A version of this line appears in the book twice, but I’m going to tweak it a bit and use it anyway: This book should come with a warning.
About what? you ask, and I would say, Everything. Around summer this year, my friends Chi and Therese chose Six de los Reyes’s Just For The Record (JFtR) as one reading piece in preparation for #SparkNA, and they were quickly overcome with so much feels it flooded our Viber chats every so often. The other day I told them, “Guys, I think I found my JFtR.” And it came with a seafoam green Les Paul.
Every breakup has its playlist.
How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.
Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.
But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?
BUY A COPY OF SONGS OF OUR BREAKUP!
Click the Read More link below for my review of Songs of Our Breakup. Word of warning: I’m not even going to kid myself and say I’m going to try my best to be spoiler-free. I’m really just going to spazz and might not be able to help myself. So, read at your own risk!
Songs of Our Breakup follows the story of Jill, whose boyfriend and bandmate Kim had broken up with her two months earlier (through text, may I add). She goes through life as usual, trying to make sense of things while attempting a certain level of normalcy with the rest of her band (Trainman, they’re called, and aside from Jill and Kim there are also Son, Nino, and Miki), because bands don’t break up just because two members have broken up. That wasn’t how No Doubt rolled, no sir.
Things get stirred up a bit when Shinta Mori arrives in Manila. He is a handsome and very popular Japanese actor who claims he’s part-Filipino because his mother had been teaching in a Filipino university for years, so that naturally had to count for something. He’s spending time in the country because his mother is celebrating her big 5-0 soon, and he’d acquired Jill’s (Professor Mori’s former student, along with the rest of Trainman) help to assist with it.
Along the way, revelations are made–subtle and stark alike–leading our heroine to decide if the three-month probation she’s given her breakup with Kim ends up a disaster, or transforms itself into a nice new track in the band’s upcoming album.
What I Loved
Why yes, I really am going to start with this quote because it made me laugh out loud. It’s something that’s very Filipino, and I’m pretty sure there are a lot of Filipino readers out there will be able to relate to it. I’m mababaw like that, but this wasn’t the only line in the book that made me laugh. The humor in this book is as natural as watching your friends take a jab at each other in hilarious ways, and I had fun sitting in on Trainman’s bickering about girls, songwriting skills, and someone’s inability to play slowly. I loved the dynamics among the band members, and I think that this crew is one that I will continue to watch out for as the Playlist series progresses.
I liked that the main relationships in this story were weaved very nicely, in that they made a lot of sense. As I was reading the blurb, I’d thought, how did a Japanese guy–and an actor at that–suddenly figure in this story? But the further I read, the more I appreciated how each character was related to another, and how they’re not just there because it’s convenient to write him/her into the story. It was nice how all the characters affected each others’ stories one way or another. It makes me look forward to the other books in the series.
There are a lot of really lovely quotes in this book, it was difficult to pick only three (and I had to pick that one above because reasons, so in effect I could only pick two). This one was uttered in a scene between Jill and Professor Mori, when the younger woman asked about relationships and why they have to end. I particularly liked this quote because 1) truer words have never been said, and 2) it’s bittersweet and raw and natural, like something you would tell a friend or hear from them. It’s telling you yes, relationships have to end sometimes, but it’s fine if the way you feel for the other doesn’t. It’s the acceptance of the then and now that’s important. Everyone grows up, and they may or may not grow out of love for someone, and that’s just the way life goes.
I feel like aside from wading through the complicated qualities of relationships, the theme that stood out to me in Songs of Our Breakup was acceptance. It somehow encourages you to accept changes and deal with it in the best manner possible without sacrificing who you are and what you believe in. Resign to the fact that love is fleeting, and that forever might not be in the books for you, but love anyway and love hard. Love for today and tomorrow and the next day. Resign to the fact that someone you love will never love you back, but love them anyway because that’s who you are. And if one day you finally find yourself growing out of it, then you step away and be happy because you’ve tried your best. And even if you lose some things, you get to keep some things too.
This part I read at almost 2:30am. It hit me like a bullet train and I just burst into tears, so it deserves a spot up there. Like I said, acceptance. It’s a beautiful thing. Not during the actual moment, perhaps, but somewhere down the road you’ll figure it out.
And maybe I liked this quote because I have a personal memory attached to it.
Which was why I also bawled like nobody’s business. (No, thank god I was in the comfort of my own room and everyone else was asleep.)
Overall, I loved the journey I took with Jill, Kim, Shinta, Son, Nino, and Miki, and I would love to see them again soon. Songs of Our Breakup had been a breezy, fun read which was punctuated with a couple of laughs and maybe an entire glass of tears. Wonderfully written with a great balance between humor and heartfelt moments–that rain scene was just something, I was screaming internally when it happened!–I’d already recommended it to my friends, and I’m pretty sure you will, too.
Overall rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Plus points for: 1) The songs! I couldn’t help but think of tunes every time I see Trainman’s song lyrics after several chapters. It was a nice touch and allowed us to see some of the characters’ personalities not shown on the narrative.
2) Shinta and his charming self. (I have already declared he is Shirota Yuu in my head, even if the author’s face peg is a completely different Japanese actor, hihi.)
3) Miki. </3 </3 </3
Because of this story, I wish I could: Have my own Shinta. Sweet, patient, and a smart-ass with abs. (But I’d rather he doesn’t do sex scenes in his movies.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jay E. Tria writes contemporary Young Adult and New Adult stories about characters that live inside her head, about people she meets and people she wishes to meet. She is a daydreamer, a reader, and a lover of skinny jeans, sneakers, and live gigs. Oh, and adopted cats. She is not a cool kid.