Red (Taylor’s Version) as Books

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post other than my monthly wrap-ups, because I just haven’t been feeling very inspired. But since Taylor Swift’s re-release of Red came out, I’ve been listening to it on repeat, and I’ve been loving it so much.

I thought it would be fun to write a blog post recommending books based on the songs on the album. This is by no means an original idea – I was inspired by several people, like Allie With Books on YouTube, and Star from @littlemissstar55 on Instagram. Of course I’ve done my best to come up with my own, original recommendations, so I hope you find some books you’ll like!

State of Grace

Tessa Bailey – It Happened One Summer

So you were never a saint
And I loved in shades of wrong
We learn to live with the pain
Mosaic broken hearts
But this love is brave and wild

It Happened One Summer (Bellinger Sisters, #1)
Cover image It Happened One Summer

Both of the people in this book have been hardened by life, each in their own way, and when they find each other, you notice that in their dynamic.


Z.R. Ellor – May the Best Man Win

Losing him was blue like I’d never known
Missing him was dark gray, all alone
Forgetting him was like trying to know somebody you never met
But loving him was red

May the Best Man Win
Cover image May the Best Man Win

I loved this book for many, many reasons, but the second-chance romance between bitter exes is one of them. Everything about them is angry and passionate, and this song reminds me of that.


Penny Aimes – For the Love of April French

And I’d be smart to walk away
But you’re quicksand

For the Love of April French
Cover image For the Love of April French

This song immediately reminded me of April French, because she doesn’t feel like she deserves to be loved, so when love finds her, she has a hard time accepting it.

I Knew You Were Trouble

Christina Lauren – Autoboyography

‘Cause I knew you were trouble when you walked in
So shame on me now

Cover image Autoboyography

I chose this book, because honestly, it’s one of the angstiest books I know.

All Too Well

Zack Smedley – Deposing Nathan

And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
Till you tore it all up

Deposing Nathan
Cover image Deposing Nathan

Honestly, this is the hardest song matching a book to, so I’ve gone purely by vibes and disastrous relationships. And this is such a masterpiece of a book that I think a lot more people should read, so I can never pass up an opportunity to recommend it.


Casey McQuiston – One Last Stop

We’re happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way
It’s miserable and magical, oh yeah

One Last Stop
Cover image One Last Stop

I’m just going to go with the most basic rec here, because this song has the ultimate new adult party vibes, and no one writes those like Casey McQuiston. I could just as well recommend Red, White & Royal Blue here, but while it’s one of my all-time favourite books, it hardly needs more recognition.

I Almost Do

Alison Cochrun – The Charm Offensive

And I just want to tell you
It takes everything in me
Not to call you

The Charm Offensive
Cover image The Charm Offensive

I have something to admit: often when I read a romance, I read faster during the third act breakup because it annoys me and I want to get to the good part. But here, the breakup is SO angsty and SO good that this song immediately reminded me of it.

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Sarah Hogle – You Deserve Each Other

I’m really gonna miss you picking fights
And me falling for it, screaming that I’m right
And you would hide away and find your peace of mind
With some indie record that’s much cooler than mine

You Deserve Each Other
Cover image You Deserve Each Other

Enemies to lovers is one thing, but lovers to enemies (and maybe back to lovers)? IMMACULATE.

Stay Stay Stay

Adiba Jaigirdar – Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

No one else is gonna love me when I get mad, mad, mad
So I think that it’s best if we both stay

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating
Cover image Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

This song just SCREAMS grumpy x sunshine trope, and I absolutely loved that trope here!

The Last Time

Emily Henry – You and Me On Vacation

This is the last time I’m asking you this
Put my name at the top of your list

You and Me on Vacation
Cover image You and Me On Vacation

I just HAD to squeeze this book in here somewhere, because it’s one of my absolute favourite romances of 2021. This song reminded me of it, because it’s SUCH a slowburn, with lots of mutual pining, where they both just keep failing to prioritize each other in their lives in the way they’d want.

Holy Ground

Kacen Callender – Felix Ever After

We had this big wide city all to ourselves
We block the noise with the sound of, “I need you”
And for the first time I had something to lose

Felix Ever After
Cover image Felix Ever After

Listening to this song, it reminded me so much of Felix and Ezra spending the summer together in New York, feeling like the city is theirs.

Sad Beautiful Tragic

Nita Tyndall – Who I Was With Her

Words, how little they mean, when you’re a little too late

Who I Was with Her
Cover image Who I Was With Her

Another book that deserves more love, that I will recommend at any opportunity. This book is really the epitome of sad, beautiful and tragic, about grief after a bisexual girl loses her secret girlfriend.

The Lucky One

Gabriele Martins – Like a Love Song

And they tell you that you’re lucky, but you’re so confused
‘Cause you don’t feel pretty, you just feel used

Like a Love Song
Cover image Like a Love Song

If we’re talking about fame, I HAVE to recommend Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins, which is one of my favourite YA romances of the year, with fake dating between a Brazilian pop star and a British actor. It’s such a comforting read, with most of the drama happening outside of the romance.

Everything Has Changed (feat. Ed Sheeran)

N.R. Walker – Upside Down

‘Cause all I know is we said, “Hello”
And your eyes look like coming home
All I know is a simple name
Everything has changed

Upside Down
Cover image Upside Down

I have to recommend one of my ultimate comfort reads here, where the main character sees a guy crying on the bus and is immediately intrigued (spoiler: he was listening to an audiobook!).


R.M. Virtues – Drag Me Up

“Don’t you see the starlight, starlight?
Don’t you dream impossible things?”

Drag Me Up (Gods of Hunger, #1)
Cover image Drag Me Up

This song also made me think of fame and luxury, and just being intoxicated with someone else, and that really reminded me of Drag Me Up, a Hades x Persephone romance where Hades is a demisexual casino owner in Las Vegas, and Persephone is a trans performer.

Begin Again

Meredith Ireland – The Jasmine Project

And you throw your head back laughing like a little kid
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

The Jasmine Project
Cover image The Jasmine Project

Jasmine has a boyfriend that her family hates, who keeps putting her down. When she finds out he’s cheating, her family starts a project to set her up on dates with different guys they know, hoping she’ll recover some sense of self worth. This is one of the cutest books I’ve read this year!

The Moment I Knew

Lily Seabrooke – The Christmas Ball

Christmas lights glisten
I’ve got my eye on the door
Just waiting for you to walk in

The Christmas Ball
Cover image The Christmas Ball

I just had to recommend a Christmas book for this song, and The Christmas Ball, a sapphic Christmas romance, is one of my favourites! It also has a sequel that I’m excited to read this December.

Come Back… Be Here

Jonny Garza Villa – Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun

This is falling in love in the cruellest way
This is falling for you when you are worlds away

Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
Cover image Fifteen Hundred Miles From the Sun

How could I recommend anything else for this than the best book about a long-distance relationship I’ve ever read? It’s impossible to not love Jules and Mat’s romance, that starts when his Twitter crush slides into his DMs when Jules comes out on Twitter. There’s also heavier aspects to the story, and it was amazing to see the support Jules had when dealing with those.

Girl At Home

Kris Ripper – The Life Revamp

Don’t look at me, you got a girl at home
And everybody knows that

The Life Revamp (The Love Study #3)
Cover image The Life Revamp

So this recommendation is more of a joke, because I’d prefer to recommend something happy. The love interest in this book does have a girl at home, but she’s actually the one who set him up with the main character, because they’re polyamorous. This is the third book in the Love Study series, but it could be read as a standalone, and it’s out on November 30th!

State of Grace (Acoustic)

Talia Hibbert – Get a Life, Chloe Brown

You come around and the armor falls
Pierce the room like a cannonball
Now all we know is don’t let go

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)
Cover image Get a Life, Chloe Brown

For the acoustic version of this song, I wanted to choose a somewhat softer kind of book.

Better Man

Annabelle Greene – A Winter’s Earl

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man

A Winter's Earl
Cover image A Winter’s Earl

What if the people in this song actually did get a second chance? That’s what A Winter’s Earl is about, and it’s a perfect historical romance to read in December, especially if you like books with lots of yearning.

Nothing New (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)

Hannah Moskowitz – The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe

How long will it be cute, all this crying in my room?
When you can’t blame it on my youth
And roll your eyes with affection

The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe
Cover image The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe

This song has big New Adult vibes (“how can a person know everything at 18, but nothing at 22?”), so I have to recommend a New Adult novel, and particularly one that’s messy and angsty and all about what you want your life to be like.


Lana Harper – Payback’s a Witch

You really blew this, babe
We ain’t getting through this one, babe

Payback's a Witch (The Witches of Thistle Grove, #1)
Cover image Payback’s a Witch

Two women have to deal with the same awful ex, and fall in love in the process. It has a similar energy to this song when it comes to the ex, but it’s mostly a really good sapphic romance!

Message in a Bottle

Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich – If This Gets Out

‘Cause you could be the one that I love
I could be the one that you dream of
A message in a bottle is all I can do
Standing here hoping it gets to you

If This Gets Out
Cover image If This Gets Out

I just had to think of my two boys when listening to this song, who love each other so much but have to keep it a secret even though they don’t want to. This book strikes an amazing balance between a beautiful, soft-hearted, supportive romance set in a harsh world. It comes out on December 7th, so there’s still time to preorder!

I Bet You Think About Me (feat. Chris Stapleton)

Thien-Kim Lam – Happy Endings

Mr. Superior Thinkin’
Do you have all the space that you need?

Happy Endings
Cover image Happy Endings

While this is a second-chance romance, I imagine this song portrays how the main character felt about the love interest when they first broke up.

Forever Winter

Alice Oseman – Radio Silence

All this time I didn’t know
You were breaking down
I’d fall to pieces on the floor
If you weren’t around

Radio Silence
Cover image Radio Silence

I feel like this is how Frances would feel about Aled Last, her platonic soulmate, having depression.

Run (feat. Ed Sheeran)

Maurene Goo – Somewhere Only We Know

We can go where our eyes can take us
Go where no one else is, run

Somewhere Only We Know
Cover image Somewhere Only We Know

How could I not think of Somewhere Only We Know, when a K-pop star runs away for a day with a tabloid photographer?

The Very First Night

Morgan Rogers – Honey Girl

And so it was
We never saw it coming

Not trying to fall in love
But we did like children running

Honey Girl
Cover image Honey Girl

I’m very pleased with myself that I got to squeeze my three favourite adult contemporaries of the year in here: The Charm Offensive, You and Me On Vacation, but also, mainly, Honey Girl, the first book I read this year and immediately also the best book I would read this year.

Honey Girl starts when Grace and Yuki get drunkenly married to each other in Vegas, and about the romance they start together, but it’s also, mainly, about Grace coming of age, not knowing what to do after finishing her studies, and struggling with depression.

All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

S.T. Gibson – A Dowry of Blood

And I was never good at telling jokes, but the punch line goes
“I’ll get older, but your lovers stay my age”
From when your Brooklyn broke my skin and bones

I’m a soldier who’s returning half her weight
And did the twin flame bruise paint you blue?
Just between us, did the love affair maim you, too?
‘Cause in this city’s barren cold
I still remember the first fall of snow
And how it glistened as it fell
I remember it all too well

A Dowry of Blood
Cover image A Dowry of Blood

For the extra long, extra dramatic version of this song, I had to go with an extra dramatic kind of book as well.

One thought on “Red (Taylor’s Version) as Books

Add yours

  1. This is such a great blog post!

    It happened one summer, You and Me on Vacation, Felix Ever After, Who I was with her are still on my TBR. I’ve read Autoboyography, One Last Stop, Radio Silence and Honey Girl. The other books I will look up later when I have more time 🙂


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