Taylor Swift Eras x Book Genres - Pt 1  The Early Years

Taylor Swift Eras x Book Genres - Pt 1 The Early Years

9 minute read

The harmony between Swifties and the bookish community is very real. Taylor Swift's recent release of The Tortured Poets Department, and the resultant Bookstagram and Booktok obsession, only cemented that fact.

And how can you blame us? Taylor Swift is an icon. She’s known for many things, but infusing story and romance into her writing is unarguably one of her biggest claims to fame. Which got us thinking about her many eras, and the path her albums took through the very same genres we find on our shelves.

Each of Taylor’s albums can be called undeniably romantic, but where earlier records have fairy tale tones and bright-eyed witticism, mid-to-later albums delve into the darker side of romance, and, often, something far more urgent: a woman’s relationship with herself and the world around her. These same variations live on our shelves, and the parallels come clear with a closer look.

So put on your favorite album (we’re still binging TTPD) and prepare to dive into the mashup you didn’t know you needed: Taylor Swift Eras x Book Genres. Let’s start from the beginning…

(Note: You will see a trend of romance genres in here…that should not surprise anyone, given the topic! We love all genres at LitJoy, not just those we’ve named!)

Taylor Swift (self-titled debut) x YA Romance

Taylor Swift x YA Romance Banner

I dare you to hear, “Our song was a slamming screen door,” and not start belting out lyrics with your best twang, while thinking back to your own first high school heartbreak. Could this debut album, with its earnest love ballads and light-hearted pining, be anything but YA Romance?

Young Adult Romance is a huge genre, filled with stories of humor and adventure, of school shenanigans and paranormal hijinks. But at heart, the YA genre is made from stories of young people becoming who they’re meant to be. A wistfulness of “happy for right now” comes through when reading about young love, and that wistfulness also permeates Swift’s debut album.

Both Taylor Swift and the YA Romance genre capture a kind of love that often only lives in memory as we grow up, surviving through lessons learned as we get a little older, wiser, and far less starry-eyed.

YA Romance Books that Remind Us of Taylor Swift:

To All the Boys I've Loved Before series by Jenny Han

A book series that begins with the main character writing secret letters to all the boys she’s had crushes on? Yep, that tracks.

Swift’s debut album, which is made up of the stories of the artist’s own first experiences with love and loss, reads like love letters. But where Lara Jean’s innermost feelings are sent out unbeknownst to her, Swift willingly laid her heart bare for all of us to hear.

Regardless of differences, both Han’s series and Swift’s album tackle the earnestness of first love and the way feelings can change as you grow up.

  • Taylor Swift song to pair with the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series: “Stay Beautiful”

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Taylor Swift might not write about vampires, but she does write about first loves, and about longing for someone you can’t have.

Mead’s Rose and Lissa go on epic journeys, but the core of both of their stories is in the love they experience as they grow into who they’re meant to become. They both go through heartbreak and loss, and, like Swift, they each learn what happens when adolescent dreams meet the real world…and that sometimes the path to your happy ending lies within yourself.

  • Taylor Swift song to pair with the Vampire Academy series: “A Place in this World”

**Love Vampire Academy as much as we do? Snag our stunning (and annotated!) Vampire Academy Special Edition Box Set before it sells out!

Fearless (Taylor’s Version) x Romance

Fearless x Romance Banner

In Fearless, Swift sings about break ups and new love, about fairy tales and hope…basically, about trying to figure out how to grow up and fall in and out of love on her own terms. This album takes us out of YA and moves toward the adult Romance genre. It’s a broad scale with a lot of variation, delving into different circumstances and subgenres, but one where falling in love and finding your way share the same space.

Like so many of our favorite Romance books, Fearless beautifully captures learning what it feels like to love and be loved, and what it means to be a woman. Taylor’s power is in harnessing her experiences and lessons in song, just like we find strength in reading about women who are navigating their own paths through life and love.

Romance Books that Remind Us of Fearless (Taylor’s Version):

A League of Extraordinary Women series by Evie Dunmore

Evie Dunmore’s A League of Extraordinary Women series are historical romances rife with strong young women pushing up against the structures of history to carve their own place as they fall in love in the process.

Dunmore’s series pairs perfectly with Fearless because, just like the album, there is more than meets the eye. No one could say either these books or this album are “just” about romance. The women in the books don’t want saving—they save themselves.

  • Fearless Song to Pair with A League of Extraordinary Women series: “White Horse”

Done & Dusted by Lyla Sage

Gone are the days of the cowboys doing all the work—the women in recent Western Romances truly shine. This idea holds strong in books like Done and Dusted, a fun, heartfelt, and steamy Western Romance by Lyla Sage.

Done and Dusted is about coming home after years spent away, about facing your future and your past, and opening up to new love. Just like in Swift’s Fearless, Done and Dusted captures a lightness and heart paired with deeper meaning. Plus, who doesn’t love a brother’s best friend trope? I have a feeling Fearless-era Swift would’ve loved Luke Brooks just as much as we do!

  • Fearless Song to Pair with Done and Dusted: “Love Story”

**Want to label genres on your shelves like we are with Taylor Swift’s albums? Check out our Bookshelf Labels! Snag them for yourself and deck out your bookshelves at home!

LitJoy Bookshelf labels page

Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) x Romantasy

Speak Now x Romantasy Banner

Speak Now marked Taylor’s turn from bright-eyed optimism and sad longing to something a little harder, a tad more aware, and a touch more cynical. The romance and fairytale themes are still there, but this time with a harder edge. I like to think of it as Taylor entering her Romantasy era!

Romantasy is a newer genre that usually includes a heroine entering adulthood facing the darkness of the world while she embraces the magic of fantasy, only to find herself falling for someone unexpected. The parallels of letting go of innocence, standing strong in your own power, and learning what love means run throughout the Romantasy genre, and just as clearly through Speak Now.

Romantasy Books that Remind Us of Speak Now (Taylor’s Version):

Crowns of Nyaxia series by Carissa Broadbent

Book 1 of the Crowns of Nyaxia, The Serpent and the Wings of Night, gained major popularity last year, and for good reason—it’s a fast-paced romantic fantasy series with characters you want to see overcome all the odds rising against them.

This ongoing series kicks off with a duology that carries the looming darkness and sweeping romance—as well as the betrayal—that we find running through Swift’s songs in Speak Now. You’ll want to binge the first two books in this series just like we did Speak Now (Taylor’s Version ) in 2023.

  • Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) song to pair with the Crowns of Nyaxia series: “The Story of Us”

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Would we even be talking about Romantasy if we didn’t mention the current queen of the genre? When it comes to Romantasy, all roads lead back to ACOTAR. A young woman struggling to survive in a fantasy world? Check. Winged alpha male? Check. Fantastical setting and political intrigue with romance at its core? Check.

You can try to tell me that Taylor doesn’t read SJM, but I won’t believe you! Much like Swift’s albums, these books get spicier as they go, and it all starts with Speak Now.

  • Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) song to pair with the ACOTAR series: “Long Live”

**SJM obsessed? Us too! Check out our officially licensed © Sarah J. Maas Collection for all the ACOTAR goodies (and more)!

Sarah J Maas LitJoy Collection page

Thanks for joining us for our deep dive into the many genres of Taylor Swift! Themes of revenge and heartache amp up in our next few albums, so keep an eye on the Lounge for Part 2 of our Taylor Swift x Book Genres Mashup series!

Please note: We always recommend that any reader checks trigger warnings and spice levels before they start reading! Everyone has their own comfort level for content, and we urge you to prioritize your emotional well-being. Happy Reading!

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