Grab a book, get cozy, and blast Taylor Swift’s new album, Evermore, on full volume because her work is a gift to mankind (or at least to me, a hopeless romantic who gushes over the lyric, “show me the places where the others gave you scars”). Either way, she’s amazing, and I’ve made a list of books that I—personally—think fit each song from the album. Disclaimer: I have not read all of these books, so some of these recommendations are purely based on my limited understanding of the books. Happy reading!
“willow” — The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Starting off strong with a series at the top of my “to be read” list! The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer follows protagonist Mara Dyer in the aftermath of an accident of which she is the sole survivor. After her family moves to give Mara a fresh start, she meets a boy named Noah who helps her piece together her memories from that night and find the meaning behind her hallucinations. From my minuscule knowledge of the series, I think Mara and Noah’s relationship mirrors that of the one created by Swift in “willow.”
Lyric: “Wherever you stray, I follow.”
Quote: “I’m chasing oblivion I will never find.”
“champagne problems” — It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Again, this is a stand-alone novel that I have not read but have heard so much about. It Ends With Us tells the story of Lily, a young woman trying to start a new life in a new city. Just as things are going well with her new boyfriend, her first love shows up and shatters everything Lily was building. Everything I’ve heard about this novel can be summed up in a single word: tears. So many tears, in fact, that it’s even hard to get through the last few chapters. Needless to say, “champagne problems” deals with the pain two lovers can cause one another, and I think it pairs well with this book.
Lyric: “Sometimes you just don’t know the answer, ‘til someone’s on their knees and asks you.”
Quote: “I feel like everyone fakes who they really are when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”
“gold rush” — The Selection by Keira Cass
I was late on the bandwagon for this series, as I only read it two months ago, but I do not regret a thing! Welcome to the kingdom of Illéa—a futuristic, war-ravaged United States—where the royal family hosts an event called the Selection every generation in which the prince finds a bride. As Prince Maxon invites 35 young women from all across his nation, young America Singer wants desperately to be anywhere but in the stupid competition. But, as fate has it, the pair may find a friend in one another after all. Swift’s “gold rush” perfectly depicts America’s insecurities about her many competitors vying for Maxon’s attention throughout the series.
Lyric: “Everybody wonders what it would be like to love you.”
Quote: “Break my heart. Break it a thousand times if you like. It was only ever yours to break anyway.”
“‘tis the damn season” — The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I’ve heard, is a book that will wreck you. Trapped in a deal made with the devil, Addie has lived in solitude for 300 years because—as a consequence of her contract—no one remembers who she is after they’ve met her. Addie wants to leave a mark on the world, and she may get her chance when she stumbles upon someone who—miraculously—remembers her name. I’m reminded of “‘tis the damn season” because it gives me a sense of foreboding—a feeling that time is running out. Addie seems to hold on to stories like a lifeline—just like she holds on to her own love story—but she made a deal for more time, not impossible stories.
Lyric: “There’s an ache in you, put there by the ache in me.”
Quote: “And this, he decides, is what a good-bye should be. Not a period, but an ellipsis, a statement trailing off, until someone is there to pick it up. It is a door left open. It is drifting off to sleep. And he tells himself he is not afraid.”
“tolerate it” — Cruel Prince by Holly Black
So, this one might be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Holly Black’s Cruel Prince begins with a mortal Jude Duarte and her two sisters being whisked away to the world of Faerie where they are raised by the High King’s war general. Trained in combat, Jude wishes to become a knight—a loyal protector to the realm she has come to love—despite the doubt bestowed upon her by her sisters and classmates. Jude, utterly alone but for her strength and courage, must fight her way to the top if she wishes to prove herself and save her family in the process. I think this series is appropriate for “tolerate it” because Jude gives so much for her siblings and receives so little in return, and I think that is the root of Swift’s song.
Lyric: “I know my love should be celebrated, but you tolerate it.”
Quote: “Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.”
“no body, no crime” — Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Picture this: five teenage gang members and a brainwashed ex-con all band together to pull off the biggest heist the world has ever seen. What could go wrong? Six of Crows completely caught me off guard. There are so many beautifully complicated relationships and fully realized characters in this duology, but one should never forget who the crows truly are. Kaz Brekker, the 17-year-old leader of the infamous Dregs, has no morals and knows no bounds. I get chills every time I listen to Swift’s “no body, no crime” and beyond the obvious implications of the song, the themes and setting of this series fit so well into the vibe of the song!
Lyric: “No, no body, no crime. I wasn’t letting up until the day he died.”
Quote: “No Mourners. No funerals.”
“happiness” — Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Okay, as a huge Marvel fan, I am ashamed to admit that this book is still sitting unread on my bookshelf at home. In a society saved and championed by superheroes, known as the Renegades, the villains they once overthrew threaten everything they’ve fought and stand for. Among them is Nova, a young woman with a vendetta against the Renegades. But what happens when she runs into the noble Renegade Adrian? On a broader scale than the enemies-to-lovers romance, I think “happiness” really works into Nova’s life and hopes for the future!
Lyric: “I can’t make it go away by making you a villain.”
Quote: “There are many dangerous people in this world. But there are also many good people. Brave people. No matter how bad things get, we have to remember that. So long as there are heroes in this world, there’s hope that tomorrow might be better.”
“dorothea” — The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins
And finally, Evelyn Hugo, long-time Hollywood movie star, sits down with a small-time reporter to give the full scoop on her life, her career, and most importantly, her marriages. After seven husbands and a very successful acting career, all the people really want to know is—who was Evelyn Hugo’s great love? I think this song really relates to Evelyn’s life because in the end, she always seemed to fall back to her true love—her safe place.
Lyric: “And if you’re ever tired of being known for who you know, you know, you’ll always know me.”
Quote: “When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”