The Long Distance Playlist, by Tara Eglington
The Long Distance Playlist is a book about friendship and family and having the courage to embrace the unknown, set against a backdrop of awesome music playlists! The story starts with ballet dancer Isolde feeling heartbroken and unmotivated after being dumped by her boyfriend. Isolde receives an unexpected sympathy email from Taylor, who used to be her best friend, before an argument led to a period of silence between the two. Isolde responds, and soon the two of them are talking regularly via phone and various social media platforms, swapping stories of their exes, sharing music playlists, and talking well into the night. They find that in the darkness of night, secrets are more easily shared.
Taylor opens up about the accident that shattered his dreams of competing in the Winter Olympics, and having to overcome both physical and emotional hurdles as a result. Isolde confides in Taylor about her changing family dynamics, and her growing feelings of doubt about auditioning for the National Ballet School.
Even though they live in different countries, the two begin to feel like they are each other’s biggest support.
It soon becomes apparent to the reader that Taylor and Isolde are starting to develop feelings for each other that go beyond friendship.
But distance can create misunderstandings, and both teens have internal hurdles they need to overcome…
Will Taylor and Isolde find the courage to admit how they really feel, or will physical distance and missed opportunities prove too much of a hurdle?
You will have to read the book to find out!
This book is perfect for tech-savvy teens (and adults!) who socialise via various social mediums and will love becoming immersed in Taylor and Isolde’s conversations via email, Skype, SMS, Instagram and SMS. The use of different mediums as a form of communication provides added texture and layers to the narrative. We see the potential for the way in which online interactions can create misunderstandings at times, as well as added layers of intimacy – which allows an openness and honesty to social interactions.
Presenting the story this way allows the reader to be privy to the alternating point-of-view of both Taylor and Isolde. Both narrators have distinctive voices which allow us a glimpse into their inner personalities. Isolde’s voice is smart and confident, and yet at times edged with self-doubt. Taylor’s voice resonates with warmth and honesty. I love his tendency to rely on humour to deflect awkward moments!
The story is set against a backdrop of wonderful playlists which perfectly reflect Taylor and Isolde's growing intimacy as the story develops.
You won’t be able to put this book down, cheering the two protagonists on the whole way through. We are drawn into their world and feel invested in them. This is a fun and addictive read, but also doesn’t shy away from the difficult themes of navigating emotional challenges, fractured families, the internal pressure we can place on ourselves, and the emotional and physical hurdles of overcoming a life-changing accident. These topics are handled with assurance and sensitivity.
Ultimately, this book celebrates friendship and the power it has to transcend physical boundaries.
published by HarperCollins Publishers