While the release of folklore was shocking – after all, Taylor Swift tends to meticulously plan her releases, sharing all kinds of easter eggs with her fans in the process – I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that evermore came as even more of a surprise. I don’t think anyone expected Taylor to release an album so soon after folklore, particularly one that – in my opinion – is even better than its sister-album was.
Back when folklore was released, Sabrina and I shared book recommendations based on each song on the album and we were very pleased with how the post turned out as well as by its reception. Because we had a lot of fun working on that post and we have been listening to evermore basically nonstop, we decided to share 30 book recommendations with you today, two for each song on evermore. If you want to read our folklore post click here, otherwise just keep reading and don’t forget to share your thoughts on the album and / or our recommendations at the end!
“The more that you say, the less I know
Wherever you stray, I follow”
Sabrina: My choice for this song is Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen! I don’t think this is truly a spoiler – but don’t read on if you’re concerned. I specifically picked this because of Marianne’s storyline. To a small extent, I picked it because her life is uprooted by her father’s passing (in the beginning) and she doesn’t have any control over where she ends up – which I relate to the line “life was a willow and it bent right to your wind” – but mostly I picked it due to her relationship with Willoughby (which, coincidentally, is a name apparently meaning “from a farm near the willows”). Marianne is filled with a lot of passion for this relationship and is super dramatic about it, so I could definitely see her relating to this song.
“I’m begging for you to take my hand
Wreck my plans, that’s my man”
Vera: Spoiler Alert is one of my most recent reads, as well as one that I wasn’t able to include in our 2020 adult favorites list, simply because I didn’t have the time to add it at the last moment. But rest assured, it is one of the best books I’ve read this year and a romance I’d gladly recommend. The lyrics I grabbed from “willow” – an excellent song, I especially adore the dancing witch remix – are a perfect fit for April and Marcus, as their relationship blossoms unexpectedly and takes both of them by surprise. On top of that, the “life was a willow and it bent right to your wind” is a good fit for Marcus, a famous actor who, for better or worse, has been controlling his public image for a while.
“Your heart was glass, I dropped it
Sabrina: I’ve chosen If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane for this song. The beginning of the book is all focused on the main character, Laurie, being blindsided when her long-term boyfriend breaks up with her. It’s devastating for her, as you can imagine. It further relates because I believe these two characters met and got together in college, like the couple in the song. There’s also the lines “but you’ll find the real thing instead” and “you won’t remember all my champagne problems”, which I think are a nice fit, because the rest of the book is about Laurie finding a new romance that works much better for her.
“Because I dropped your hand while dancing
Left you out there standing
Crestfallen on the landing”
Vera: This isn’t exactly a perfect pick, but the lines quoted above instantly made me think of Written in the Stars, because of the scene where Darcy cannot admit it, even to herself, that she is just as much in love with Elle as Elle is with her. This results in an argument at a fancy party, after which Elle leaves Darcy behind, both of them being heartbroken and crestfallen. The line “I never was ready so I watch you go” is another one that represents Darcy pretty well, although, obviously, these two work everything out by the end of the novel. As for the song, “champagne problems” is one of my favorite songs on the album, especially because of its wonderfully catchy bridge that I may or may not scream along with every time I listen to it. You’ll never know.
Eyes like sinking ships on waters
So inviting, I almost jump in“
Sabrina: Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour is the option I’ve gone with for this song! It’s a little bit of a stretch, but the connection I’m thinking of here is the main character, Emi, and her huge, instantaneous crush on Ava. Throughout the book, she often dreams about how Ava’s life could turn out, which I relate to the line “my mind turns your life into folklore”. Emi’s best friend also warns her about doing this, and not moving too fast. Of course I could also connect the lines “what must it be like to grow up that beautiful?” and “anyone would die to feel your touch” – that line is particularly relevant because Ava wants to be a famous actor.
“What must it be like to grow up that beautiful?
With your hair falling into place like dominos”
Vera: The lines I selected from “gold rush” immediately reminded me of Harper, one of the main characters of Plain Bad Heroines, especially of how the other protagonists see her. At different points, Merrit and Audrey both see Harper as someone gorgeous and perfect, someone unapproachable, but this changes during the course of novel. We actually don’t know for certain if a relationship would ever work between these girls, the ending leaves that question unanswered, but I like to think that they were able to get to know each other enough for it to at least be a possibility. “Gold rush” is not a top favorite of mine, but I really enjoy it nonetheless.
’tis the damn season
“And the road not taken looks real good now
And it always leads to you and my hometown”
This is one of my favourite songs from the album – it evokes a lot of emotion, and I want to do it justice with my book choice but, to be honest, I don’t think I have, lol, because nothing I’ve read fits properly. I’m settling for A Princess In Theory by Alyssa Cole though, because it is technically a second chance romance involving a return to the main character’s hometown plus royalty, which fits with the idea of fame included in the song. I do think the line “There’s an ache in you, put there by the ache in me” relates pretty well to the main two characters and “you can run, but only so far” matches as well for Ledi. I could elaborate more, but I don’t want to spoil the book for you.
“We could call it even
Even though I’m leavin’
And I’ll be yours for the weekend”
Vera: I feel like this is my worst pick so far, but I couldn’t think of a better choice for this song than The Ones Who Got Away. The couple in the book used to be in a secret relationship during high school, which ended in heartbreak and tragedy. The novel follows them years and years later when they meet again in the small town they are from and, as some time passes, they decide to rekindle their friendship and their romance. However, for reasons I cannot go into without spoilers, both of them know that their relationship will have to be temporary. It’s a pretty solid romance, just like how “’tis the damn seasons” is a pretty good, somewhat bittersweet song.
“I know my love should be celebrated
But you tolerate it”
Sabrina: The sister relationship in Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé is my choice for this song. Skye and Deirdre have always been close, but when they move houses and schools, the older sister Skye decides she is sick of spending so much time dealing with Deirdre and helping her with her problems. So yes, I can definitely see Deirdre feeling that she’s “always taking up too much space or time”. It also fits nicely with this line “I greet you with a battle hero’s welcome” because Skye has always been a knight in their play fights and Deirdre keeps trying to get her to play again. Also, very coincidentally, “while you were out building other worlds, where was I?” fits perfectly for Skye’s perspective.
“I notice everything you do or don’t do
You’re so much older and wiser and I
I wait by the door like I’m just a kid”
Vera: Not sure if this is cheating or not – if so, sorry? haha – but I have to go with Rebecca for this, and no, not simply because Taylor herself named this book as her inspiration. I think the romance in Rebecca is a fantastic example of a woman doing everything (too much?) in her power to be a good partner, while her husband remains completely unappreciative. You can always argue that he has his reasons, but what I love in this book is exactly that it allows the reader to make their own judgement about certain characters and relationships in the book. As for the song, I love “tolerate it” so much – it’s a sad, but beautiful song and one of my favorites from the album.
no body, no crime
“I think he did it, but I just can’t prove it
I think he did it, but I just can’t prove it“
Sabrina: This might be my favourite song on the album, and there are so many books I could loosely connect to it! A couple of them would probably give away the entire story and Vera has already picked a certain book which in my opinion is a perfect match, so instead I have gone with My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing. The book is about a married couple that kill people together in their spare time, so, I think the connections there are pretty clear, lol. The plot of the book doesn’t match the song all that well, but the vibe and the uncertainty (“I think he did it”, “They think she did it”, “She thinks I did it”) are there.
“No, no body, no crime
I wasn’t lettin’ up until the day he died”
Vera: I was close to choosing another book for this – and of course, Gone Girl was always a strong contender – but ultimately, I think Sadie is the best revenge book I’ve ever read. It follows Sadie, a teenager who abandons everything and goes on a quest to find and murder her little sister’s killer. Besides Sadie, we also follow a podcast host who arrives to Sadie’s hometown, trying his best to uncover what may have happened to this young woman who was never found. It’s an emotional and complex novel, so not as fun as “no body, no crime” – aka my favorite song from evermore – but I’d gladly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique novel.
“There’ll be happiness after you
But there was happiness because of you
Both of these things can be true”
Sabrina: I sort of hate myself for picking Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid because I didn’t enjoy that book at all, but it matches the lyrics better than any other book I’ve read, particularly when it comes to Daisy and Billy’s relationship. “When did all our lessons start to look like weapons pointed at my deepest hurt?” reminds me of their writing and recording sessions together and “no one teaches you what to do when a good man hurts you and you know you hurt him too” matches them really well too. Their relationship is so toxic!
“Tell me, when did your winning smile
Begin to look like a smirk?
When did all our lessons start to look like weapons
Pointed at my deepest hurt?”
Vera: You all, I’m fully aware that this is another silly pick, but I honestly have nothing better? I don’t read a lot of books about breakups apparently. In any case, You Deserve Each Other follows an engaged couple who have slowly but surely grown to resent each other, and who don’t really remember anything positive about their relationship. They don’t break up, however, they do try their best to make life a living hell for each other and while in the process of that, they start to recall the happiness their relationship brought to them. I love “happiness” so much, which is why it breaks me that I haven’t been able to find a better fit for it.
“But it’s never too late to come back to my side
The stars in your eyes shined brighter in Tupelo”
Sabrina: I am pretty sure this answer contains spoilers, because my answer is Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand. I, quite honestly, barely remember a thing about this book and this series, but I know if I read it again I would match it to this song because of the main romance and the plot. I do remember Tucker (the love interest) being a sweet, country boy, and that the main character, Clara, has to leave him and their small town (“ooh, this place is the same as it ever was”) for university in California. The other reason I connect the book to this song is that Clara is part angel and has an innate purpose, which I think can be compared to Dorothea’s fame in the song. I’m sure Tucker felt “it’s never too late to come back to my side” and there’s a strong possibility that that’s how the book ended.
“Ooh, you’rе a queen sellin’ dreams, sellin’ makeup in magazines
Ooh, from you I’d buy anything”
Vera: I’m boring, I know – I’m pretty sure this is the second novel I picked here that I also picked for a song on folklore, but I love The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and I tend to push it into any post I can. Sue me. I think in the case of this couple, they had serious issues with communication and being understanding to each other, which is what led to most of their conflicts as well as to their breakup. They need to develop and evolve individually before they can ever try for a relationship again… and you’ll need to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo to find out if that happens or not. “Dorothea” is actually one of my least favorite songs from the record, but truly, that means nothing – I love the whole album from top to bottom and listen to all the songs every day.
“And it gets colder and colder
When the sun goes down”
Sabrina: Now I know there are definitely (minor) spoilers in this answer because my pick is, perhaps strangely, Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick. As soon as I realised what this song was about, this book came into my head and I couldn’t get it out. The two main characters are, at this point, not as close as they were in the first book, with Patch being distant and even getting close to Nora’s worst enemy, which I connect to the lines “break my soul in two looking for you but you’re right here”. There’s an amusement park that is a pretty significant setting in this series so the line “and I’m sitting on a bench in Coney Island wondering where did my baby go?” is really appropriate for this book, I’d say.
“I’m on a bench in Coney Island wondering where did my baby go
The fast times, the bright lights, the merry go
Sorry for not making you my centerfold”
Vera: While Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy as well as a satire, it fits the lines quoted above rather well. The novel centers around Rachel and Nick, and follows them during the first time Nick takes Rachel home to his family. That could be cute, but it isn’t as Nick has kept Rachel a secret from his family and he also failed to prepare her for how unbelievably rich they are – and, by extension, he is. So Rachel gets into a lot of awkward, embarrassing situations, most of which could have been avoided had Nick been honest with her about his wealth and family. On my first listen, “coney island” didn’t catch my attention that much, but it has grown on me so much and is now one of my favorites from the album.
My pain fits in the palm of your freezing hand”
Sabrina: My pick for this is a little different, because the song appears to be clearly referencing cheating, but I have gone for another connection. My choice is A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, whose main character, Shirin, has built her walls very high, but meets someone, Ocean, at her new school who gets through her defences. “My house of stone, your ivy grows and now I’m covered in you” relates so well to their relationship, because she does not want to let him in but she, in the end, can’t stop it. I would also relate the line “I wish to know the fatal flaw that makes you long to be magnificently cursed” to them, because Shirin knows, and warns Ocean, that they will experience discrimination if they are seen together.
“So tell me to run
Or dare to sit and watch what we’ll become
And drink my husband’s wine”
Vera: To be honest, I expected to like Frenchman’s Creek way more than I did, but nonetheless, it was an enjoyable enough read and the first book I thought of when I first started to list books for each song on evermore. The novel follows Dona, a wife and mother who is utterly bored with her life… until she meets and falls in love with a daring, French pirate. I don’t condone cheating, but seeing their relationship blossom made sense for their characters… and so did the way the story ended. From my first listen, “ivy” has been one of my favorite songs on the album, so I’m happy I found a book that fits it so well.
cowboy like me
“I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve
Takes one to know one
You’re a cowboy like me”
Sabrina: My pick for this song is Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller! The two main characters are both pirates and have vastly different goals at the beginning of the story but they begin a romance. It connects to the lines “it could be love, we could be the way forward and I know I’ll pay for it” – especially because they are on different sides and if anyone finds them out, there will be extreme consequences.
“Oh, I thought
This is gonna be one of those things
Now I know
I’m never gonna love again”
Vera: I had to think quite a bit about what to pick for “cowboy like me,” a song I like quite a bit, even though its lyrics are not as memorable to me as the rest of the songs’. In the end, my choice fell on Boyfriend Material, mostly because the “Telling all the rich folks anything they wanna hear” line reminded me of one of the protagonists who works at a charity. A big part of his job is, well, to try to get the rich folks to support their cause. As for the lyrics I included above – to me, they remind me of the fact that the relationship between these characters started out as fake, but as soon as it becomes real, it has the potential to devastate them if it ends.
long story short
“Cause I fell from the pedestal
Right down the rabbit hole
Long story short, it was a bad time“
Sabrina: Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson is the book I’ve matched with this song. The main character definitely “fell from the pedestal, right down the rabbit hole,” when her best friend died and she turned to witchcraft – not only to try and bring her back, but to find out who killed her. She also really quickly enters into a romance, which reminds me of the line “clung to the nearest lips”. I also relate the lines “I wanna tell you not to get lost in these petty things, your nemeses will defeat themselves before you get the chance to swing“ to the book, because Mila accidentally brings back two other girls who she didn’t get along with, but their relationships change over the course of the story.
“When I dropped my sword
I threw it in the bushes and knocked on your door
And we live in peace
But if someone comes at us, this time, I’m ready”
Vera: I’m not sure how much I can say about Heart of Obsidian without spoilers, but I think the couple in the novel is a great fit for the lyrics I picked, especially if we look at the lyrics from Kaleb’s perspective. Years ago, someone tore Sahara and Kaleb away from each other, leaving Kaleb alone as he was trying to gain power and control in their world. On his own, Kaleb did many… questionable things, and while Sahara doesn’t “fix him” as such – I don’t think that would be healthy for either of them – I think she is a good influence on Kaleb. I especially love the “we live in peace” part of the song because, yes, when they find their way back to each other they absolutely live in peace – as much as possible – but god help anyone who tries to come for them.
“What died didn’t stay dead
You’re alive, you’re alive in my head“
Sabrina: I have picked one of my favourites, Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer, for this song, because one of the main characters, Juliet, lost her mother before the events of the book. Still, she writes her letters and leaves them at her grave, and her point of view chapters often mention what her mum would have said and done in a certain situation (“if I didn’t know better I’d think you were talking to me now”). Juliet is also a photographer, just like her mother, which fits nicely – although not perfectly, because her mum was very successful – with the lines “all your closets of backlogged dreams and how you left them all to me”.
“If I didn’t know better
I’d think you were still around”
Vera: Similarly to Sabrina, my pick is also about a grief, and it’s one that is incredibly painful to read: The Last Time We Say Goodbye. We follow Lex, a girl who has been struggling since her brother committed suicide, to the extent that she has methodically cut herself off from all her friends and her boyfriend. Besides grief, the novel also deals with depression and shows that it’s not always visible – everyone knew that Lex’s brother was not 100% okay, but no one knew just how bad his mental health had gotten. This is one of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read which makes it a fitting pick for “marjorie,” one of my favorite songs from evermore.
“I’m fine with my spite
And my tears, and my beers and my candles“
Sabrina: A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh probably seems like a weird choice, even if you’ve read it, but I’ve made it make sense in my own mind, lol. The main character has just moved back to New Zealand from her life as a famous pianist in London, because her husband died. So many people offer their condolences, but only she knows that her husband was cheating on her before his death, so she doesn’t really want everyone’s sympathy for his passing which I’d relate to these lines: “yes, I got your lеtter, yes, I’m doing better I know that it’s over, I don’t need your closure”.
“I know I’m just a wrinkle in your new life
Staying friends would iron it out so nice”
Vera: Immediately, the lines above made me think of The Hollow Places, as the protagonist of the novel moves to her uncle’s place / creepy museum after her recent divorce. Even though she wasn’t truly happy in that life, she was content and comfortable, so she is shocked to see that her integration into her new life is going rather smoothly, and that is despite her ex’s annoying messages and phone calls. Turns out, he had done some things he feels guilty about and that he wants absolution for. This fits the “Guilty, guilty, reaching out across the sea” line, especially as it’s obvious that all these phone calls are for him to feel better about what he did and he doesn’t actually care about how his actions affected his ex-wife. While The Hollow Places is a horror novel, thus this relationship is not at its center, it still deals really nicely with this breakup.
“I had a feeling so peculiar
That this pain would be for
Sabrina: I have another Nina LaCour book for this song! This time I am going with We Are Okay – a book all about grief and loss and recovering. The main character is really struggling with the death of a family member and subsequent isolation from everyone she knew. There are a lot of lines in the song that I can relate to her throughout the book, such as “can’t remember what I used to fight for,” and “I rewind thе tape, but all it does is pause on thе very moment all was lost”. I think the most important line though, is “I had a feeling so peculiar this pain wouldn’t be for evermore” because it encapsulates the ultimate hopefulness of the book.
“And I couldn’t be sure
I had a feeling so peculiar
This pain wouldn’t be for
Vera: It actually took me a few listens to realize that there is a switch – that Sabrina has just mentioned – at the end of song from “would be for evermore” to “wouldn’t be for evermore” and I love how hopeful that is. I couldn’t think of a painful bookish breakup or loss for this, so I ended up choosing my recent favorite, The House in the Cerulean Sea for “evermore”. (I’ll probably love this book for evermore, it’s just that good.) There is no dramatic event that leads to this, but Linus, the protagonist, has come to accept that he will forever be on his own, without friends, family, or a lover. His acceptance, however, doesn’t make his loneliness any less painful, so it was beautiful to see him find the love and support he’s needed.
What are your favorite songs from evermore? Do you enjoy the album less, more, or the same amount as folklore? What books would you recommend based on the album or a particular song? What do you think of our picks?