Miss Taylor Swift bamboozled us all for the second time this year. One surprise album truly fits her brand, but TWO? I never would have expected by December of 2020 that I would have over 30 new Taylor Swift songs to obsess over and compare to my favorite books and ships — but here we are!
This tag is courtesy of the lovely Sherna, you can find her on Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter! Sherna is one of my favorite fellow book-lovers, so I’m excited to make a post with this tag she created to honor evermore.
willow — soulmates
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: I read this book with my Taylor Swift book club, funnily enough, and loved the heartfelt and wholly realistic relationships that were featured. Jude and Reese, though, are who immediately came to mind when I thought of soulmates.
“Wherever you stray, I follow“
Jude and Reese’s relationship is not, by any means, a huge plot point in The Vanishing Half but I found myself reveling in the quiet moments shared between these two and the unwavering loyalty that gave one another strength.
champagne problems — mental health rep
We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen: This book hasn’t been published yet, so keep an eye out in January of 2021 for both my review, as I read an advanced copy, and it’s publication! While the specific lyrics of this song don’t match this particular story, We Could Be Heroes has wonderful mental health rep, with both of our main characters suffering from memory loss and the struggle of trying to remember who they are. A group that helps individuals suffering with memory loss is where our main characters meet and is the place that catapults an inciting incident that sets the entire story in motion.
gold rush — literary crush
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon: I could write an entire dissertation on the force that is Eadaz du Zāla uq-Nār. Unwaveringly loyal, true to herself and her cause as well as the ones she loves, Ead is truly one of my favorite characters in literature. I also have a giant crush on her. I think it takes a special type of world-building to really make me feel like I could leave this world and instead live in a fictional one, but the Priory — with Ead as Prioress — sounds like the perfect place to be right about now.
’tis the damn season — small town romance
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater: Small town romance doesn’t get much smaller than a tiny island off the coast of Ireland which can be traveled in its entirety by horse. I read The Scorpio Races for the first time this year and was absolutely enamored by both the setting and the slowly built relationship between the two main characters, Sean and Puck. Luckily, their romance is not as depressing as this song.
tolerate it — character that deserved better
The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang: Matsuda Misaki deserved better! I went back and forth between Misaki and another character but decided on Misaki because she truly deserved the world and more. While The Sword of Kaigen ends on a bittersweet note, it’s a wild (and painful) ride from start to finish. I found myself empathizing with Misaki and her struggles throughout the story while also admiring her strength and resilience — I’d love to see more female protagonists in fantasy who are mothers as Misaki is.
no body, no crime feat. HAIM — character that deserved death
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: If there was ever a song that fit perfectly to a novel, it would be Gone Girl and no body, no crime. Which character deserved death, though? I think that question is left up to the reader, especially when considering how many options there are in a book filled with terrifying and devious characters. Personally, I would have liked to see a murder-suicide ending as Amy had originally planned, but torturing your cheating husband by impregnating yourself with his frozen sperm after framing him for your murder… I guess that works too!
happiness — star-crossed lovers
Lovely War by Julie Berry: When thinking of star-crossed lovers, Aubrey and Colette immediately came to mind. Their love story was a struggle; a young, Black, American man overseas during WWI falling in love with a white French woman amidst increased violence towards Black American service members and the backdrop of a brutal war. But sweet Aubrey and Colette persevered throughout it all, and nothing brought me more joy than reading their happy ending doing what they loved — making music together.
dorothea — books with great friendship
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: There’s a lot going on in Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves, math and symbols and heists that make your head spin, but the friendship between the core group of protagonists is what truly makes the story shine. You may be confused by the plot the entire time you’re reading, but at least there’s a lovable group of characters to follow!
coney island — nostalgic books
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: I’m revealing my age here, but I read these as they published and had to wait an achingly long time to finish Lara Jean and Peter’s journey. Now, I can watch them on Netflix whenever I want, but there’s something nostalgic about these books for me — driving to Target after school on release day to buy a copy of the next installment because they always had signed editions. The saddest realization, though, is coming to terms with the fact that I would not let a real-life Peter Kavinsky within a mile radius of me. Team John Ambrose. But really, team Lara Jean.
ivy — books with infidelity
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Yes, I did actually read this entire tome this year. No, I do not think it needed to be 1000+ pages. But, if it’s infidelity you’re looking for, this is the book for you! All I have to say about this book, though, is justice for Anna — she deserved a better ending than she got.
cowboy like me — favorite meet cute
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: Now this series almost beat out TATBILB for nostalgic reasons, but I couldn’t resist including Josh and Isla’s “meet cute” for this song instead. How romantic, to be sitting in a coffee shop in New York City, hopped up on medication from a wisdom teeth removal, only to see the boy you’ve been pining over at your Parisian boarding school for the last three years. You can probably guess what happens based on the title, but whew, the angst in this book is something else.
marjorie — best book parents
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: Best book parents is a difficult category, especially for YA readers where parents are non-existent and 16-year olds are running around saving the world. But, a special shoutout is in order for Zachary Ezra Rollins’ mother, who is a fortune-teller and small business owner. Her lack of concern for Zachary as he sails the Starless sea, knowing he will come back to her in the physical word when he’s ready — I can’t help but admire that love and trust.
closure — ships that sunk
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang: If I could insert a clown emoji here, I would. But this is a professional blog, so I’ll just spend the next few sentences crying over what could have been for Rin and Nezha. The irony that the exact moment this ship sunk was while the two of them were in a boat together… it’s too much for me. The Poppy War trilogy is by no means a romance, and I recommend Tiffany’s informative post on the history if you’re interested in reading. But, that does not change the fact that Rin and Nezha had an insane amount of chemistry — in the end, though, they both wanted to set the world on fire instead. Literally and figuratively.
evermore — books that make you feel hopeful
A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir: This book was a recent release and the finale to an incredible series by Sabaa Tahir, you can find my full review for this book specifically here. In a year full of so much despair and hate and fear, it was an absolute joy (although painful, at times) to read this book and feel how much love was poured into every word, every exchange, every longing glance. I’ll hold this book in particular close for a very long time, as a reminder of the power of hope.
And that’s it, reader! All 15 tracks on the standard edition of evermore, perhaps I’ll update the post when the bonus tracks are released if Sherna is kind enough to create prompts for them. Stream evermore and pick up a few of these titles while you’re at it.
I think I’m supposed to tag others to go through the tag, so if you’ve read this far and want to share your evermore picks with me, then I tag you!