Books Based Off of Taylor Swift Albums
This week I will be talking about two of my favorite things: Taylor Swift and books. I will be recommending a book that I personally think encapsulates the general mood of each album. For each book and album combination I will describe both the book and the album. I hope you guys enjoy the article!
“Taylor Swift” - “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” By Jenny Han
This is Taylor Swift’s debut album, and it is filled with country songs about love and growing up, and the overall theme of the album is just sweet songs about life. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” perfectly encapsulates that sweetness. You’ve probably heard of it (the movie on Netflix was very popular when it first came out), but in case you haven’t, here’s a summary. The book follows sixteen-year-old high-schooler Lara Jean after all of the letters she’s written to her past crushes are mailed out. Drama and fake-dating ensues. Although the book wasn’t my favorite, I still enjoyed it, and it was a very sweet read.
“Fearless” - “The Upside of Unrequited” By Becky Albertalli
“Fearless” is Taylor Swift’s second album, and although it is still very country, with some of the songs she dipped her toes into the pop-country genre. The album revolves around unrequited love and exploring romantic relationships for the first time. “The Upside of Unrequited” deals with all of these themes. The book follows 17-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso as she explores entering a romantic relationship for the first time and goes through her life. I really enjoyed this book and found it very true to the teenage experience.
“Speak Now” - “Radio Silence” By: Alice Oseman
“Speak Now” is my favorite Taylor Swift album (fun fact: she wrote all of the songs by herself!). She not only still sings about love, heartbreak and relationships on this album but also talks about regret, betrayal and growing up. The theme that most sticks out to me is the theme of growing up, which is why I chose “Radio Silence” as the book for this album. The book follows Francis Janvier in her last year of high school (or sixth form because it takes place in the UK). Her entire life Francis has worked hard at school in order to be able to get into Cambridge University. However, that’s school Francis. At home, Francis is a massive fangirl who spends her time drawing fanart for a fantasy podcast. The book picks up when Francis meets the creator of this fantasy podcast, Aled. The book follows the two as they try to figure out who they want to be as the pressure increases to follow the cookie cutter life path (university and 9-5 job). I LOVED this book! Alice Oseman’s description of what it’s like to be a teenager is so real and raw.
“Red” - “The Song of Achilles” By: Madeline Miller
“Red” was Taylor Swift’s last country album, though, in my opinion, it isn’t really country. The songs are deeper and reflect intense emotions. From songs about burning (red) love to songs about frustration, this album digs deeper than her previous ones. “The Song of Achille” BROKE me. It’s a retelling of the Trojan War and follows Patroclus and Achilles from their childhood all the way through the way. The story tells the story of their friendship that becomes love. The book is filled with beautiful, heartbreaking moments, and it perfectly fits the heartbreak you feel when listening to “Red.” “1989” - “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” By” Ransom Riggs
“1989” is Taylor Swift’s first pop album. The songs are bolder, and the album opened Taylor Swift to many possibilities. This album does still have some elements about love, but they don’t take center stage. Instead, this album deals a lot with self-discovery. Because of that I chose “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” The book follows sixteen-year-old Jacib as he travels to a remote island off the coast of Wales following the death of his grandfather. What he finds there is a home filled with peculiar children, and adventure ensues. I really enjoyed this book and its themes of growing up and discovering new parts about yourself. I also chose this book to relate back to “1989” because both the album and book share a common theme: photographs. When she released “1989,” Taylor Swift included polaroids in the physical copies of the album. Similarly, the book has photographs inter sprinkled through, and they only make the reading experience all the more enjoyable.
“Reputation” - “The Secret History” By: Donna Tartt
“Reputation” is often deemed Taylor Swift’s “darkest” album as it is about her own tarnished reputation. Its songs are confident and engy, and there isn’t a single skip on the entire album. It is also well-loved by her fans. “The Secret History” is a book about pretentious college students and murder. It’s set in a fictional college in rural Vermont and follows Richard as he joins an exclusive Classics class that feels a little like a secret club. He’s thrust into a world of secrets and mystery and, eventually, murder. The book is beautifully written, and I loved every second of it.
“Lover” - “Red, White and Royal Blue” By: Casey McQuiston
Okay, I know I just talked about this book, but honestly, it’s perfect for this album. As you might be able to guess by its title, “Lover” is all about love. The book follows Alex, the first son of the United States and the fictional Prince of Wales, Henry. To avoid an international scandal on the brink of a reelection, Alex’s mom orders him to become friends with Henry. The friendship eventually forms into a romantic relationship between Henry and Alex. This book is beautiful, and it talks about more than just love, so it is more than just a romance novel. If you couldn’t yet tell I love this book and think everyone should read it.
“Folklore” - “All the Light We Cannot See” By: Anthony Doerr
When Taylor Swift announced she was releasing an album just a day before said album was released, I was beyond shocked. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the masterpiece that is “Folklore.” With this album, Taylor Swift did something different. Instead of writing about her own personal experiences, she made up characters and wrote about them. Because of the theme of multiple perspectives, I chose “All the Light We Cannot See.” This book follows two people during World War II: Marie-Laur, from France, and Werner Pfennig, from Germany. Marie-Laur flees to the South of France when the war reaches Paris, and Werner joins the German Army as a radio expert. Doerr wrote this book over the course of ten years, and you can really tell when reading it. The two storylines meet in unexpected places, and the book is filled with beautiful (and heart-wrenching) quotations and moments.
“Evermore” - “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” By: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
For convenience I will simply be referring to the book as “Guernsey.” Anyways, when Taylor Swift announced she was dropping ANOTHER surprise album, I was completely bewildered. Like, she released two albums in six months, and both albums are amazing. I am in awe. To me the album feels like a lot of letters put together, which is why I chose “Guernsey” by Shaffer and Barrows as it is told exclusively in letters. Following World War II writer Juliet Ashton is struggling to find her voice and a way to make her writing have an impact. Then, she receives a letter from a man from the island of Guernsey. This begins a correspondence between the two, and eventually Juliet is drawn towards the world of this mysterious man and his island. I’m not going to lie, going into this book I was nervous because it was told solely in letters. But, I actually don’t think this book could have been written any different way. The letters tell the story perfectly.