Young Adult Literature

Six Young Adult Characters Reimagined As Bands

Eric Smith

Staff Writer

Eric Smith an author, blogger, and literary agent based in Philadelphia. When he isn’t busy trying to discover new books, he sometimes tries to write his own. Blog: Eric Smith Twitter: @ericsmithrocks

I love the fun and imaginative names that spring up in Young Adult fiction. Sometimes I think the names must be as difficult to write as the entire story. You have to stick with that name throughout the entire book. Or series, if it comes to that! It has to be perfect.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, where the names are as fun as the stories. And I can’t help but imagine them as band names. I can just see them, lit up as banners on stages, with a group rocking out in front of them. Maybe on t-shirts in Hot Topic. Or just on t-shirts period. Authors, please make these shirts.

So I nudged my pal Ashley Poston about whipping up some Photoshop logos, and here we are. Six of my recent favorite YA reads, with their character’s names as bands, complete with their proposed logos.


PHOENIX VANGUARD (Tracked by Jenny Martin): When Phoebe assumes a new racing name in Jenny Martin’s YA sci-fi adventure Tracked, she goes by the name Phoenix Vanguard. Perfect. It’s easy to picture a band going by that name.

As a band, chances are, they’re a lot like an indie-electronica group, playing lots of alternative-dance style tunes. A little bit of MGMT mashed up with some Foster the People, with a dash of Daft Punk sprinkled in.

The group could even name their album Cash, after Phoebe’s love interest in Tracked. Ironically of course. This group is about the music, you guys. Just like Phoebe is about the racing.


ATLANTA BURNS (Atlanta Burns by Chuck Wendig): In Wendig’s Atlanta Burns, the title character is one tough gal, and people are afraid of her. She saves a kid that’s being bullied, and when that kid ends up dead, she starts to investigate. And oh, does she dig up some serious dirt.

Tough and gritty, I’d imagine the band Atlanta Burns to be an awesome, grungy, female-fronted rock group. Along the lines of Veruca Salt or Garbage, maybe even some of the harder ska stuff No Doubt wrote during the Tragic Kingdom era.

The leader singer would be a Joan Jett in a band of Blackhearts.


DARROW AU ANDROMEDUS (Red Rising and Golden Sun by Pierce Brown): In Pierce Brown’s sci-fi epic trilogy, readers meet Darrow, who later takes on the name Darrow Au Andromedus. He’s a battle hardened warrior after the first book in the Red Rising series, and come the second one, with that new name in tow… well, he’s ready to have a band named after him. Also, take on the universe.

Maybe it’s because the series starts on Mars, but I can’t help but feel like the group Darrow Au Andromedus would totally be a progressive / experimental rock group like The Mars Volta, creating intense concept album and tunes that are hours long. Or maybe a bit like Circa Survive, The Sound of Animals Fighting or even the Rx Bandits, in their later, less-ska years. Their logo ends up being just a symbol.

On the flip side, you could also call a band The Helldivers, after Darrow’s original occupation in Red Rising. I’m thinking heavy metal.


ZEPHYR MOURNING (Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland): I’d been meaning to pick up Justina Ireland’s Promise of Shadows for a while, and oh, how I loved it. The story of a harpy named Zephyr that might be the Nyx (more on that particular name shortly), a goddess that could save and change the entire world. But she just wants to be a normal human.

I could definitely see a group called Zephyr Mourning taking on the hardcore / screamo genre, likely going on tour with groups like The Used, Hawthorne Heights, Senses Fail, or Emery, with a female vocalist, a la Versa Emerge or Paramore. If Thursday got back together, Zephyr Mourning would be the opening act.


MIM MALONE (Mosquitoland by David Arnold): Now, I don’t think the protagonist of Arnold’s lovely Mosquitoland would necessarily be the name of a band… but when I hear her name and think of the novel’s setting… well, I can’t help but think of a singer-songwriter.

Maybe it’s the fact that Mim is on an epic road trip traveling half the country in a bus with a quirky bundle of characters. Just toss an acoustic guitar in her hand, and she’s an indie songwriter on tour.

I could see Mim playing music a la Tegan and Sara, maybe a little Michelle Branch, breaking out an acoustic guitar and belting out some heartfelt lyrics about the open road, family, and heartache. Or even earlier Sheryl Crow, early 90’s Tuesday Night Music Club era.


NYX TRISKELION (Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge): Nyx! I love this name. It’s brought up in Promise of Shadows as a powerful being, and in Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty, Nyx is the name of her main character. A darker retelling of Beauty & the Beast, packed with fantasy elements.

The group Nyx Triskelion is definitely a heavy metal group. Likely a heavy metal group along the lines of Halestorm, with powerful female-fronted vocals and imaginative lyrics that tell a story.