Friday, July 24, 2015


Putting together The Ultimate New Jersey Playlist was a pretty daunting project.    There are so many incredible performers from the Garden State I didn’t know where to begin – but tying their music in with some of the themes and situations in The Promise of Amazing narrowed it down quite a bit.  The following is just a sampling of the amazing musical offerings from my home state!  It’s a mix of classic and modern, punk and soul and everything in between.  Enjoy!!

It’s My Life – Bon Jovi (Sayreville, NJ)

“It’s My Life” is an anthem for when you feel like no one understands you - which is exactly how Wren feels as the book opens. It’s about listening to your inner voice, standing up for who you are and what you believe in.  It’s also a great song to sing at the top of your lungs. Seriously, try it.

Celebration – Kool & the Gang (Jersey City, NJ)

This song reminds me of my job as a catering waitress. It was the first song the band played after cocktail hour and wedding guests always crowded the dance floor.  The Camelot band would definitely have this on their set list!

Teenagers – My Chemical Romance (New Brunswick, NJ)

I imagine “Teenagers” to be the kind of song Grayson loses himself in when he’s down in his basement pounding out his frustration on the drums.  Especially after Wren walks home from the park instead of taking a ride from him.

Maybe Tonight – Nicole Atkins (Neptune, NJ)

“Maybe Tonight” is an upbeat, wistful song about yearning to meet a mysterious someone again. This is the perfect mood music as Wren pages through her brother’s yearbook to stalk…um…piece together information…on Grayson.  Wren knows Grayson might not be the best person to get involved with, but she can’t help but be fascinated by him. 

Close to You - The Early November (Hammonton, NJ)

Grayson’s attempts to charm Wren keep failing to bring them together yet he’s determined to keep trying.  This song captures Grayson’s struggle to get beyond his past so he and Wren can be together.

One Way or Another – Blondie (Hawthorne, NJ)

The perfect song for Andy’s party - where everyone seems to have a hidden agenda.  Bonus:  Blondie drummer Clem Burke is from Bayonne, NJ!

Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra (Hoboken, NJ)

A classic.  This is the song that’s playing when Grayson tucks a flower behind Wren’s ear and she decides to take matters into her own hands.

Because The Night – Patti Smith (Woodbury, NJ)

Sexiest. Song. Ever.   
Wren and Gray in Guinevere’s cottage.  Need I say more?

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You – Frankie Valli (South Orange, NJ)

Ah, young love.  You know when you can’t get enough of each other?  And you know how it can’t be that intense for that long, but it’s so great while it lasts?  Yes, that. 

Only a Memory – The Smithereens (Carteret/Scotch Plains, NJ)

Grayson’s past finally catches up to him. That hopeless feeling when you know it’s your fault and all you can do is watch as everything slips through your fingers.  Author confession: The Smithereens are one of my favorite Jersey bands.

Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen (Freehold, NJ)

How could I have a NJ list and not include this song?  This song epitomizes the restlessness of being stuck in a small town that “…rips the bones from your back…” It’s Luke going to Princeton, and what he means when he tells Grayson he’s “getting outta here for good”.   

Having a Party – Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes (Ocean Grove, NJ)

I loved the role Wren’s family and her friends, Jazz and Maddie played in the book, and this song conveys the joyfulness at the end of the novel, when Wren is together with all the people she loves most in the world and everything is fine – even if it’s just for a night. That feeling when you don’t want the night to end!!

Bonus Song:

Sherry Darlin’ – Bruce Springsteen (Freehold, NJ)

Because one dose of Springsteen is never enough in NJ! Little bit of TPofA trivia:  I named Wren’s school Sacred Heart because of a line in this song - “To all the girls down at Sacred Heart.” Yep, really.

Want to win a signed paperback of THE PROMISE OF AMAZING? Enter Goodreads Giveaway here!! Now through August 16th!!  

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