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In celebration of the release of 1989 (Taylor’s Version), I have handpicked a mix of books that speak to the stories told in each song and the emotions they evoke.
From Reverse by Kate Stewart, which speaks to the highs and lows of a turbulent relationship (“Out of the Woods”), to Ominous by K.V. Rose, a toxic fever dream of a relationship (“Wonderland”), these books are sure to draw out the same emotions as Taylor’s music.
So, if you are a book lover who loves Taylor Swift, jump into this 1989-inspired book list and jump down the rabbit hole of Swift’s mesmerizing songs.
Fans of Taylor Swift and Kate Clayborn alike rejoice: New York City is the setting for these two powerhouses of song and literature. From Swift’s upbeat danceable anthem, “Welcome To New York,” to Clayborn’s romantic Love Lettering, the City of Dreams provides an electric backdrop for stories of optimism and love. Step into New York and immerse yourself in the jubilant energy of both works, celebrating the bright lights and the star-crossed lovers who inhabit their stories.
More Books Like Welcome To New York:Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn | Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino | In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Taylor Swift has mastered the art of cleverly commenting on her own life and public persona in her music. In the tongue-in-cheek track “Blank Space”, Swift explores her own reputation as an adventurous serial dater, representing herself as someone who views love as a game.
Similarly, Margaret Atwood challenges Homer’s famous story of Odysseus’ wife Penelope in her novel The Penelopiad. Instead of simply retelling the familiar narrative, Atwood gives Penelope and her twelve maidens a voice, giving them the opportunity to provide a more nuanced and honest version of the events.
If you’re looking for literature with the wit and insight of Taylor Swift’s songs, The Penelopiad is the perfect choice!
Falling in love is complicated, and Taylor Swift knows it – her 1989 hit “Style” captures that messiness perfectly. From its memorable lyrics and iconic references to James Dean, this classic track remains timeless. If you’re looking for a book that perfectly reflects the same sentiment, Auden Dar’s Maestro has got you covered.
This captivating story follows a talented cellist and a mysterious maestro – said to be the “James Dean of the music world” – as they navigate the exhilarating yet dangerous highs and lows of modern romance. So, grab this beautiful book and tap into the same sultry vibes that “Style” has to offer. After all, it is a song that will never go out of style.
More Books Like Style:The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley | Hopelessly Bromantic by Lauren Blakely | I Hate You by Ilsa Madden-Mills | The Words by Ashley Jade | Ruthless Knight by Ashley Jade
Relationships can be a rollercoaster, and Taylor Swift’s iconic song “Out Of The Woods” embodies that complexity. Swift reflects on the golden days of her past relationship and the difficulty of navigating its obstacles. It’s a tumultuous journey that is brought to life in book form as seen in Kate Stewart’s Reverse.
When budding journalist Natalie Butler and rising rock legend Easton Crowne enter into a forbidden whirlwind fling, they face a turbulent test of survival when their relationship is thrust into the spotlight. Do they make it out of the woods?
More Books Like Out Of The Woods:An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir | Method by Kate Stewart
Taylor Swift’s hit single “All You Had To Do Was Stay” is a perfect representation of the fragile bonds that unravel when decisions made by a partner do irreparable damage. With lyrics like “Hey, all you had to do was stay / Had me in the palm of your hand / Then why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?” Swift conveys the idea that had her partner stayed, the outcome would have been drastically different. Similarly, readers can witness this concept in Hailey Turner’s The Prince’s Poisoned Vow, where Soren and Vanya’s fledgling romance crumbles due to secrets, political pressure, and hasty decisions.
Taylor Swift has long been masterful in her ability to clap back at her haters with some of the catchiest and most iconic songs. Perhaps one of her most triumphant and empowering anthems is “Shake It Off,” a relentless reminder to shake off the criticisms of others and live life to your own beat. The same sentiment is echoed in Jerry Spinelli’s beloved classic, Stargirl. Despite the negative attention she receives from her peers, the titular Stargirl continues to express her unique identity and never wavers in her commitment to always stay true to herself.
Taylor Swift’s melodious serenade of longing in “I Wish You Would” speaks to anyone who has experienced a past love that still lingers on their mind – and this same scenario is masterfully captured in Emily Henry’s novel, Happy Place. Harriet and Wyn were once a perfect pair, until their relationship hit a dead end. But when the two, alongside their friends, join together for their annual trip, their feelings for one another come flooding back with the force of an incoming tide. Despite the couple’s difficult split, it remains clear that their love never died.
No one knows the sting of a friend’s betrayal better than Taylor Swift, whose “Bad Blood” paints a picture of a friendship gone wrong. V.E. Schwab’s Victor from Vicious can certainly relate — after a decade in prison following his best friend’s ultimate act of deceit, the only thing left between them is bad blood. With his sights set on revenge, Victor is determined to get his own back.
“Wildest Dreams” is Taylor Swift’s longing and sultry ode to a wishfully fleeting affair, and Robinne Lee’s novel The Idea of You echoes its bittersweet sentiment. Protagonist Solène Marchand embarks on a whirlwind romance with world-famous rock star, Hayes Campbell.
Swift’s lyrics can easily apply to the duo and readers alike, as its core is a story of memories, longing, and love that plagues both characters and readers. Even when it’s all over, the memories will remain: “Someday when you leave me / I bet these memories / Follow you around.” This book and song will transport you to another time as your heart aches with bittersweet nostalgia – just like “Wildest Dreams”.
“How You Get The Girl” is essentially a how-to guide on how to get the girl back after making a mess of the relationship. In Katherine Allred’s The Sweet Gum Tree, Nick Anderson returns home after years apart to win back his first love and childhood best friend Alix French, similar to Taylor Swift’s track “How You Get The Girl.” Navigating fifteen years of distance and hurt feelings to regain her trust and prove his intentions are serious will be the ultimate challenge.
Love can be an inexorable force, unrelenting no matter what. Even when it appears to be done, it can find its way back to you if it’s meant to be. Taylor Swift and Jenny Han both explore the complex and unpredictable nature of love; Swift in her song “This Love,” and Han in her novel The Summer I Turned Pretty. In Swift’s track, she paints a vivid image of a relationship that can endure anything, a theme we also see in the love story between Belly and the Fisher brothers.
More Books Like This Love: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Fame can be hard enough to handle without the added challenge of a relationship. Taylor Swift and Jodi Ellen Malpas both explore this dynamic, with Swift providing a candid perspective in her song “I Know Places” and Malpas in her novel The Controversial Princess.
In the novel, the Princess of England risks it all to embark on a passionate affair with the golden boy of Hollywood. But as a member of the royal family, escaping the ever-watchful eye of the public and paparazzi is impossible.
Not every love story has a happy ending. Many times it ends in heart-rending pain that can take a lifetime to heal. Taylor Swift’s song “Clean” captures the struggles of moving on after a breakup in vivid detail.
In Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me, Griffin is struggling to stay afloat following the death of his ex-boyfriend and first love. Consumed by grief and unable to move forward, Griffin’s story is reminiscent of “Clean” and the powerful, lingering after effects of heartbreak.
It’s time to embark on a wild journey to the whimsical world of Wonderland. Taylor Swift’s track, “Wonderland,” pays homage to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland with references to the Cheshire Cat’s smile, and the ever-unpredictable energy of Wonderland. But unlike Alice, Taylor Swift shows no signs of leaving her dreamlike world, even though it may lead to danger.
K.V. Rose’s Ominous brings readers back into Wonderland, following Eden and Eli as they spiral into a crazed whirlwind of unyielding love. Much like the narrator of “Wonderland,” Eden and Eli are pulled along a rabbit hole of obsession and madness. For all the book lovers out there who have fallen for Taylor Swift and Alice in Wonderland, this is the perfect read.
More Books Like Wonderland:Caraval by Stephanie Garber, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
“You Are In Love” paints a vivid picture of the little, yet powerful moments that make you realize you’re irrevocably, deeply in love. Writing duo Christina Lauren has captured these same emotions in their charming novel, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. The protagonists Josh and Hazel display an exquisite kind of love that blossoms from an honest friendship into genuine love.
More Books Like You Are In Love: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Taylor Swift’s “New Romantics” is an upbeat tribute to the new romantics and their signature carefree outlook on life. It’s an inspiring anthem that pairs perfectly with Becca Freeman’s The Christmas Orphans Club, a heartwarming story of four friends navigating a decade of life in New York City. Whether you prefer the music of Taylor Swift or a page-turning story, both are a great way to celebrate life and find joy in even the toughest of times.
More Books Like New Romantics: Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Taylor Swift’s power pop hit “Slut!” explores the double standards men and women face when it comes to their love lives. In the song, Swift takes on the reality of being judged for her romantic relationships, with lyrics like “Lovelorn and nobody knows / Love thorns all over this rose / I’ll pay the price, you won’t.”
Katee Rose from Elissa Sussman’s book Once More With Feeling could certainly relate to this message, as she was caught in a compromising situation that spelled the end of her career. Swift’s song speaks to these experiences of being judged for the choices we make in our romantic lives.
Taylor Swift captures the heartache and hopelessness of a doomed relationship in her emotional song “Say Don’t Go”. We can find similar themes in Flock by Kate Stewart, in which Dom, Sean, and Cecilia race down a one-way path of heartache – one that ends with them pleading, “don’t go.” For readers who have ever found themselves in a similar situation, Swift’s song and Stewart’s book will both hit painfully close to home.
The pain of moving on after a relationship ends is all too familiar – Taylor Swift captures this in her song “Now That We Don’t Talk,” singing “The more I gave, the less you’d want me / I cannot be your friend / So I pay the price of what I lost and what it cost.” In Devney Perry’s novel Letters to Molly, Molly and Finn have barely spoken since their divorce, until Molly gets some letters in the mail, forcing them to face their past. These stories capture the struggle of moving on with grace and strength, no matter how hard it may be. It’s a challenge we can all relate to, just like the characters in these books and Taylor Swift songs.
In Taylor Swift’s “Suburban Legends,” she reflects on the fragility of a doomed relationship, singing, “I didn’t come here to make friends / We were born to be suburban legends / When you hold me, it holds me together / And you kiss me in a way that’s gonna screw me forever.” Jewel E. Ann’s Transcend also tells the story of love and destiny, featuring Nathan and Swayze’s fated relationship. But as they soon discover, life isn’t predetermined. The tumultuous journey of their relationship unveils the harsh realities of fate and ultimately brings their feelings to an ultimate turning point.
In Taylor Swift’s breakup song “Is It Over Now?”, the singer is left to cope in the aftermath of her and her ex parting ways. She reflects on the pain of heartbreak: “If she’s got blue eyes, I will surmise that you’ll probably date her / You dream of my mouth before it called you a lying traitor / You search in every model’s bed for somethin’ greater, baby.”
The emotions she expresses in this song can be felt by characters in books like J.M. Darhower’s Ghosted. Kennedy, the protagonist, also finds herself picking up the pieces after her boyfriend’s rise to fame has left her behind. In the end, she finally decides that it is time to let go.