When I was first getting into the habit of reading, one of the books I read was the epochal YA book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. At least, I thought it was epochal at the time (it placed highly in my Top 100 Everything) — perhaps I’ve rated it so generously just because it was one of the first books of this type that I’ve read. I might have to revisit it and reconsider it. At a minimum it has handful of moments are lines that are permanently etched into my brain.
One thread I really like from the book is how protagonist Charlie discovers his taste in music during his freshman year of high school, and how it becomes a major part of his identity. This is something that happened to me, too, though I gravitated towards way warmer and less challenging stuff than Charlie.
The song Charlie cites most often is “Asleep” by The Smiths, which I will now forever associate with this book. It somehow matches the feeling of Perks perfectly: While its tune is kind and gentle, everything happening underneath that surface is melancholic, almost stark. The piano is hypnotizing, the vocal harmonies enthralling, but the way it toes the line between lullabye and depressive confessional is its true achievement.