AS I ADMITTED IN A PREVIOUS POST, I adore Taylor Swift’s Lover.
Epic Reads brought the fantasy recs. I’m bringing the romantic contemporaries.
Is that my brand now? Should I embrace glitter and pastels?
To avoid that question, I’m starting Lover over from the beginning.
Track 1: I Forgot That You Existed
It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.
Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart: The characters who tormented Ruby Oliver in the series’ previous three books lose focus as Ruby concentrates on her relationship with Noel. It’s almost as if she forgot they existed.
We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding: James and Kay thought the end of their friendship would kill them, but it didn’t. It’s all just a blur, really.
Track 2: Cruel Summer
Think back to those fun summer nights you ended up regretting.
Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale: It’s summertime, a season of coffee beans, lighthouses, and growth. Life is hard, friendships are difficult, and feelings are confusing.
Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano: Can romance bloom out of summertime shenanigans when one person just wants to be friends?
Track 3: Lover
Time to get serious – BUST OUT THE COUNTRY BALLAD!
Soppy: A Love Story by Philippa Rice: Explore the inside story of a real-life relationship. DELVE INTO THE NEST OF THEIR LOVE.
You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn: Two heartbroken country musicians fall in love in spite of themselves…potentially either onstage or in a wheat field.
Track 4: The Man
Reminder that gender double standards are ridiculous.
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Peep this quote from fictional ’70s rock star Daisy Jones:
I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse.
I am not a muse.
I am the somebody.
End of fucking story.
(CW: addiction, domestic abuse)
Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner: Boys gatekeeping geekdom? Beat them by joining them. While you’re at it, remind them how RIDICULOUS it is that women have to defeminize themselves to be taken seriously.
For non-fiction fans, try:
- Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
- Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny by Kate Manne
- Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
- Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly
- Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution by Amber Tamblyn
Track 5: The Archer
Sometimes the only weapons in your arsenal are wistful “If only”s.
Someone I Used to Know by Blakney Francis: Your ex wrote a best-seller about your break-up? Oof. I’d be ready for combat.
The Universal Laws of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues: Marco’s been the archer, he’s been the prey. Who could ever leave him? I mean, besides his first crush immediately following their first kiss.
Track 6: I Think He Knows
Keeping your crush under wraps is so 2018.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert: Birdie falls for a hot bad boy. She can’t contain her joy. (CW: drug addiction)
Save the Date by Morgan Matson: Charlie Grant has no chill around her crush and long-time neighbor Jesse Foster. CHARLIE, I THINK HE KNOWS.
Track 7: Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince
In case you forgot, Taylor Swift also did Red and 1989.
The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp: Budding alcoholic Sutter Keely romances wholesome nerd Aimee Finicky. It doesn’t end well. (CW: violence, alcoholism)
First & Then by Emma Mills: School loner falls for handsome jock. Her awkward cousin chaperones.
Track 8: Paper Rings
The “No, YOU hang up first!” of love songs.
Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka: A bouncy love story about an actress who falls for a penniless playwright. In other words, Moulin Rouge with a happy ending.
Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith: Girl buys boy lottery ticket. Boy wins lottery. Girl likely says, “I don’t CARE about the money! I care about YOU!”
Track 9: Cornelia Street
Some old haunts hold too many memories.
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira: Grieving student Laurel is having a harder time than most. Her memories feel too painful to approach head-on. (CW: death, grief, sexual abuse, suicide)
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King: After her best friend Charlie dies, Vera Dietz withdraws. She doesn’t want to be reminded of her failure as a friend. (CW: death, implied sexual abuse, neglect, grief)
Track 10: Death By a Thousand Cuts
“It’s over!” “It’s never over!” (Except, this time, it’s really over.)
How it Ends by Catherine Lo: Something destroyed Jessie and Annie’s friendship. Neither of them knows what.
Past Perfect by Leila Sales: Chelsea plans to spend the summer getting over Ezra…only to learn they’re working the same summer job. Ask the traffic lights if it’ll be alright, because I don’t know.
Track 11: London Boy
Fans wonder how Taylor supposedly traversed the whole of London in one afternoon.
London Belongs to Us by Sarah Manning: Seventeen-year-old Sunny sweeps through numerous London neighborhoods in 12 hours. That’s an accomplishment. See how she does it.
I See London, I See France by Sarah Mylnowski: Per author Jennifer E. Smith, this novel is a “hugely entertaining romp through Europe.” Close enough.
Just One Day by Gayle Forman: Good girl Allison meets an intriguing Dutch boy in London. They have an epic love affair for 100 pages before the worst happens. (CW: depression)
Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: The First Son falls for the British prince. Barbecues and sexy cake consumption occur. (CW: implied abuse, forced outing)
Track 12: Soon You’ll Get Better
Alternate title: “If ‘Innocent’ and ‘Never Grow Up’ had a child together…and then that child got sick.”
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: Conor’s mom gets sick a lot, but she always gets better. This time, things are different. This time, an ancient monster haunts Conor’s backyard. The true monster, though, is Conor’s denial. (CW: death, grief, illness, bullying, violence)
The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch: Amelia is so enamored with her older brother Toby that she writes off every symptom of his schizophrenia. (CW: mental illness)
Track 13: False God
This relationship, like Scientology, is both problematic and strangely enticing.
Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne: Nothing makes a romance headier than shared musical tastes. Yes, I am rolling my eyes.
Find Me by André Aciman: Elio still worships ex-lover Oliver after many years of separation. PINING IS HEALTHY.
Track 14: You Need to Calm Down
Taylor Swift: defending the LGBTQIA+ community since…August of 2019.
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden: You mean…queer romance doesn’t have to end in tragedy? HUH. (CW: homophobia)
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju: Your homophobia won’t stop these kids from dancing. Could you just not step on their gowns? You need to calm down. (CW per Goodreads: homophobia, violence, bullying, gender dysphoria, alcoholism, abandonment)
Track 15: Afterglow
A surprisingly genuine apology this time around.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: ANNE IS REALLY SORRY SHE DUMPED YOU, WENTWORTH. SHE’S NOT SORRY SHE LISTENED TO HER AUNT’S ADVICE, JUST SORRY YOU GOT HURT. THE MORAL IS KIND OF CONFUSING BUT JUST GO WITH IT.
99 Days by Katie Cotugno: Molly Barlow broke Patrick Barlow’s heart by cheating on him with his brother Gabe. She wants to make things right. She…fails.
Track 16: ME!
“Trust me, I’m worth it,” is quite the promise to make.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: No one can outshine Mica High’s blithe spirit Stargirl. SHE HAS A PET RAT. (CW: bullying)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson: Genetics professor Don Tillman designs a project to find his perfect partner. “Quirky” bartender Rosie Jarman asks Don to find her biological father. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS?
Track 17: It’s Nice to Have a Friend
And by “friend,” I mean life-long crush and eventual lover.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St. Onge, Joy San, & Genevieve FT: Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray are just a couple of gal pals. Hahaaaa, just kidding. Love wins, etc. (CW: homophobia)
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid: Dave has spent all of high school pining after his best friend Julia. But they’re just friends and ALWAYS WILL BE…right?
Track 18: Daylight
It’s over…but morning is coming.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Poor Jonah. He survives some hellish nights. I want to tell him it’ll be all right. (CW: death, grief, suicidal ideation, suicide, animal abuse, abandonment, trauma)
Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry: Hope is the only thing keeping Raya and Sarah alive. Surely there’s a life for them outside of Friendly Saviors. (CW: HOMOPHOBIA AND VIOLENCE. BULK OF PLOT TAKES PLACE AT CONVERSION THERAPY.)
Phew. This one took me a while.
I might need a break from Lover for a week or so.
Maybe I’ll switch it out for Lana Del Rey’s latest album.
DON’T EXPECT A RECOMMENDATION POST FOR LANA.
…at least not for a while.