If you know anything about me, then you will know that I really like Taylor Swift. Less in a ‘oh, she’s cool, I guess‘ type of way and more so in a ‘I’d give her my first born child‘ type of way, which is why I decided to recommend a book based on every song from her 2019 album, Lover.
Before we begin, I’d like to thank Penguin Teen for the inspiration and you can check out their own suggestions here.
1. Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi as I Forgot That You Existed
Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.
Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.
KEY LINE: I forgot that you existed and I thought that it would kill me, but it didn’t.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: This is such a mean comparison, but a pretty straightforward one too — Warner forgot that Juliette/Ella existed. Even if they found their way back to each other, Warner didn’t like her at first when he couldn’t have imagined not loving her at one point.
2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver as Cruel Summer
In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistake.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the “Wilds” who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?
KEY LINE: And I scream for whatever it’s worth, “I love you, ain’t that the worst thing you ever heard?”
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Love is illegal in Delirium, so Lena being in love with Alex is genuinely the worst thing that could happen to her. Cruel Summer reminds me of Lena and Alex because their romance is very much forbidden and filled with secrecy.
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.
Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.
When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.
KEY LINE: My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue, all’s well that ends well to end up with you.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: This is part of the Bloodlines series and is so much better than the cover looks, I promise. Adrian and Sydney are one of my favourite couples and I think Lover is ultimately a song about the moments everyone else doesn’t see in a relationship — Adrian definitely brought out a more spontaneous side to Sydney. They also got married in Vegas, so the wedding reference in this song totally works!
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer and possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.
Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
KEY LINE: What I was wearing, if I was rude, could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: The Man was probably the easiest song for me to choose a book for because The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is an amazing book about a teenager fighting against an all male secret society at her private school (even if the title is a little bit of a mouthful.) The book perfectly matches the tone of The Man — a song about the double standards between men and women.
5. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer as The Archer
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
KEY LINE: All the king’s horses, all the king’s men couldn’t put me together again.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: The Archer, at its core, is a song about being both the predator and the prey, both strong and weak. That reminds me a lot of Harper, someone who wasn’t the strongest physically, but was a good leader with an extensive emotional capacity. Then there’s Rhen — nobody saw the real him until Harper. For years, he watched the people he love die and was stuck fighting a losing battle.
6. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston as I Think He Knows
Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it?
KEY LINE: I want you, bless my soul and I ain’t gotta tell him, I think he knows.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Despite being set up on several dates, the person Sophie really likes is Wes, someone she’s been friends with for a long time. This encapsulates the giddiness of I Think He Knows — that moment when the other person realised how you feel about them and it registers how much you want them too.
7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins as Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
KEY LINE: You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: I could write an entire essay on how well this song fits The Hunger Games. In fact, I did an entire thread on it. Both the song and the book are a political commentary and we see how Katniss struggles to adjust to the publicity the games bring and how she can do nothing right in their eyes, much like the song documents the scrutiny Swift endured through the extended metaphor of high school.
8. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare as Paper Rings
It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
KEY LINE: I hate accidents except when we went from friends to this.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Lady Midnight was another easy pick for me — Emma and Julian are one of my favourite friends to lovers relationships. Paper Rings talks about all the small moments in a friendship that soon add up to something more and that fits Emma and Julian really well.
9. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern as Cornelia Street
Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.
She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.
Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.
KEY LINE: That’s the kinda heartbreak time could never mend.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Rosie and Alex endure a lot of heartbreak over the course of their relationship, but they find their way back to each other. I think that matches the tone of Cornelia Street in sense of they can’t imagine not being with each other, but that doesn’t change that they have to get over hurdles and hurt each other before reaching a sense of stability.
10. Divergent by Veronica Roth as Death by a Thousand Cuts
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
KEY LINE: United, we stand, our country, guess it was a lawless land, quiet my fears with the touch of your hand.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Four and Tris enter relationship not long before a war begins, meaning their relationship isn’t without its bumps and results in a lot of pain on both their ends. Death by a Thousand Cuts represents the end of a relationship, but I think it suits Four and Tris too because they were practically doomed from the start.
11. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare as London Boy
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…
KEY LINE: He likes my American smile, like a child when our eyes meet, darling, I fancy you.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Will Herondale may be Welsh, but The Infernal Devices is set in London and Tessa arrives from America, so it should be pretty self-explanatory why I chose to pair one of my favourite books with song centred around a relationship with a London boy.
12. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord as Soon You’ll Get Better
When it all falls apart, who can you believe in?
Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counselor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp—more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realized.
KEY LINE: Desperate people find faith, so I now I pray to Jesus too.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Taylor Swift wrote this song about her mother’s diagnosis with Cancer and Lucy is in the same situation in The Names They Gave Us. She struggles to find something to get her through it and what she does find is in the unlikeliest of places. This is honestly such a powerful read and I absolutely adore Emery Lord’s writing.
13. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin as False God
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
KEY LINE: But we might just get away with it, religion’s in your lips, even if it’s a false god.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: With Lou being a witch and Reid being a Chasseur, religion comes into play a lot in Serpent & Dove, so I think False God is an interesting interpretation of their relationship. Falling for Lou opposes Reid’s entire belief system, but he can’t stop it from happening or change how he feels.
14. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid as You Need To Calm Down
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugois a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it costs–to face the truth.
KEY LINE: And control your urges to scream all about the people you hate ’cause shade never made anybody less gay.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Evelyn Hugo took a long time to be comfortable in her sexuality, so I think this song is applicable because she spoke up after conforming to Hollywood’s standards for most of her life. She endured a lot of judgement as a famous actress, but that judgement was eventually what drove her forward and allowed her to grow.
15. Maybe This Time by Kasie West as Afterglow
One year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?
Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.
Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .
KEY LINE: Chemistry ’til it blows up, ’til there’s no us, why’d I have to break what I love so much?
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Sophie and Andrew are both very stubborn with strong opinions, they fight a lot, but ultimately make each other better as their relationship develops from hate to love. There’s a part of Sophie that’s very hesitant and self-destructive in relationships and that is something addressed in Afterglow.
16. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill as ME!
It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quote another to fall for the – gasp – wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s the queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her…well, pocket. Julia also believes in fate, and that Mark, her childhood crush, is her MTB – her meant-to-be.
But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts…from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to live a little along the way. And this begins a wild-goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
KEY LINE: I know that I went psycho on the phone, I never leave well enough alone and trouble’s gonna follow where I go.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Meant to Be centres around a girl receiving mysterious text messages from someone she met at a party and a boy helping her find out who it is. This is such a fun, vibrant read and that’s totally the tone of ME! Julia and Jason are totally opposites and clash a lot, but somehow work at the same time.
17. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater as It’s Nice To Have A Friend
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
KEY LINE: Something gave you the nerve to touch my hand.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: This song is the epitome of friends to lovers, so I had to use Blue and Gansey as an example. I associate this song with them because their friendship is an adventurous one as Blue knows full well she shouldn’t like Gansey, but she does and it’s hard for her to pinpoint the moment their relationship actually changed. It’s a really soft song for a really soft couple.
18. Ruined by Amy Tintera as Daylight
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
KEY LINE: Threw out our cloaks and our daggers because it’s morning now, it’s brighter now.
WHY I RELATE IT TO THAT SONG: Ruined is one of my favourite books and Daylight is a song that reminds me so much of the relationship between Em and Cas. When we first meet Em, she is full of anger and revenge fantasies, but Cas helps knock down some of her walls and ultimately Daylight is a song about leaving the darkness behind. I think that is exactly what Em does.
Have you listened to Lover? What’s your favourite song? Also, what’s your favourite book from this list? Let me know in the comments.
read it and weep,