The Depths of Atlantis Book Playlist

The Depths of Atlantis releases TOMORROW (November 2)! The author, Hannah Carter, is going to share the book’s playlist with us today. Are y’all as excited as I am?!

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Book Playlist

  1. Head Above Water by Avril Lavigne If any song was the “theme song” of Depths, it would definitely be this one. You hear the struggle as the narrator desperately tries to stay afloat as they fight for their life. There’s anguished pleas to God to be saved. And, of course, the water motif. The moment I heard this song, I could just imagine Reanna singing it. The mood and message just encapsulate Depths and her own struggle way too well. 

2. Nobody Else by Em Beihold This is another song that really resonates with Reanna. She often wishes that she were someone else—or even not born—and struggles to see the value in her own worth. But that’s one of the lessons she really has to learn over the series (yes, series—with such an important lesson, she can’t really learn it over the course of one book!). She has to come to terms with the fact that she’s okay. She’s got self-worth. And, if she could only take a better look at herself, she could be happy that she’s nobody else.

3. I’m Still Here by John Rzeznik This is Adam’s theme song, and man, does it hit me hard when I think about his arc. He’s trying his hardest to help, but feels constantly caught between his own secrets and desires. He’s got so much passion and drive and such a determination to show himself as somebody. He wants to prove himself, not just to the world, but to him, too. He wants to be recognized and loved—but he doesn’t know how beyond the hurt he’s already felt. This angsty song really hits everything he feels on the head.

4. Everything You Ever Wanted by Hawk Nelson This is Trevor’s song—and it really hits hard for anyone who’s ever tried to live up to someone’s expectations and still felt like a failure. For anyone who’s ever had prayer after prayer go unanswered. Trevor’s had both, though he doesn’t often show it. He feels like he’ll never be perfect enough for his dad, so he often directs and blames his father. On top of that, he feels confused by his mom leaving, like he’s been abandoned—and that also compounds his anger toward his dad, because, especially in the sort of childlike trauma he’s carried with him, Trevor thinks: “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t make her go away. It was Dad’s fault. He forced Mom away.” I could take a deep dive into Trevor’s psyche, but in the sake of being brief, I’ll leave you with the one lyric that I imagine Trevor would scream-sing in his car: “You told me once/you’d show up/but I fell for that before I fell to pieces/then I woke up/to no one/just a picture of Jesus/in a house left in pieces.”

5. Distance by Christina Perri & Jason Mraz his has been Laile’s theme for as long as I can remember. Specifically, her feelings toward Greg. (Yes, there’s one love song on here!) She’s loved her best friend for as long as she can remember, and she’s just not sure how much longer she can keep this up. Though she does a good job or keeping her distance, she definitely wants to know: “how long til we call this love, love, love?” 

6. The Riddle by Five for Fighting This was one of the last songs I added to the playlist. In fact, finding a song for Greg was AGONIZING. To the point where I even wrote the rough draft of some lyrics because I was like, “I have to write this boy a theme song because nothing will do.” But then I was listening to my music, and this song came on, and I realized—oh my gosh. This is perfect. This is Greg. Everything from the bitter cynicism about life and struggling to find a meaning in it to the search for the answer to life’s questions/riddles—this is my boy in a nutshell.

7. Everybody Talks by Neon Trees This is probably the most “fun” song on the playlist—and why shouldn’t it be, when it represents one of the most fun characters, Whisper? I’d be lying if I said there was a super deep meaning behind this song. I picked it because of the amazing drop when it says “it started with a WHISPERRRRRR,” and since it’s Whisper’s song, well, it just fit. Plus, the whole playful, almost tongue-in-cheek attitude reminds me of my little sarcastic boy so much. 

8. Thumbs by Sabrina Carpenter Want a deep dive into the rabbit hole that is my brain (and YouTube search history)? You have it here. This was another late addition, and it represents Arana and even Atlantis as a whole. I saw someone on YouTube use this song in a video about generational trauma, and it just fit so perfectly that now I can’t unsee the connection. I love watching this video, getting a glimpse of the queens as they pass, and then imagining Reanna as the last one. What will she do with the legacy Atlantis she was handed? After all, mothers teach their daughters they want to pass down…and Arana may be a villain, but she’s not the first in her line.


9. Villains Aren’t Born (They’re Made) by PEGGY I heard this song and knew immediately that it was Arana’s song. She’s unquestionably a villain, especially in the eyes of her daughter. But what’s so fascinating to me is—what made her like this? She didn’t come out of the womb and immediately start wars. No, at one point, she was a daughter and a sister, a friend, a princess with responsibilities. So how did she get to a place where: “Don’t tell me it’s not fair/Believe me I’ve been there/I’d much rather be alone/if I’m sitting on a/sitting on a/sitting on a throne” became her theme song? You’ll have to read the series and see…

10. Iris by Goo Goo Dolls This is a strange song because it applies to three of my characters just by the sheer level of angst. Reanna, Adam, and Trevor. For each of them, “and I don’t want the world to see me/cuz I don’t think that they’d understand/when everything’s meant to be broken/I just want you to know who I am” means something different and personal. But those lyrics resonate with each of them so deeply that I’d be remiss to leave out this song. Plus, the line “when everything feels like the movies/yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive” is the greatest song lyric ever penned. 😉 And that one, especially, means something tragic for Reanna. 

11. Air For Free by Relient K This begins the tonal shift in the novels. Sure, this is an atmospheric song, very chill and relaxed. But it’s a quiet question: “air for free/and when I sink to the darkest depths/will you be/there for me?/to hold my hand while I hold my breath.” I imagine my characters reaching out, grasping to find each other, searching for the teamwork that will help them see this through. Plus, I had to love the shoutout to “darkest depths.” That’s such an overwhelming theme to my novel that it made this song perfect to start the last arc. 

12. Fight Song by Rachel Platten Enough of the angst, right? We’re on to happy songs. This represents a shift in the arcs of all my characters, and the answer to the question posed in Air for Free. They’ve been beaten down, broken, and hurt. But this song is a rallying cry that leads them on to the final chapters, to the final moments of the series. They will have to band together and learn that they’ve still got a lot of fight left in them. This scrappy, “knock me down I’ll get back up” song just really hits me in the feels when I think about them.

13. Stand By Me by Florence + the Machine I hate to end a playlist with tears, but that’s where we end. This song always makes me cry—specifically, this version, thanks to Final Fantasy (if you know, you know). But it really serves as the quiet, melancholic end of the book and series. Every time I think of it, I picture the final battles, the final sacrifices, the bittersweet emotions this song conjures. I love Florence’s voice as she soars from the lows to the highs, the sheer emotion she packs into each note. You’ve reached the end of the playlist, the end of the book, and, eventually, the end of the series. You’ve faced down fear and vanquished demons. Look around you… who’s standing with you? Who would you ask to be with you in those final moments? This song is for them.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into my novel’s playlist. I hope you’ll listen to these songs and get to know my characters and world more through them. Thanks to Kayla for letting me write all this down, and thanks to you for reading it! I hope to see you soon in the Depths of Atlantis.



Published by Kayla E. Green

Kayla E. Green is a school librarian, speculative fiction author, and poet. When she isn’t writing, reading, or going on adventures with her husband, she loves singing loudly and off-key to KLove Radio, snuggling her dogs, and pretending she’s a unicorn. Her award-winning YA fantasy novella, Aivan: The One Truth, and her inspirational poetry collection, Metamorphosis, are now available through book retailers. Kayla also has stories and poems featured in various anthologies. Follow The Unicorn Writer's blog for book reviews, author interviews, writing advice, and more bookish fun!

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