My house has always had music and it has always had an important role in my life. So, novels about music always bring me extra joy because they combine two things that I love so much.
We were so excited to make novels about music, bands, and musicians a prompt for the 2023 reading challenge because we have wanted to include it for years. So whether you like contemporary fiction or romances, there is a little something for everyone on this list.
This post fulfills a prompt for the 2023 reading challenge! It’s not too late to join!
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Best Novels About Music for 2022/2023
Rachel Kapelke Dale does it again with her newest novel, The Ingenue, featuring a musical prodigy who has fallen from grace.
Back home to deal with the recent death of her mother, Saskia is expecting to inherit the famed Elf House that she grew up in. But when her mother’s will stipulates Saskia’s former lover is the recipient, Saskia goes in search of answers – unlocking the trauma of her past in the process.
Sprinkled throughout with vignettes of feminist retellings of fairytales, this searing story explores the mother-daughter relationship and examines the dark truth behind sexual predators. I was transfixed by her writing and rooting for Saskia to slay her demons like a true fairytale heroine. This heart-thumping novel about music was a best book of 2022 pick for me.
February 2022 GMA Book Club Pick
WHAT A MYSTERY! The Violin Conspiracy opens with a man’s 14 million-dollar Stradivarius violin being stolen and the drama doesn’t let up.
Ray McMillian is a young black musical prodigy who just so happens to have inherited his grandpa’s busted-up fiddle – which turns out to be a rare violin built by one of the greats. But when the origins of the violin come into question along with Ray’s claim to the instrument, the plot keeps thickening.
Truly the story was a gripping page-turner I could not put down. Slocumb’s ability to weave a multi-faceted tale was astounding. When it comes to novels about music, this is a must-read!
YA Novels About Music
I was not sure what to expect when I read this book. It is a powerful YA story that is unexpected and powerful. The story deals with very serious topics like alcoholism, drug use, overdoses, and sexual assault.
These can all be trigger warnings, especially for any Young adult reading the book. I enjoyed it but, I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if it was not described as a love story. There is an underlying theme of what you would do for someone you love but, I would not classify this as a love story.
Angie Thomas has done it again with this book. Unlike the book, The Hate U Give when I completely understood Starr and her motivations, Bri was different for me.
In this case, I questioned her actions and related more to her mother than I did to her. I wanted to reach through the book and talk some sense into her. It felt like I was sitting by while someone made bad decisions and there was nothing I could do about it. This book is a must-read book for book clubs.
I listened to this book and it was unreal. I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. The audio version plays music so it is a full sensory experience.
The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII. Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the novels about music that is amazing for middle-grade and adults alike.
What a fantastic debut novel! Ashley Woodfolk is definitely an author to look for in the future. Each teen in this story is learning how to cope with life in the aftermath of intolerable loss with the hope that music can bring them back to each other. Woodfolk tells each of their stories with such emotion and understanding and integrates them seamlessly.
Logan, Shay, and Autumn are all dealing with loss differently and Woodfolk does a wonderful job of telling their stories. The stories seem so genuine- not neglecting the role of friends, parents, and siblings when dealing with loss. Despite being about a difficult topic, this book is so readable and relatable. Teens, young adults, and adults alike will be able to read this book and relate. I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to read this wonderful book about music.
Novels About Musicians
June 2021 Read with Jenna Book Club Pick
Nina Riva is having her annual summer party which is famous for its epic scale and exclusivity. But this year, the party will end with devastation.
Nina and her siblings are famous children of one of the biggest rock stars of all time and they each have their secrets.
I have loved the last two books by Taylor Jenkins Reid so much that I often recommend them to friends for their universal appeal. I had high hopes for this book but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
I enjoyed the book but I felt that it was a little drawn out at times. Still, I loved Nina’s character and her ability to surf puts her on our list of books about women in sports!
Natalie Fincher was living a life she loved until her new husband died in an accident leaving her with a fixer-upper of his dreams. Two and a half years later, Natalie is still feeling lost and depressed. She spends her free time playing piano in the tube.
When she finds music in the piano bench meant for her, Natalie starts to feel a spark. Her inner musician comes aloe for the first time since her husband’s death. Who is leaving her husband’s favorite music?
Of all the novels about music, the main character in this one had the most emotional journey.
Historical Fiction Novels About Bands
This book was compared to Daisy Jones and The Six and I see why. It’s told in an interview format and is about a band from the 70s. The comparison makes sense… and yet…
This book is wonderful in its own right! No comparison is needed. It looks at sexism and racism in the music industry during this time period and is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. It is a total must-read.
I started reading this book but when my audiobook library hold came in I changed over to the audiobook version. HOLY COW. The audiobook is EVEN BETTER. Seriously, I think this might have been my favorite audiobook of all time. I expect it to sweep the Audies this year for sure. The book is laid out in chronological order about the making of a band in the 70s, but the story is told in interview style from a dozen sources.
The audio version has a different narrator for each character and the performances the actors give are stupendous. I was overcome with emotion numerous times while I was listening. The story itself about the rise and fall of one of the hottest bands was so utterly fabulous – it’s pure sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll in all the best ways. This is one of the novels about music that isn’t for the faint of heart.
Love Historical Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Historical Fiction carefully divided by time period.
Romance Novels About Music
Romance novels about music? SIGN ME UP FOR THEM ALL!
This romance was a definite feel-good book with the most fun little twist. Every chapter has a song to go with it. It’s the perfect song to go with the mood of the chapter.
I loved this book so much that I immediately read the first book in this series. Even though I read them out of order, it didn’t affect the readability for me.
Sandy Macintosh thought that she would be with her high school sweetheart, Hank Tillman, forever. But, Hank was always meant for great things, and Sandy stayed in her small hometown. Sandy was heartbroken went Hank left.
Now, 15 years later, Hank is a very successful musician and he has come home. His presence is disrupting Sandy’s stable, existence as a store owner and she begins to question if she is actually as happy as she has been pretending to be.
Is Romance your favorite genre? We created the Ultimate List of Romances carefully divided by sub-genre so you can find your next favorite read.
Magical Realism Novels with Music
Linus baker works as a caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He is sent on a mission to a secret orphanage where 6 of the world’s most dangerous youth live. This story was so much more than the sum of its parts.
The magic and the orphan aspect are all reminiscent of Harry Potter. The story has just a touch of magic but somehow seems too relevant.
Throughout the novel, the importance and the power of music is one of the many beautiful things about this book.
As full cast audiobooks go, this book is the best one I have ever listened to. This book is also one of my favorite books of all time. It is narrated by “music” who is telling the story of a magician named Frankie Presto.
There are multiple people who narrate this book and it is more like a play. I could listen to this book over and over. I loved this book and bought a copy which I lent to an unnamed person who loved it and did not return it. My second copy has met the same fate. Third time’s a charm?
Love magical realism books? We do too! That’s why we created this list of the best magical realism books
Literary Fiction Novels about Music
Bel Canto’s story about a months-long hostage situation was lovely. It was so interesting to see the relationship between the hostages and their captures develop.
One of the main people is a famous Opera singer and the reason everyone was at the venue on the night of the capture. The movie adaptation was great too.
Music is big in my house so this book spoke to me. Frank is a man who helps everyone with their problems by giving them the music they need from his little music shop. It sells only vinyl.
When a woman faints outside his shop, Frank realizes he can’t hear the music she needs. His life changes forever. This book is a similar feel to Little Paris Bookshop/Perfume Collector. There is a playlist on Spotify that goes with this book. So sit back, read, listen and enjoy this novel about music.
Love Contemporary Fiction? We do too! That’s why we created the Ultimate List of Contemporary Fiction carefully divided by genres.
Holiday Books About Music
I can’t with this charming Christmas romance book by Maggie Knox. It’s like reading a Hallmark Christmas movie but with a lot of steamy bits put in!
Sadie and Max are competing in a Country music reality TV show (think American Idol or The Voice.) Their chemistry is off the charts on stage, so the execs ask them to team up for their performance.
As they learn to get along off-stage as well as they do on it, a passionate romance ignites. Until the machinations of the music industry drive a wedge between them. Can they reconcile before Christmas?
Frankie and Ezra were inseparable during college and it all ended in an epic breakup a decade ago. Now, they are seeing each other for the first time since at their friends’ New Year’s Eve of Y2K wedding.
When they wake up in bed together with wedding rings on their fingers and NO memory of what happened, they find themselves in search of answers. And all this has to happen before Ezra’s girlfriend shows up at the wedding because Ezra is planning on proposing.
This romance is a hilarious glimpse into the past and an adorable romance on this list of New Year’s Eve books as well.