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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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?”
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.
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
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
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
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
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
For the acoustic version of this song, I wanted to choose a somewhat softer kind of book.
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
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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
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
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
For the extra long, extra dramatic version of this song, I had to go with an extra dramatic kind of book as well.