circuit? He has more stories to tell. He will visit the bookstore to present his fourth memoir, Taking Hold. Learn what happened as he left California to go to college.

April 20, 5pm, @ Kepler’s
We know you love the Unwind series. Its author, Neal Shusterman, is back with a new book called Challenger Deep, illustrated by his own son. This is not to be missed!

April 20, 7pm, @ Books Inc – Palo Alto
Anybody who loves music and realistic fiction will want to check out author Leila Sales, who will present her latest book, This Song Will Save Your Life, and celebrate its paperback release.

April 21, 7:30pm, @ Kepler’s
Shame on you! Shame on you? Author Jennifer Jacquet will talk about the concept of shaming and guilt and present her new book on the subject, titled Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.

April 21, 7pm, through A Great Good Place for Books
Superstar YA authors Gayle Forman (If I Stay) and Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why) will host an important awareness event and fund-raiser on suicide and mental illness.

blackreckoningApril 21, 7:30pm, @ Booksmith
Passionate about banned books and censorship? Come to this event, featuring Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket, Mariko Tamaki, and more.

April 24, 6:30pm, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
John Stephens, author of the popular series starting with The Emerald Atlas, is releasing the final book in the series! It’s called The Black Reckoning. Come celebrate the finale with the author at this event.

April 28, 7pm, @ Kepler’s
Alternate history meets futuristic dystopia in Sabaa Tahir’s new book, An Ember in the Ashes. If you like adventure, strong female heroines, and secrecy, you’ll have to try this book. Meet the author at the bookstore!

Amber Tamblyn

April 28, 7pm, @ City Lights
You know Amber Tamblyn from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but did you know she’s also a poet? Her new book of poems explores the lives – tragic, inspiring, and creative – of 25 well-known actresses, like Marilyn Monroe and Brittany Murphy.

April 29, 7pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
A whole panel of YA authors will appear to get you excited about their latest books! Susane Colasanti has a new romance trilogy, beginning with City Love. Maria Dahvana Headley’s debut novel is called Magonia. And Katie Cotugno presents a romantic novel called 99 Days. Do you love love stories? Then be here.

May 2, all day, everywhere
It’s California Bookstore Day! Visit your favorite independent bookstore and support local business by buying a new book for yourself or a friend.

May 9, 11am, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
Women’s history has never been this rad. Meet authors Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl, whose new book, Rad American Women A-Z, is a colorful, vibrant collection of inspiring ladies’ lives.

May 9, 4pm, @ Books Inc – Opera Plaza
This amazing YA event has more than 15 authors on the docket. Meet them, learn about their books, get your own books signed, take selfies…it’ll be a blast!

Sophia Rossi and Zooey Deschanel

May 14, 7pm, @ Books Inc – Opera Plaza
Romance stories abound at this event – which will also include cupcakes and a raffle! Meet Sandy Hall (A Little Something Different), Katie Van Ark (The Boy Next Door), Temple West (Velvet), and Kimberly Karalius (Love, Fortune and Other Disasters).

May 18, 7pm, @ A Great Good Place for Books
If your eyes light up when you hear someone talk about HelloGiggles, you’ll want to read A Tale of Two Besties, written by HelloGiggles co-founder (and Zooey Deschanel bestie) Sophia Rossi.

May 22, 6pm, @ Book Passage – Corte Madera
Did you know bestselling author Jodi Picoult also writes YA? Her co-writer, Samantha Van Leer, is her daughter! Their newest book is called Off the Page, and they’ll appear at the bookstore to tell you more about it. (This is a ticketed event starting at $25.)

June 6, 11am, @ Book Passage – San Francisco
If you love literary-inspired adventures like Story Thieves or A Tale Dark and Grimm, you’ll want to know debut author Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and her new novel, Book Scavenger.

Have you gone to one of these events? Tell us about it!

Posted in Author Visit, Featured0 Comments

Four to Read More — Girls Disguised As Boys

Four to Read More — Girls Disguised As Boys

And now we present Four to Read More, mini collections of four books that share some common theme, whether it’s the name of a character, a cover design quirk, or something else. Inspired by Kelly Jensen’s “Three on a YA Theme” series at Book Riot (take a lookwe’ll wait!), this series will highlight some books you may have missed on the shelves.

This time, our theme is stories about girls disguised as boys – whether that’s because it allows them to go on adventures, get an education, or pass through society unnoticed.

Alanna series by Tamora Pierce
This beloved book series stars a girl who switches places with her twin brother in order to go into knight training. As she grows up, she finds it harder and harder to keep her secret from her friends.
(available in print)
The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg
This true story is about young women in Afghanistan who, in a sort of open secret, present as boys in order to act as a family’s older brother if there are no sons.
(available in print)
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
This series starter is a retelling of the legend of Robin Hood. Remember his sidekick, Will Scarlet? What if Will was actually a Merry Woman instead of a Merry Man?
(available in print and on Overdrive ebooks)
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
After her father tragically dies, Samantha joins forces with a runaway slave and the two join a band of cowboys heading west to gold rush California.
(available in print and on Overdrive ebooks)

Do you have an idea for a Four to Read More theme? Email us and let us know!

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Thank You To All–Another Successful Edible Book Festival!

Thank You To All–Another Successful Edible Book Festival!

Credits: Eva S., Anna P., Robin S. '19; Sarah R. '21; Margot B. '21, Caroline H.  '18

Credits: Eva S., Anna P., Robin S. ’19; Sarah R. ’21; Margot B. ’21, Caroline H. ’18

Yesterday, Casti celebrated our 2nd annual Edible Book Festival. We played literary games, decorated cupcakes, and viewed (and then ate) many very edible books!

Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the afternoon was viewing the Edible Book Contest entries and voting for favorites. The almost sixty creations submitted made it difficult to chose, but in the end all the ballots were submitted and counted.

Congratulations to the winning entries, selected by popular vote:


Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 9.07.30 AM

“Harry Squatter and the Chamber Pot of Secrets” by Linnea L., Mackenzie F., and Laura-Ann M. ’21

Best Food Eaten in a Book

"Canary Creams" by Lauren B.-R. '20

“Canary Creams” by Lauren B.-R. ’20

Technical Mastery

"Romeo and Juliet" by Riona Y. '19

“Romeo and Juliet” by Riona Y. ’19


“Where the Wild Greens Grow” by the Casti Middle School Gardening Elective

Best Simple Idea


“A Mango Shaped Space” by Kendall T. ’21

Most Original

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“Eat Me, Drink Me” by Margot B. ’21

People’s Choice

"The Fault in Our Cake" by Kelly Y. and Honor P. '21

“A Fault in Our Cake” by Kelly Y. and Honor P. ’21

And the special add-on category: Most Othello-licious

"Othello" by Jessa M. '18

“Othello” by Jessa M. ’18

A huge thank you to all our wonderful parent volunteers, and to our planning committee, all of whom made this event possible! Our committee this year: Honor P. ’21, Mabelle P. ’20, Sam N.-L. ’19, Arushi G. ’18, Molly L. ’16, and winner of Best Committee Chair, Jessa M. ’18! Also, we want to express our gratitude to the Food Service and Maintenance teams, who offered us such amazing support.

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