12 Books to Pair with Ed Sheeran's ÷

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been listening to Ed Sheeran’s ÷ pretty much all the time. So, here’s a book recommendation for each song on the album.

1. Eraser: The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Holden Caulfield is angry at the world. So, apparently, is Ed Sheeran, at least in this song. Read this book when you want to dislike everyone around you, even Holden himself.

2. Castle on the Hill: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Both this book and this song have a lot of growing up take place within. Both narrators are reflecting on their past selves, looking at their mistakes and triumphs with all the clarity of hindsight.

3. Dive: Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein

In this retelling of Hamlet, Ophelia doesn’t want to fall in love with Hamlet at first, but when she does she falls fast. Dive is reminiscent of this, that experience of falling in love for the first time and falling deeper while still being hesitant.

4. Shape of You: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Both this song and this book capture the silly feeling of falling in love with no strings attached. They’re fun, without too much under the surface.

5. Perfect: Her Name in the Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Her Name in the Sky is the story of two teenage girls who fall in love and almost lose everything. All the same, they’re willing to fight for each other. Perfect is a slow love ballad that shows the deep love between two people beautifully.

6. Galway Girl: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Galway Girl talks a lot about a cross-cultural relationship, and while Anna and the French Kiss isn’t a relationship between an Englishman and an Irish woman it does showcase cultural differences and how they can enrich a relationship.

7. Happier: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Sometimes we don’t know what we have until it’s gone—it’s a cliché for a reason, and both Happier and The Truth About Forever explore this theme.

New 8. Man: Looking for Alaska by John Green

New Man is a bitter song about a woman who picked someone else over the narrator. Looking for Alaska is at times a bitter book, but it also allows the narrator a chance to heal, which is not true for New Man. Both are sad, and the narrator lashes out at the central female character. You should read Looking for Alaska if you want to give the narrator of New Man a chance to understand why this is an unfair way to look at women, and if you don’t mind a storyline with a central and permeating sadness.

9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here: North of Beautiful by Justina Chen

North of Beautiful is a love story, if a flawed one, and in the end the narrator and her love interest find a way out of their heartbreak and towards something good.

10. What Do I Know?: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Cassie, the main character of Ice, doesn’t want to save the world, but she does want to save her family. In this retelling of the fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, love and a strong familial connection are essential, just like in the song.

11. How Would You Feel (Paean): The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This is a haunting book about two children who don’t know everything they’re getting in to. They charge ahead anyway. The story is told from the perspective of the boy, now a man in his forties and returning for the first time in years. Again, both hindsight and nostalgia are necessary for this book and this song.

12. Supermarket Flowers: Miss Tizzy by Libba Moore Grey

Miss Tizzy is about a woman who is friends with all of the neighborhood children until she becomes ill. Supermarket Flowers is reminiscent of the relationship between a child and their older relative or neighbor when the child has grown up and is looking back on the relationship as an adult.