In 2020, Taylor Swift shook up the music world with her sister albums folklore and evermore. From “right where you left me” to “willow,” Swift masterfully explored tales of heartbreak, mystery, inner complexities, and witchcraft — all through her signature narrative style. Now, fans of Swift’s evermore can take the ride further with a selection of books that fit its theme like a glove. From Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (for “tolerate it”) to A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson (for “no body, no crime”), there’s something for everyone. So if you’re looking books like the songs from evermore, these books will provide you endless evermore reading material.
Track 1: willow
Bone Island: Book of Danvers by Nicole Fiorina
Wait for the signal and I’ll meet you after dark / Show me the places where the others gave you scars / Now this is an open-shut case / Guess I should’ve known from the look on your face / Every bait and switch was a work of art.
The opening track of evermore, “willow,” paints a whimsy and imaginative picture. Taylor Swift herself explained in a YouTube Q&A that the song is about “intrigue, desire, and the complexity that goes into wanting someone.” Nicole Fiorina’s Bone Island: Book of Danvers perfectly captures these sentiments, following Adora Sullivan, a vengeful witch, and Stone Danvers, a lost and tortured stranger. The waves of their love, both turbulent and savage, bring to life the lyrical and witchy imagery of “willow.” It will cast a spell on you.
Track 2: champagne problems
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Swift’s second track from evermore, “champagne problems,” fits Jo and Laurie from Little Women to a tee.
“You’ll find a lovely and accomplished girl who will love you and adore you and…” (Little Women) “Hold your hand while dancing, never leave you standing, crestfallen on the landing” (“champagne problems”). YouTube commenters connected the first quote, said by Jo in Little Women, with the lyrics from “champagne problems,” and it is utter perfection.
The phrase champagne problems refers to problems seen as inconsequential issues that one doesn’t need to worry about. In a brilliant play on words, Taylor Swift takes that phrase and creates a layered masterpiece that tells the story of a woman who declines a marriage proposal, alluding to her struggles with mental health as the reason behind her decision.
More books like “champagne problems”: The Opportunist by Tarrryn Fisher and In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Track 3: gold rush
The Idea of You by Robinne Lee
My mind turns your life into folklore / I can’t dare to dream about you anymore
Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You is a mesmerizing romance centered around a whirlwind fling between twenty-year-old pop sensation Hayes Campbell and thirty-nine-year-old art gallery owner Solène Marchand. Enchanted by each other at first glance, feelings slowly emerge, turning into something neither could ignore. However, between the media, familial pressures, and public opinion, whether they can survive the great war is up in the air.
How exactly does “gold rush” fit in with The Idea of You? Like the story Swift tells in “gold rush,” Solène and Hayes experience their own gold rush.
More books like “gold rush”:The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Track 4: ‘tis the damn season
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
‘Tis the damn season, write this down / I’m stayin’ at my parents’ house / And the road not taken looks real good now.
For the fourth track of evermore, “’tis the damn season,” Swift penned a melancholy yet hopeful track about someone returning to their hometown and reigniting a fleeting fling with a past lover. The lyrics wonderfully encapsulate We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, a story about a girl, Marin, who is about to get a visit from her best friend, Mabel, after cutting her and everyone else off months before. So, just like “’tis the damn season,” We Are Okay emphasizes reconnecting with the ones you love.
More books like “’tis the damn season”:Normal People by Sally Rooney | People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry | The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart | In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Track 5: tolerate it
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
I made you my temple, my mural, my sky / Now I’m begging for footnotes in the story of your life / Drawing hearts in the byline / Always taking up too much space or time
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier inspired Swift when she wrote her heartbreaking track “tolerate it.” With beautiful lyricism, Swift tells the story of someone in a relationship with someone older and wiser who is ambivalent towards them. Similarly, we see this play out in Rebecca. The heroine falls into a whirlwind romance with the mature and cultured Maxim de Winter, ending in a proposal. Now, as the lady of the estate, she quickly finds that everything is not what it once was as she becomes the “footnotes in the story of [his] life.”
More books like “tolerate it”:Adelaide by Genevieve Wheeler
Track 6: no body, no crime (feat. HAIM)
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Holly Jackson’s A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder brings the vibes of “no body, no crime” to life. Like Swift’s dark murder mystery song, the bestselling mystery series is rife with twists, dark secrets, and murder. In “no body, no crime,” a friend of the narrator believes her husband to be having an affair, and when the friend winds up dead, the narrator sets out to avenge her friend. Similar events occur in A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, except the protagonist is a high school senior determined to uncover the true story behind a murder that rocked her small town. And she “ain’t letting up until the day [she] dies.”
More books like “no body, no crime”:Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens | The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix | Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Track 7: happiness
For You by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Taylor Swift is an expert at infusing her music with emotional undertones, and in “happiness,” she delves into the heart-wrenching aftermath of a crumbling relationship. However, rather than focusing solely on a dead romance, Swift explores the depiction of happiness during and after the relationship. Jodi Ellen Malpas beautifully captures the complexity of this track in For You.
Lo Harper would undoubtedly be able to relate to “happiness.” After marrying the love of her life, Lo’s happily ever after was just in reach until it wasn’t. Now, Lo is struggling to keep herself and Billy afloat. Mentally drained and broken beyond repair, Lo’s future feels increasingly desolate when Luke Williamson enters the scene and brings a much-needed sprinkling of happiness.
Track 8: dorothea
Perspective by Monica McCallan
When “dorothea” hit the radio, many fans theorized that Swift wrote the song with her friend Selena Gomez in mind, while others believed it to be a continuation of “tis the damn season.” In it, Swift sings about Dorothea, a girl who left home to chase her big dreams, and is deeply missed by the narrator, her childhood best friend.
Similarly, in Perspective by Monica McCallan, former college best friends, Campbell St. Clair, a successful author, and Sloane Murphy, a rising actress, reunite on set for the movie adaptation of Campbell’s bestselling novel. Once reunited, old wounds reopen, and the memories from their past rise to the surface.
Track 9: coney island (feat. The National)
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Perhaps the most emotional song from evermore is “coney island.” The track depicts all the regrets and feelings of longing in the aftermath of a failed relationship. Right out of the gate, Swift provides a clear glimpse into the narrator’s headspace, singing, “Break my soul in two looking for you / But you’re right here / If I can’t relate to you anymore / Then who am I related to?”
Heartbreaking and relatable, Swift shows how the breakdown of a relationship falls on distance, but not always in the physical sense. From there, we get a sense of longing from both Swift and The National’s Matt Berninger as they sing, “‘Cause we were like the mall before the internet / It was the one place to be / The mischief, the gift-wrapped suburban dreams / Sorry for not winning you an arcade ring.”
When you put this all together, you get the tragic story of Mick and June Riva from Malibu Rising, reminiscent of “coney island.” Legendary singer Mick was a distant husband and an uninvolved dad. Now, with the regrets of his past more and more prominent each day, Mick returns, hoping to make amends.
More books like “coney island”:Letters to Molly by Devney Perry
Track 10: ivy
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Swift’s track “ivy” from evermore creates an atmosphere that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s riveting novel, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Centering around the glamorous figure of Evelyn Hugo, readers are taken on a journey through her past as she gives an exclusive interview to an unsuspecting Monique Grant. As the story unfolds, we receive a captivating insight into the iconic Hollywood star’s inspiring rise to fame, her eventual retreat from the spotlight, and the seven husbands along the way.
Themes of love, betrayal, and heartache from Swift’s “ivy” draw distinct parallels with the life of Reid’s beloved protagonist. Swift’s message of being promised to someone else while their heart lies elsewhere is explored through Evelyn’s much-documented marital altercations. This captivating narrative is sure to please fans of both Reid and Swift, giving those who love evermore a much-needed escape.
More books like “ivy”:Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Track 11: cowboy like me
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
With folklore and evermore, Swift took a different approach to songwriting. Rather than make the songs autobiographical, she took a more fictional approach. In “cowboy like me,” Swift tells the story of an unlikely relationship between two con artists “hustling for the good life.” And who better to fit the “cowboy like me” mold than Six of Crows’ criminal mastermind Kaz Brekker and elusive spy Inej?
Both want more from life; if that means conning their way into their riches, so be it. Of course, a romance had never been in the plans. However, love does not play by the rules. In the case of the swindlers from “cowboy like me,” “Forever is the sweetest con.” For Inej and Kaz…Well, you’ll have to read the duet to find out.
More books like “cowboy like me”: Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson | Pretty Things by Janelle Brown | These Violent Delights by Micah Nemerever | The Cruel Prince by Holly Black | Broken Vow by Sophie Lark
Track 12: long story short
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Swift’s track “long story short” could practically be the soundtrack of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury. Like the song’s narrator, Feyre turns the page on a chapter of her life. As Swift would put it, “long story short, it was a bad time…and the wrong guy.” But with the end of one chapter, Feyre finally enters a new era—one where she’s all about creating a life with the right guy.
Track 13: marjorie
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
It is no secret that 13 is Taylor Swift’s favorite number, so it should come as no surprise that she would make “epiphany” and “marjorie,” beautiful tributes to her grandfather and grandmother, the thirteenth tracks on her albums folklore and evermore. With lines like “I should’ve asked you questions / I should’ve asked you how to be / Asked you to write it down for me / Should’ve kept every grocery store receipt / ‘Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me,” Swift’s lyricism evokes waves of emotions. It resonates deeply, bringing us to Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart. In this powerful memoir, Zauner delves into her complex relationship with her mother, creating a profoundly moving tribute to her mother.
Track 14: Closure
When Life Happened by Jewel E. Ann
In Jewel E. Ann’s novel When Life Happened, there are similarities with the fourteenth track of evermore, “closure.” The song is about not needing fake apologies or shallow friendships from someone who caused harm. Similarly, the main character in When Life Happened, Parker Cruse, decides to move on after discovering her twin sister and long-time boyfriend cheating on her. She does not want or need closure from the people who caused the irreparable damage, just like the narrator of “closure.”
Track 15: evermore (feat. Bon Iver)
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Taylor Swift’s melancholic track “evermore” speaks to the issue of mental health. In the song, Swift sings about depression and how it feels like it may never end (I had a feeling so peculiar / That this pain would be for / Evermore). The book that brings this song to life is Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. The story follows the life of Eleanor Oliphant, a New Yorker who looks okay on the outside, but inside she is struggling with intimacy issues, difficulty making friends, and loneliness. However, her life takes a turn for the better when she meets an IT guy from her office.
More books like “evermore”:A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Track 16: Right Where You Left Me
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
One of my favorite tracks from Taylor Swift’s album “evermore” is the sixteenth track, titled “right where you left me”. In this song, Swift sings about someone who is heartbroken and unable to move on, stuck in the moment when everything went wrong.
This feeling is relatable to the main character in V.E. Schwab’s novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Addie makes a deal that freezes her at the age of 23 forever, but she is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. The lyrics “Did you ever hear about the girl who got frozen? / Time went on for everybody else, she won’t know it / She’s still 23 inside her fantasy / How it was supposed to be” are especially poignant for Addie. It’s a standout track that perfectly captures the mood of the book.
More books like right where you left me:Great Expectations by Charles Dickens | Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld