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Books as Every Single Song from Taylor Swift’s Red: Taylor’s Version

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Taylor Swift’s album Red: Taylor’s Version finally dropped! As a self-declared professional Swiftie and book lover, I could not think of a better idea than to make a very special list: every song from Red Taylor’s Version as a book!

“State of grace” and The Song of Achilles (Madeline miller)

“State of Grace” is the leading track on the album, and it references a bittersweet romance.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the perfect book to capture the lyrics of the song.  The lyric that most relates to the book is not the one that mentions Achilles, but rather “you come around me and the armour falls/pierce the room like a cannonball” (Swift). 

“Red” and you’ve reached sam (Dustin Theo)

While the true story of “Red” is inspired by Swift’s relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal, the lyrics also match the story of Julie and Sam’s relationship in You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao. The standout lyric for this book and song duo is: “Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes/tell myself it’s time now gotta let go” (Swift). Fair warning, this book is a tearjerker so playing “Red” in the background while reading will surely stir up a lot of emotions.

“treacherous” and the acotar series (Sarah J. Maas)

Without spoiling too much of Sarah J. Maas’ beloved series with this comparison, let’s just say some relationships are not what they seem. Some relationships might seem like they are picture perfect, but they are often treacherous.  If you do check out this series, remember the lyric: “nothing safe is worth the drive” (Swift).

“I knew you were trouble” and It ends with us (Colleen hoover)

Again, I can’t spoil this book with a description! However, I did know that a certain character was nothing but trouble after only a few pages of reading about him. The standout lyric to remember for this song-book duo is: “pretend he doesn’t know that he’s the reason why you’re drowning” (Swift).

“all too well/all too well (ten minute version)” and Normal People (Sally rooney)

“All too Well” was my favourite track on Taylor’s album in 2012 and the new ten-minute version of the song only further broke my heart. The book that song reminds me of is Sally Rooney’s Normal People because it perfectly captures the relationship between the two main characters. Honestly, every single lyric matches the book perfectly, but if I have to pick a singular one it would be “you kept me like a secret, while I kept you like an oath” (Swift).

“22” and the deal (Elle Kennedy)

The entire Off Campus series can be surmised by this song because of the carefree nature of the books and characters. However, the relationship between Hannah and Garrett really reminds me of this song because of how positive both are. The lyric that reminds me of this book is “you look like bad news/I gotta have you” (Swift).

“I almost do” and Love and other words (Christina Lauren)

This is another one of my absolute favourite books ever. It spans over the relationship between the two main characters and follows their ‘will they or won’t they’ relationship. Similarly, in the song, Taylor Swift is torn between reaching out to her lover and accepting the fate of their dwindling relationship. The standout lyric here is: “asking me if I wanna try again/and I almost do” (Swift).

“we are never ever getting back together” and After series (Anna Todd)

I’m not going to spoil this book by confirming the relationship status between the two love interests. However, the number of times they get back together and break up will make any reader’s head spin. The lyric that best represents them is the whole entire song!

“Stay, stay, stay” and people we meet on vacation (Emily henry)

Even if you don’t read every book on this list, make sure you check out this beautiful story by Emily Henry. The song “Stay, Stay, Stay” was practically written for Poppy and Alex and their adorable friendship.  This book is what made me finally appreciate the friends to lover’s trope and now, I can’t go back to anything else. The standout lyric here is: “you took the time to memorize me” (Swift).

“The last time” and ugly love (colleen hoover)

I’m honestly still on the fence with this book. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the relationship it portrayed, which is why this song reminded me of it. Without revealing too much, I’ll let you come to your own conclusion with the standout lyric is: “this is the last time I’m asking you this/put my name at the top of your list” (Swift).

“Holy ground” and To all the boys series (Jenny Han)

“Holy Ground” captures the essence of a first love, and this series is nothing if not an exploration into first loves and relationships. The standout lyric here is: “darling it was good/never looking down” (Swift).

“Sad beautiful tragic” and the paper palace (Miranda cowley heller)

The song not only captures the essence of the romance in the novel but the overarching emotion in the book as well. The Paper Palace is a heart-wrenching story, so make sure you search up the trigger warnings beforehand. The lyric that best describes this book is: “you’ve got your demons/and darling they all look like me” (Swift).

“the lucky one” and the seven husbands of evelyn hugo (Taylor Jenkins reid)

Even before I planned on writing this article, every time I heard “The Lucky One,” I was reminded of the story of Evelyn Hugo. The novel follows the life of Evelyn Hugo and her rise to fame along with her infamous seven marriages. Exactly like the After Series, the lyrics to this song are all related to the book so I can’t choose only one solo lyric.

“Everything has changed” and better than the Movies (Lynn Painter)

The song is all about seeing a friend in a new and more romantic light. While Better than the Movies is more of a childhood frenemy to lovers’ story arch, the lyrics still apply.  Especially the lyric: “I just wanna know you better now” (Swift).

“starlight” and the unhoneymooners (Christina lauren)

This is another one of my absolute favourite books. “Starlight” completely captures the whirlwind romance of the book and the excitement that comes along with it. For this song and book, I don’t think a particular lyric sticks out to me, but it’s the essence of the song that matches the vibe of the book.

“begin again” and beach ride (emily henry)

Main characters January and Gus learn how to fall in love again, like how Taylor sings about learning to love after sustaining a broken heart. Their romance is sweet and beautiful just like this song. The lyric “I’ve been spending the last eight months/thinking all love ever does is/break and burn and burn/but on a Wednesday in a café/I watched it begin again” (Swift) is the perfect example for Beach Read.

“the moment I knew” and the invisible life of addie LaRue (V.e. Schwab)

I honestly don’t know why this book and song reminded me of each other, but they did.  I think perhaps it has something to do with the longing Addie feels for Luc throughout the book, although she does not want to outright admit it.  The lyric that really sold it for me was: “you should’ve been here/and I would’ve been so happy” (Swift).

“come back… be here” and The Light we Lost (Jill Santopolo)

In “Come Back…Be Here”, Taylor Swift sings about a long-lost love that she wishes would return to her. Santopolo’s The Light We Lost narrates the same story through Gabe and Lucy’s relationship. The lyric that most relates to the book is: “taxi cabs and busy streets never bring you back to me” (Swift).

“girl at home” and Ariadne (Jennifer Saint)

Ariadne is a Greek mythology re-telling of the Minatour story. “Girl at Home” is a song about Taylor essentially telling this mystery man to not look at her because he has a girl at home that she should be faithful to. Ariadne in this sense is the girl at home because Theseus cannot keep his wandering eyes to himself. The lyric that stood out to me is: “while she waits up/you chase down the newest thing and take for granted what you have” (Swift).

“Ronan”

Ronan is the song that Taylor wrote in the memory of Ronan Thompson who died of neuroblastoma. She wrote the song through the eyes of Ronan’s mother Maya Thompson. I could not think of a book that this song reminded me of. However, it is a beautiful song and deserves all the praise in the world!

“better man” and The summer I turned pretty series (Jenny han)

Belly, the main character of Han’s series, longs for her long-time crush Conrad to be a better man.  She wishes that he would fight for her and care for her the way she does for him. However, he constantly falls short of her expectations. The song goes hand in hand with the book especially with a lyric like: “I wonder what we could’ve become if you were a better man” (Swift).

“Nothing new” and Malibu rising (Taylor Jenkins reid)

This entire song practically sums up the character of Nina Riva. While Malibu Rising is concerned with the lives of all four Riva siblings, Nina seems to be the main character and this song is practically her anthem. It’s the song for broken eldest daughters who seem to have nothing figured out at all. Again, this is another song where all the lyrics pertain to the book and there’s isn’t one lyric that stands out.

“babe” and The mistake (Elle Kennedy)

“Babe” is a song about a relationship gone wrong, but it does not come off as a ballad. It’s a fun song about how someone messed up a completely good thing, which is exactly what happens in The Mistake by Elle Kennedy. The standout lyric for this duo is: “you really blew this, babe” (Swift).

“message in a bottle” and one true loves (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

“Message in a Bottle” is all about wanting to send your love to someone who is miles away. For Emma, in One True Loves, she is mourning the loss of her husband until she meets Sam, who reminds her that it’s okay to fall in love again. However, when her husband Jesse is rescued and declared alive, she doesn’t know if she should go back to her old love or continue falling in love with Sam. The standout lyric for this book and song duo is: “but now you’re so far away and I’m down” (Swift).

“I bet you think about me” and Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

I can’t say much about this song and book combination, but I can say is this: “I bet you think about me” (Swift) is really similar to when Daisy Jones promised that her memory would ruin rock and roll for a certain lead singer.

“forever winter” and Just Last Night (Mhairi Macfarlane)

It is theorized that Taylor wrote “Forever Winter” about a friend struggling with addiction issues. I can’t spoil the book for you, but there are a lot of similarities between the song and the narrative in Just Last Night.

“run” and Catch a falling star (Kim culberston)

Catch a Falling Star is all about the PR relationship between Carter Moon and actor Jake Adams.  Run is parallel to the story of Carter and Jake. Both Carter and Jake wish to run away and find an oasis in which they can be away from the cameras and with each other instead. The lyric that stood out most for this duo is: “we can go where our eyes can take us” (Swift).

“the very first night” and One Day in December (Josie silver)

One Day in December is a story about lost love, soulmates, and a relationship where two people long for another, but cannot be together due to the circumstances surrounding their relationship.  Similarly, “The Very First Night” is about wanting to back in time to when a relationship was not complicated and just full of happiness. The lyric for this book and song duo that stood out to me was: “I’d pick you up and we’d go back in time” (Swift).

I hope that you check out the books on this list and continue to stream Red Taylor’s Version.  Hopefully the lyric and storyline parallels will make your heart go “pitter-patter” just like it did with mine. Happy reading!

Mansi Jaswal

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Mansi Jaswal is in her fourth year as an English Major at Wilfrid Laurier. She hopes to pursue a career in publication. When she is not writing for Her Campus, you can find her reading a rom-com, playing with her puppy Leo, or baking.
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