Being the Flawless Human that she is, Taylor Swift is clearly top-notch BFF material. Let’s face it, she just gets us. All of her songs are like perfect little completely relatable stories distilled into three minute sonic gut-punches. Listening to her sing about love and betrayal and heartache makes you wonder how Taylor could have possibly gotten into your head and stolen your very thoughts. The problem is we always want more, more, more. Lucky for you, we’ve got a list of book recommendations based on your favorite song from latest Swift album 1989 to help fill the void.
Favorite Song: “Clean”
Recommended Read: Open Road Summer, by Emery Lord
Relevant lyric: “The drought was the very worst / When the flowers that we’d grown together died of thirst”
Breakups are tough. It’s a fact Taylor Swift and Open Road Summer’s Reagan both understand. When her latest relationship ends, Reagan recognizes that a string of bad choices have left her life in a bit of a shambles. Her best friend, Dee, a burgeoning country superstar about to embark on tour (who is basically Taylor Swift, the early years), also suffers from a recent broken heart. The girls set off on Dee’s tour to enjoy what’s supposed to be a new, drama-free existence. What with the wardrobes and screaming fans, it’s like you’re helping Taylor through her heartache.
Favorite Song: “I Know Places”
Recommended Read: The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski
Relevant lyric: “Lights flash and we’ll run for the fences / Let them say what they want / We won’t hear it”
T. Swift knows a thing or two about the dangerous, predator-prey relationship between the public and celebrities’ love lives. It’s a lesson The Winner’s Curse’s Kestrel, a celebrity in her own right, quickly learns. The Winner’s Curse is a rare fantasy novel that doesn’t actually have magic, but involves an invented society reminiscent of Ancient Rome. Kestrel is the daughter of a highly respected military general, who finds herself developing feelings for the one person she shouldn’t ever develop feelings for: her slave. What follows is a high-stakes, super-secret relationship that could destroy both of their worlds.
Favorite Song: “Bad Blood”
Recommended Read: Vigilante Poet Society of Selwyn Academy, by Kate Hattemer
Relevant lyric: “Did you think we’d be fine? Still got scars on my back from your knife”
Reportedly about T. Swift’s feud with another young artist, Bad Blood perfectly describes the pain of a friendship soured by betrayal. It’s this lasting betrayal of friendship and trust that is at the heart of Vigilante Poet Society. After a reality show takes over their high school, a group of friends tries to take down the ridiculous competition series with a long poem inspired by the work of Ezra Pound. But one of Ethan’s friends betrays their mission for (moderate) fame and (moderate) fortune. While the premise might be adorably lighthearted, it still manages to explore the deeper issues of growing up and friendship lost.
Favorite Song: “Welcome to New York”
Recommended Read: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Relevant lyric: “Welcome to New York / It’s been waiting for you”
“Welcome to New York” is a love letter to NYC, and you need a book that will match its wonder and spontaneity. Enter Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares. When Dash discovers a notebook in his favorite NYC bookstore filled with dares from an unknown Lily, he decides to accept her challenge, and the two begin exchanging dares that take them on an adventure through the city. What starts as a game starts to transform when the duo use the notebook to exchange more than just dares. But one problem remains: they’ve never met. It’s a dreamy sort of fairy-tale romance that matches the optimistic tone of the song.
Favorite Song: “Blank Space”
Recommended Read: Anatomy of a Misfit, by Andrea Portes
Relevant lyric: “Darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream.”
Taylor Swift understands that the you the public sees might be different from who you really are behind closed doors. In the words of Anatomy of a Misfit’s Anika, maybe you look like vanilla pudding, but you’re worried you’re really spider soup. Anika is the third most popular girl in school, an image she has worked hard to cultivate, and has to deal with the pressure associated with her position. In a story of love and tragedy, she must come to terms with her image and who she is inside.
Favorite Song: “Wildest Dreams”
Recommended Read: Famous in Love, by Rebecca Serle
Relevant lyric: “He said let’s get out of this town / Drive out of the city / Away from the crowds / I thought heaven can’t help me now / Nothing lasts forever”
Wildest Dreams is all about following your heart, even when it isn’t convenient. Sometimes you just have to stop second-guessing yourself and take happiness when and where you can get it. After Paige Townsen, who is basically Famous in Love’s version of Kristen Stewart circa the Twilight era, gets cast in a massive YA franchise, she finds herself caught up in the spotlight and a love triangle that mirrors her character’s storyline. Rebecca has to deal with what it means to be in love and how to make the right decision.
Favorite Song: “Out of the Woods”
Recommended Read: Isla and the Happily Ever After, by Stephanie Perkins
Relevant lyric: “Remember when we couldn’t take the heat / I walked out and said, ‘I’m settin’ you free,’ / But the monsters turned out to be just trees”
“Out of the Woods” is the story of the inevitable anxiety that pops up in certain relationships. It’s the wondering what happens next when your fairy-tale romance starts to come true. In Isla and the Happily Ever After, Isla’s been harboring a crush on Josh, the cute artist boy at her boarding school in Paris, for years. So when the two begin a whirlwind romance, getting together is the easy part. But insecurities and circumstances threaten to rip them apart at every turn. As the story nears its end, don’t be surprised to find yourself screaming, “Are they out of the woods yet? WHY CAN’T THEY GET OUT OF THE WOODS?!”