In celebration of the release of Red (Taylor’s Version), I felt it was appropriate for me, a self-proclaimed Swiftie, to pair each song in the album with a book. If you enjoy a song from the album, you might enjoy the recommended book and vice versa.
So if you enjoy a little bit of pain (which I assume you do if you listen to Taylor Swift), stick around while I explain my pairings and why I think the book reminds me of the song.
Song: The State of Grace
Book: One Last Stop
“I’m walking fast through the traffic lights
Busy streets and busy lives
And all we know is touch and go
We are alone with our changing minds
We fall in love ’til it hurts or bleeds, or fades in time”
Reason: This book is set in New York City and the protagonist, August, has no interest in falling in love. That is until she meets a mysterious girl, Jane, on the subway. They were so alone in the big city, without any roots holding them there until they meet each other. If you enjoy a sweet, but complex queer love story, check out One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston.
Book: These Violent Delights
“Remembering him comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
In burning red”
Reason: If you have read this book, you would know how intense Roma and Juliette’s relationship is. They went from lovers to enemies when they betrayed one another. They keep wanting to hate each other for what they did, but they can not help but be pulled back together. The line “moving on from him is impossible” is so similar to how Juliette feels about Roma and how much he still affects her. If you love angsty romance with elements of fantasy, check out These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.
Song: Once Upon a Broken Heart
“This slope is treacherous
This path is reckless
This slope is treacherous
I, I, I like it”
Reason: Falling for the Prince of Heart is not an easy feat, especially if he is cursed with heartbreaks and deaths. That is exactly what happened in Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber. Even though Evangeline knows she cannot fall for the Prince, she cannot help herself which is why Treacherous is the perfect song for this book.
Song: I Knew You Were Trouble
Book: These Hollow Vows
“Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago
I was in your sights, you got me alone
You found me, you found me, you found me”
Reason: There is no other book that is a better fit than These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan. The lines “I was in your sight / You got me alone” fits the plotline so well, when Brie is found by the Unseelie King. This book screams trouble when there is so much betrayal that you don’t know who to trust. Read this book if you like morally grey love interests and a fierce protagonist.
Song: All Too Well
Book: People We Meet on Vacation
“And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece ’til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there
I remember it all too well”
Reason: I picked Beach Read by Emily Henry because the two main leads did in fact get lost in translation. They were once best friends, but after a fallout, the two are left heartbroken. The book follows Poppy and Alex as they mend their friendship, which turned into so much more.
Book: On A Sunbeam
“Yeah, we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time
It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah”
Reason: On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden was a dreamy space adventure with a group of girls. This is a beautiful coming-of-age story that perfectly embodied the song, 22. If they had Taylor Swift in the future, I am sure they would be jamming out to 22. If you like adventurous stories about found family and second chance, read this comic!
Song: I Almost Do
Book: A Court of Wings and Ruin
“And I just wanna tell you
It takes everything in me not to call you
And I wish I could run to you
And I hope you know that
Every time I don’t, I almost do, I almost do”
Reason: That part of the song reminds me of the time when Feyre infiltrated the Spring Court to gain information about King Hybern. She is strong when she had to leave behind her family, but she was always sad and wanted to hear from Rhysand. She would want to try to communicate with him, but could not because Tamlin would find out. This is a beautiful and sad song that captures the despair Feyre felt during this book.
Song: We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
Book: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
I remember when we broke up, the first time
Saying, “this is it, I’ve had enough”
‘Cause like, we hadn’t seen each other in a month
When you said you needed space (what?)
Then you come around again and say
“Baby, I miss you and I swear I’m gonna change, trust me”
Remember how that lasted for a day?
I say, “I hate you, ” we break up, you call me, “I love you”
Reason: The song fits this comic book so well. The story is exactly what is happening in the song. The two main leads Laura Dean and Freddy keep breaking up. Laura Dean keeps breaking up with Freddy whenever she doesn’t feel like being in a relationship anymore. Throughout the story, Freddy learns to be ok without Laura Dean. If you like a coming-of-age queer romance about the ups and downs of love, check out Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell.
Song: Stay Stay Stay
“You took the time to memorize me
My fears, my hopes, and dreams
I just like hanging out with you, all the time
All those times that you didn’t leave, it’s been occurring to me
I’d like to hang out with you, for my whole life”
Reason: This upbeat love song is perfect for the wholesome story of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. Nick and Charlie learn so much about each other as they transition from desk mates to friends to lovers. This comic, although light-hearted, touches on some heavy topics such as sexuality, gender, mental illness, and eating disorders. Follow Nick and Charlie and their friends through their lives in this heart-warming, queer comic.
Song: The Last Time
Book: It Ends With Us
“You find yourself at my door
Just like all those times before
You wear your best apology
But I was there to watch you leave
And all the times I let you in
Just for you to go again
Disappear when you come back
Everything is better”
Reason: This song perfectly described Lily and Ryle’s relationship. He is always begging her for forgiveness and every time he says it is the last time it will happen. This song and this book are both heart-breaking. Please check the trigger warning before reading It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.
Song: Holy Ground
Book: Love and Other Words
“And I guess we fell apart in the usual way
And the story’s got dust on every page
But sometimes, I wonder how you think about it now
And I see your face in every crowd”
Reason: I feel like this song describes a romance that fizzles out, but it will always be a good memory. For that reason, I am recommending Love and Other Words by Christine Lauren. The book is the perfect second chance romance about two people who fell out of love but still gravitate towards each other.
Song: Sad Beautiful Tragic
Book: House of Earth and Blood
I meet you in warm conversation
We both wake
In lonely beds
In different cities
Is taking its sweet time erasing you
And you’ve got your demons
And darlin’ they all look like me”
Reason: This part of the song reminds me of when Bryce realized Hunt betrayed her. She was angry at him, but she couldn’t bring herself to hate him. The song perfectly captures how Bryce felt during the moment after Hunt left her. Check out House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas if you want a tragic yet heartfelt romance with a great fantasy plotline.
Song: The Lucky One
Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
“Now it’s big black cars and Riviera views
And your lover in the foyer doesn’t even know you
And your secrets end up splashed on the news front page
And they tell you that you’re lucky, but you’re so confused
‘Cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used
And all the young things line up to take your place”
Reason: This song is easily The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The song portrays the flaws of the glamorous life in the spotlight. Evelyn deals with being a celebrity, showing how the limelight is not what it appears to be. Behind the glamor and the spotlight, is a lonely life. This book reflects what Taylor Swift probably felt like as a celebrity.
Song: Everything Has Changed
Book: The Spanish Love Deception
“And all my walls stood tall, painted blue
And I’ll take ’em down, take ’em down
And open up the door for you
And all I feel in my stomach is butterflies
The beautiful kind, making up for lost time
Taking flight, making me feel right“
Reason: Just like the song, The Spanish Love Deception will give you butterflies when you read it. Lina and Aaron are enemies (supposedly). Throughout the book, you follow Lina as she slowly falls for Aaron and starts letting her walls down around him. It is a song about new love and there is no love story sweeter than Aaron and Lina’s.
Link: Book Depository
Book: Red, White, and Royal Blue
“And I said, “Oh, my, what a marvelous tune”
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved
The whole place was dressed to the nines
And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight”
Reason: This song is what I imagined playing during the ball scene in Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. I can imagine Alex and Henry dancing to this song, surrounded by people in their fancy clothes, forgetting that they are the son of the president and prince of England. Check out Red, White, and Royal Blue if you want a fun and exciting queer romance.
Song: Begin Again
Book: Beach Read
“I think it’s strange that you think I’m funny ’cause he never did
I’ve been spending the last eight months
Thinking all love ever does is break and burn and end
But on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again”
Reason: This reminds me of January’s break up with her long-term boyfriend after the death of her father. She moves to a small town where she runs into an old classmate, Augustus. There she finds herself being able to fall in love again and heal her heart from things she never thought she would ever forget. If you want a sweet love story that touches on some important values in life, pick up Beach Read by Emily Henry.
Song: Come Back…Be Here
Book: Permanent Record
“And this is when the feeling sinks in
I don’t wanna miss you like this
Come back, be here”
Reason: The song is about Taylor’s experience with long-distance relationships. This book is perfect because the two main leads must deal with long-distance and social media. The two even meet at 4 A.M. just like the song. Pick this book up if you want a heartfelt story about two people from different worlds falling in love.
Song: Girl At Home
Book: The Love Hypothesis
“I don’t even know her
But I feel a responsibility to do what’s upstanding and right
It’s kinda like a code, yeah
And you’ve been getting closer and closer, and crossing so many lines”
Reason: The reason I picked this book for this song is not that the two main lead cheats on their partners. I felt it was appropriate because Olive, the female lead, only fake dates Adam, the male lead so that Olive’s best friend would be ok dating her ex, for who she has no feelings. I imagine this song was how her best friend felt, trying to resist the temptation to date her friend’s ex without disregarding the girl code.
That concludes my list of Red (Taylor’s Version) as books. This is not an exhaustive list, only books that I have read that fits each song. I also did not include the new vault songs in this list. If you would like to add to the list or discuss the books, please comment below!