Books That Gave Me the La La Land Feels

So I know the world has probably moved on from this film already but I only just got the chance to watch it recently and I have so few words except wow. My heart. My soul. What just happened and where do I go from here? So it got me thinking and I decided to put a list together of books or character relationships that had some parallels to La La Land.

Kaz and Inej from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo were two characters that almost immediately came to mind when watching this film. Two people impossibly in love who can’t even hold hands without feeling revolted. Yeah, perhaps not the connection to La La Land you were thinking of. However, so many moments and songs reminded me of them. “Is this the start of something wonderful or one more dream I cannot make true?” (City of Stars, solo). Kaz and Inej so often find themselves questioning everything- whether their love is real, whether to go after it, whether it’s going to last, whether they can even make it happen. And I think the La La Land soundtrack is perfect for them in a complex, contemporary way. They deserve to be together and they work so well together, but it’s a battle for them and it’s such an interesting dynamic to experience.

La La Land was such a piece of art, not only in its music but in its structure and its props and its stage. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was a book that I think paralleled the creativity of the film magnificently. It’s whimsical and captivating. It flows from one art form to the next. It’s beautiful. They’re both so beautiful.

“A little madness is key” (The Fools Who Dream). The plot of this film isn’t a new idea at all. Two people fall in love, life gets in the way and there’s nothing left to it. But it’s still amazing story telling and it feels real because it is. Other stories that aren’t incredibly unique but have still given me the feels include Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Passenger, Champion, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and The Unexpected Everything. Yes, I realize there are fantasy novels in these mentions but why not

“It’s David and Goliath, I made it to the eye of the storm, feeling torn like they fed me to the lions” (Start A Fire). So this line brings to my mind countless stories of battles and triumph. It got me thinking of Narnia, Hamilton (lol), City of Glass, Red Queen, Crooked Kingdom, and the Lord of the Rings, among others. To be entirely honest, it mostly reminded me of Alexander Hamilton. He worked hard, he wrote his own deliverance, and yet he found himself in the eye of a hurricane and never really made it out. I know this song, and this line especially, had very little to do with the actual film but it just stood out to me so I had to include it.

“Without a nickel to my name, hopped a bus, here I came. Could be brave or just insane.” (Another Day of Sun). There are always characters in books or film that you just feel so connected to and they feel so raw and human and they’re just brilliant. They go after what they want and they are unapologetically themselves and often ruthless. For me, those characters include none other than Kaz Brekker, Lila Bard, and Adelina Amouteru. They’re all such go-getters in their books, Six of Crows, ADSOM, and the Young Elites. They’re impossible not to admire for their wit and cunning.

La La Land is also about constantly feeling like you’re not good enough or creative enough- which all artists and all humans can relate to. It’s about rising above the ‘never haves’, the ‘never wills’ and the ‘never going to happens’. It’s a tale of life and it portrays it for what it is. Love. Hardship. Sadness. Acceptance. Dreams. Moments. Nina Zenik (Six of Crows), everyone. I can’t help but mention Nina. She knows those last six one-word sentences better than anyone. My heart always goes out to her and A Lovely Night always makes me think of her and Matthias and god, I just get so emotional over Nina.

 

If you haven’t seen La La Land or at least listened to the soundtrack, then what are you waiting for? It’s a love story like many others but that doesn’t make it a run of the mill story. Go experience it and come back and tell me what you think. What books or characters did it remind you of? Did you see pieces of yourself in the film? What about favorite songs or scenes? Tell me everything!

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