1989 + Romance Novels, Part One

First of all, I was not expecting so many people to love the folklore + Romance Novels posts (part one; part two) and I was really excited to see that. Secondly, Aarya asked me to make one for Red but I decided I should just work through them backwards chronologically. I’ve already done Lover (part one; part two) and reputation so that left us with 1989 because up next! In going through this, I’m discovering that somehow it feels like this album is the least personal Taylor’s done despite the fact that she literally told us folklore was like half just her imagination. But I think people forgot that she said similar things to us about several of the songs on 1989. Nevertheless, I liked 1989 and I’m grateful it got her the second Album of the Year win, even though, let’s be real, Red should have been the one to get her that. Please note, I am not linking to these songs this time because Taylor doesn’t own these masters and I am a petty b*tch opposed to certain humans getting any money off of her work. Anyway, let’s get started!

1989 + Romance Novels

“Welcome to New York” and You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

You Had Me at Hola really encapsulates the lyric I picked out from this song, “when we first dropped our bags on apartment floors, took our broken hearts in a drawer.” When the book opens, Jasmine is back in NYC ready to start a new job and her face is all over the tabloids because she and her rock star boyfriend broke up. Ashton is new to NYC and he is reserved and a bit high strung. The book is brilliant and as vibrant as the song and if you haven’t already been swayed, allow me to encourage you again to pick this up and be transported to the world of New York.

“Blank Space” and Hate Crush by Angelina M. Lopez

When I think of “Blank Space”, I think about the fact that Taylor wrote this song by creating a character based on how the media represented her. So when I think of my favorite lyric in the song, “grab your passport and my hand, I can make the bad guys good for a weekend,” I think about the way the media is really quick to create a malicious image of a woman regardless of what she does. Which leads me to my primary book choice for this song, Hate Crush. Hate Crush is about a princess who works so hard for her country and who the media and some people in positions of power are so quick to dismiss as a “slut” and vapid and shallow. Of course, Sofia is actually brilliant and utterly capable, something that she demonstrates repeatedly throughout this book. If she also happens to agree to fake date her ex who broke her heart… Well, at some point, you’ve got to kind of control your image, right? My secondary choice for this song is Love Hard by Nalini Singh because Juliet also has an issue with the media that she really does not deserve. Jake’s attempts to keep out of the media makes this a difficult pairing, but wow, y’all. So good. (Also if you loved You Had Me at Hola maybe pick up Love Hard and visa versa.) I have a review of each of these books up, if you’re interested in more: Hate Crush; Love Hard.

“Style” and American Sweethearts by Adriana Herrera

I may truly be the worst at picking just one book per song, but the line “and when we go crashing down, we come back every time” just feels so fitting for Priscilla and Juan Pablo, but also Luc and Oliver from Boyfriend Material. But let’s focus on American Sweethearts first. JP and Priscilla have been on and off again for years, but when the book opens, they’re on a break and they both know that this next time is the make it or break it for real. There’s something almost inevitable about them and I love the way they come together. Boyfriend Material is about Luc and Oliver who are fake dating because of reasons that actually make “Blank Space” a good song choice too. But more importantly, the two just can’t quite hit their stride together but they keep trying and I was 100% there for it.

“Out of the Woods” + Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters

Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters fits the vibes of “Out of the Woods” in my opinion for quite a few reasons. First of all, what is better to celebrate a sapphic relationship than a line about “we were in screaming color”? Not to mention, for both of our heroines, it really did seem like their lives start in this book in the black and white of the rest of the world. Furthermore, it’s a road trip book and “Are we out of the woods yet?” on loop screams “Are we there yet?” energy to me, which makes it a perfect soundtrack for a road trip book. Megan and Scarlett used to be friends, but they haven’t spoken in years. Now they’re road tripping together to go to their other best friend’s wedding. From Florida to Quebec. I really enjoyed this one and have a review posted if you’d like more information. Also, just a quick bonus recommendation for this song would be The Girl Next Door by Chelsea Cameron, which gives me very similar vibes in terms of starting out in black and white and transitioning to screaming color when they’re together. Also, the sense that they need to escape this small town in Maine. My review is here if you want more information.

“All You Had to Do was Stay” + A Touch of Stone and Snow by Milla Vane

My key lyric here is “here you are now, calling me up, but I don’t know what to say, I’ve been picking up the pieces of the mess you made.” While this song has a really upbeat vibe that I don’t know totally fits with A Touch of Stone and Snow, I think the message here totally lines up. In A Touch of Stone and Snow, Lizzan has been exiled from her home country (omg, now I’m wondering how I could have ever put a different book in for “exile”) when we meet her in this book. She feels betrayed by her first love who turned his back on her when the exile happened. And while for Lizzan, the lyrics would look more like “all you had to do was come with me”, I think the point stands. She’s not in a great place when we meet her and when Aerax shows up, she’s not exactly thrilled to see him. I really enjoyed this one. You can find my review here.

“Shake It Off” and Famous by Jenny Holiday

Shake It Off is one of those songs that you may have gotten tired of real quick and then you had a day where you were convinced you failed an exam and your anxiety was so bad you couldn’t even talk until your best friend put Shake It Off on so you could pull it together. Or that might just be my own personal experience with the song! Either way, I think the key line here is “it’s like I got this music in my mind sayin’ it’s gonna be alright.” And for me, there are two books that sort of fit this vibe. The first is Famous by Jenny Holiday, which stars Emerson Quinn, a famous pop star, who randomly shows up on the doorstep of this guy she met a million years ago, Evan Winslow. Does this famous pop star give me T. Swift vibes? Maybe a little… Anyway, she needs to kind of quiet some voices in her head and tbh, so does Evan. It’s a really wonderful book, in my opinion, and I think incredibly under read. The other book is Fall by Kristen Callihan, which is one of the best books. It is a little heavier in tone, which is why I didn’t make it my primary pick. Fall follows Jax Blackwood, a member of a very famous band who attempted suicide and is kind of putting his life back together. It’s highly emotional, but also funny at times and to me, is a similar sort of shake it off and return to who you actually are sort of vibe.

“I Wish You Would” + Better Than People by Roan Parrish

You may know that I really loved Better Than People (review here) and the reason I associate this book with “I Wish You Would” is because of the bleak moment in the story. So I won’t really say too much about it, just know that Simon is a precious bean with a lot of anxiety and I love him. Since I can’t say much about this book, let me tell you about Forbidden Promises by Synithia Williams. The lyric I picked out for this song as my key lyric is “I wish you knew that I’d never forget you as long as I’d live.” This song is perfect for Forbidden Promises because India has certainly not forgotten about her fascination with Travis, her ex-brother-in-law, or the huge crush she used to have on him. When she returns to town and she and Travis are paired together for campaign stuff for her brother, it gets harder and harder to ignore that attraction. This book is excellent and messy in that way I can’t help but love.

“Bad Blood” + Dear Enemy by Kristen Callihan

This book really does feel like proper enemies to lovers and so what better song to choose than “Bad Blood”? “You say sorry just for show” is one of my favorite lyrics and I also think shows where Delilah really feels as she and Macon first start out their… new relationship. This book is about Delilah, whose sister puts her in the uncomfortable position of asking Macon, her childhood bully, not to call the police on her sister (Samantha) after Samantha stole a family heirloom. Macon agrees, in exchange for Delilah moving in and serving as his personal chef, whilst trying to get Samantha to come back with the heirloom. I really liked this one and you can see my review here!

This was honestly so much fun for me to put together and it was such a challenge! What did you all think about my choices? Any you disagree with? Any you have other options you think are perfect for one of these songs? Let me know!

What I want to remind you all of today is that if you’re using Amazon, you can go to smile.amazon.com so that any purchase that you make, some portion of the money you spend, will go to a nonprofit that you can select! I’ve been giving to a domestic violence agency with my purchases for a long time and it makes me feel marginally better about supporting this huge corporation.


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