CHOSEN: COMBINING LITERATURE WITH MUSIC
by Suyash Dasgupta

Suyash Dasgupta has taken his Catalyst project to another level. Since meeting Kwame Alexander at Singapore American School in sixth grade, he has been in love with novels in verse. For his Catalyst project, he decided to embark on writing his own. Believing that a verse novel, something easy to read and not too intimidating, can be a vessel for sparking up conversations about topics not commonly spoken about, Dasgupta wrote his novel about male mental health and substance abuse. 

Chosen is a story about Mason, an eighth grade student at Roscommon Middle School in Michigan. Mason’s mother is a drug addict and out of the picture. He lives with his physically abusive alcoholic father. Mason takes out his emotions on his peers at school, taking upon the role of the bully. His only friend is Jordan, the student who everyone seems to love and for some reason has a soft spot for Mason. But both characters are hiding personalities under their facades. Mason, the bully, internally, loves to write and wants to follow his passions of poetry. Jordan, the faithful role model, dives into drugs and alcohol in his free time. Following Mason’s father’s death, Mason and Jordan discover Mason’s father’s old music and take time to discover what events lead to his father turning into the man he became, while simultaneously dealing with the question: Do we truly have a choice in who we become?

Dasgupta shares, "I had grown up on Bollywood movies, where stories are defined by their soundtracks. Bollywood movies use music as transitions and displays of emotion. I thought, why couldn’t I do the same for my novel? I decided to write and produce my own songs (that canonically are songs made by Mason’s father) and integrate them into the storyline of my novel, creating a multisensory experience. As readers flip through the pages of my novel, they reach a couple of pages with QR codes. These QR codes lead them to these songs which flow with the storyline of the novel seamlessly."

Chosen is truly special, as not only is it a full novel, it also contains an original soundtrack written and produced by Dasgupta that is fully integrated into the storyline of the novel. The songs are available on all streaming platforms (available here) and have already amassed over 30,000 streams on Spotify.

All the proceeds from the Chosen project (songs and novel) go to support his service club, SAS Digital Citizens (Follow us on Instagram: @sas_digitalcitizens), and every eight copies of the novel sold sends one child to school for a year in Jharkhand, India.

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