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Book Recommendations Based on Your Favorite “Red (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” Songs!

“Better Man” – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Quote: “You can stop swimming now, Lily. We finally reached the shore.”

Lyric: “I know the bravest thing I ever did was run.”

It Ends With Us is a heartbreaking story about love and loss and how relationships can change and fall apart just as quickly as they started. Swift’s “Better Man” reminds me so much of the men in this book, but you’ll have to read it to understand why!

“Nothing New” – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Quote: “Why have I spent so long settling for less when I know damn well the world expects more?”

Lyric: “Are we only biding time till I lose your attention?”

Evelyn Hugo, a famous movie star, sits down with a reporter many years after leaving the spotlight to discuss her career and her seven husbands. Under constant pressure from the media throughout her life, Evelyn’s character resonates with “Nothing New” because all she wanted was to love and be loved by the people close to her.

“Babe” – The People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

Quote: “It’s possible that all those little moments that meant so much to me never quite meant the same thing to him. It’s possible that he didn’t reach out to me for two full years because, when we stopped speaking, he didn’t lose something precious the way that I did.”

Lyric: “We’re a wreck, you’re the wrecking ball.”

Alex and Poppy–whose friendship revolved around going on vacation together every year–reunite for one last vacation to (hopefully) make up for their falling out, and the two years they have spent avoiding each other since. “Babe,” I think, resonates with the loss of friendship between Alex and Poppy and the feeling of hopelessness they each have toward saving that friendship in the beginning.

“Message In A Bottle” – Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Quote: “Here’s what I think. If you get very, very lucky in this life, then you get to love a person so hard and so completely that when you lose them, it rips you apart. I think the pain is the proof of a life well-lived and loved.

Lyric: “‘Cause you could be the one that I love \ And I could be the one that you dream of.”

Evie Thomas is a young woman who starts taking dance lessons from the very adventurous and attractive X. Their relationship becomes complicated, however, because of Evie’s belief that love does not exist. “Message In A Bottle” is one of those songs that gives you the giddy feelings associated with love and happiness, and it has me thinking that maybe Evie will be able to relate to Swift’s lyrics by the end of the book.

“I Bet You Think About Me” – Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Quote: “I can see it too. That I don’t belong here. That even after all this time and everything I’ve done, the things I’ve pressed and organized and pushed into myself to fit into this place, home is still somewhere a thousand miles away. Farther than that, even. Because that version of home doesn’t exist anymore.”

Lyric: “But you know what they say \ You can’t help who you fall for.”

Pepper and Jack, hailing from rival fast-food restaurants, take their banter to social media, where their Twitter war goes viral. Add to that the fact that they’re falling for each other on an anonymous website as well, and you’ve got yourself one messy relationship. And, as much as they probably despise this fact, I bet they think about each other way too much!

“Forever Winter” – You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

Quote: “I don’t want to lose him. I want to keep them shut and live in this memory of us forever. I don’t want to open my eyes and see a world without Sam. But sometimes, you just wake up. No matter how hard you try not to.”

Lyric: “I’d fall to pieces on the floor \ If you weren’t around.”

In mourning her late boyfriend, Sam, Julie calls his phone, hoping to hear his voice one last time. But what happens when he picks up the phone? “Forever Winter” describes the feeling of dread and frustration at the thought of losing someone you love, and I think those are some of the many complicated feelings Julie experiences throughout this book.

“Run” – What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Quote: “Maybe it’s odd to you why I cared so much. It was odd to me too. All I can say is sometimes you live your whole life for a thing that reveals who you are. There is no why.”

Lyric: “Say you’ll never let ‘em tear us apart \ And I’ll hold on to you while we run.”

Jack and Ava were both raised by criminals and killers, but when their lives collide, they must choose and fight to not only survive but to prove that they are better than their parents. Like Swift’s lyrics hint, Jack and Ava are constantly on the run looking for a better life together that is far away from the horrors of their childhoods.

“The Very First Night” – The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Quote: “Jameson had said, right from the beginning, that I was special. I hadn’t realized until now how badly I’d wanted to believe that he was right.”

Lyric: “Back then we didn’t know we were built to fall apart \ We broke the status quo, then we broke each other’s hearts.”

The Inheritance Games follows teenager Avery Grambs as she inherits a whopping $46.2 billion from the late Tobias Hawthorne. Forced to live with the four insanely annoying and attractive Hawthorne grandsons, she begins digging into the mysteries of the Hawthorne family, but little does she know that she’s the biggest mystery of all. “The Very First Night” shines a light on the magic of experiencing new feelings, and Avery, as she is introduced to a whole new world, gets a taste of that magic and much more!

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” – Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane

Quote: “I’m sure you can see why I think I’m worth more than someone who spent sixteen years making up his mind about whether I was worth the hassle.”

Lyric: “You kept me like a secret \ But I kept you like an oath.”

When Eve’s three best friends shatter her heart and her trust, she must reconcile the people she thought they were with the people she knows they are now. Facing the destruction of all she ever believed to be true, she must decide what she wants from her relationships and who she wants to be in the future. “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” gives a little bit of insight into what it feels like to let someone else have so much power and control over you and then to watch them abuse that power, and I think that feeling resonates with Eve’s experience in this book.

Madi Miller

Wake Forest '23

I am from Raleigh, North Carolina, and I'm currently a junior majoring in Business and Enterprise Management with a concentration in International Business at Wake Forest University. I love photography, reading, road trips, Marvel movies, and volleyball! I hope to put myself out of my comfort zone and push beyond my boundaries in writing and creativity, and I am excited for this opportunity with Her Campus WFU!
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