33 Books With Plots And Feelings That Perfectly Encapsulate Taylor Swift's "All Too Well"
Fiction, romance, and poetry books that will move you the same way Swift's "All Too Well" moves you.
Fans of Taylor Swift's 2012 Red may have to wait until November to indulge in the album rerecorded as Taylor's Version, but if you're ready to kick-start fall early and really nestle into your feelings while you blast "All Too Well," then you're in luck. I've put together a list of books that capture the same type of emotion that the song brings upon its beloved fans, divided up in lyrical sections. So, dear mood readers, brace your heart and get ready to be emotionally broken by these works of fiction, romance, and poetry.
by Robyn Schneider
Rose Asher lost her older brother, Logan, when he was 15 and she was 11, but Logan still keeps Rose company as a ghost. Now 16, Rose feels like a loner lost in a toxic friend group. But when Rose's former friend Jamie Aldridge moves back to town and rejoins her old circle of friends, Rose slowly finds herself going back to her old life. However, Jamie has a secret — something that provides Rose with a difficult choice. Readers will ache throughout this heartfelt, tender story full of letting go of the things you cannot change and the deep cuts of remembering.
by Robert M. Drake and r.h. Sin
This reflective, empowering collection features short, moving poems by two poets. With tender lines like, "Please believe that somewhere in me is a love song and it is the kind you listen to when driving back home," this collection gives room for reflecting on those chaotic feelings of love once it leaves us wrecked, and how we can learn to appreciate where we've come from — and rebuild. If you enjoy the poetic lyricism in Swift's "All Too Well," then you'll appreciate being in your feelings during this read.
by Bianca Sparacino
Another poetry collection, because the line "I know it's long gone and there was nothing else I could do" hits emotionally in Bianca Sparacino's The Strength in Our Scars. Words that make an impact and speak to the soul, like "All of the love you have given to the wrong people — it will find its way back to you," pair perfectly with this lyric, allowing room for profound insight to be found in memories of relationships long gone. Sparacino's poems are meant to heal and rediscover the value that you find in yourself. Best enjoyed with a bottle of wine — red, of course.
by Jennifer Niven
Because this lyric gives us a flash of a wistful, aching piece of a relationship during a happier point in time, may I present books that are bursting with feelings of falling in love — hard. It's fitting we start with Breathless by Jennifer Niven. Claude's parents are separating, which emotionally hardens Claude. To get away, Claude's mother takes the two of them to an island off the coast of Georgia during the summer, where she meets a boy named Jeremiah Crew. It's there that the feelings between Claude and Jeremiah grow into that dazzling frenzy that can be uncovered only if one discovers the sheer greatness of love. Trust me when I say this book will make you feel all of love's ups and downs.
by Maurene Goo
The Way You Make Me Feel is one of my favorites by Maurene Goo. Clara is a spunky, impulsive character who gets herself into some trouble and, as a result, must spend the summer helping her dad with his food truck, along with her enemy, Rose. But during the summer, Clara meets a boy named Hamlet, becomes invested in her father's business, and begins to maybe even get along with Rose. So what does it mean that Clara is beginning to feel as if she's shedding her old self and evolving? There's so much warmth and humor in this one, which makes it the ideal companion novel for this lyric.
by Emma Lord
If you love rich, delightful characters with soft hearts who will make you want to dance around your kitchen in the refrigerator light, then allow me to introduce you to Tweet Cute. Pepper is a teen living her life in New York City while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account. Jack knows Pepper because they go to the same school, and his family owns a local deli. When he finds out that Big League Burger has stolen his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, the two unknowingly fall into a viral Twitter war with each other. Emma Lord's quippy dialogue and lovable characters will make you fall hard.
by Jasmine Guillory
Did I choose this book because the character is wearing a red dress? Not entirely. Jasmine Guillory's latest has all the above — and more. Since this lyric showcases the good parts of a relationship, we follow the joyous beginnings of a relationship between Ben and Anna. Ben has landed a campaign with the famous actor Anna, and the two can't seem to stop flirting. But what happens when that relationship unexpectedly turns deeper and then is thrust into the spotlight? Will it be able to survive? While We Were Dating encapsulates those first moments of love, with all their trials and tribulations.
by Gayle Forman
Just One Day follows the careful, cautious, and meticulously organized Allyson Healey, who meets Willem on the last day of her three-week postgraduation European tour. Willem is charismatic, independent, and free-spirited — everything Allyson isn't. So when she surprises herself and agrees to join him, abandoning her plans, she finds herself in Paris on a transformational excursion. This book truly captures these lyrics of remembering not just heartbreak but all the risks and chances you took along the way.
by Bella Mayo
Poetry enthusiasts who enjoyed Swift's Red album as a whole will love the careful sincerity found in the pages of My Greenhouse by Bella Mayo. Inspired by Mayo's lost romances, the poet’s collection explores love in stages: a new, exciting crush; slowly falling in love; suffering through heartbreak; and experiencing growth. These short, often on-the-nose, and raw poems capture the feelings of unsteadiness so often felt after the end of a relationship. Reflective of past heartbreak, this collection speaks to Swift's "I remember it..." lyric with honest passion. It will speak to anyone who has not only gone through heartbreak but has also found the strength to mend.
by Jenny Han
Oh! How Jenny Han so perfectly gut-punches us with emotion! The Summer I Turned Pretty is a series that came long before To All the Boys I've Loved Before, and it's also about to become a Netflix show. Told in present-day and past chapters over the summers Belly spends with family friend Susannah and her two boys, Jeremiah and Conrad, this novel lets us experience all the aches and pains, joys and hardships, that Belly goes through, especially when it comes to love. If we're homing in on a lyric that focuses on looking back and remembering, then this book delivers those feelings of longing, hurt, and love.
by Mhairi McFarlane
I went into this book thinking that — from the cover — it would be lighthearted and humorous, but oh, does it leave a deep cut. Mhairi McFarlane explores grief, love, and death in gorgeous, evocative ways, especially through conversation, so prepare yourself to enter these pages knowing that your heart will break and then slowly be put back together. Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends forever, and when something happens that blindsides Eve, she's left to pick up the pieces shattered by friends she thought she knew. In the wake of this experience comes someone from her past — a guy Eve begins to get to know under peculiar circumstances. And maybe even fall for...
by Ali Hazelwood
The Love Hypothesis is a very sweet, swoony read about two scientists who get caught up in a fake-dating ploy after realizing it would be beneficial to them both. Olive Smith is a three-year PhD candidate who wants her best friend off her back, so she gets herself into a situation where she kisses the first person she sees: Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor. Adam needs to prove to Stanford that he isn't taking his career elsewhere, so he agrees to fake-date Olive to show the faculty that someone is grounding him in California. But when real feelings get involved and misunderstanding begins to dissolve what's good, Olive and Adam begin to wonder if this idea is for the best. But don't worry; the ending of this one won't leave you in a tangled mess of feelings — just happy ones.
by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland
Raquel Vasquez Gilliland has such a poetic, lush way of writing and creating characters that it's hard not to become sucked into the story — and it's one with such an interesting mix of genres. Sia Martinez lives in a small Arizona town and is dealing with the deportation of her mother, whom she hasn't seen or heard from in the three years since. She believes her mother to be dead. There's a splash of romance that happens when a new boy named Noah moves into town, but the speculative element comes into play when Noah, Sia, and Sia's best friend get caught up in a space mystery after a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia's car and is carrying her mother, who is very much alive.
by Marisa Kanter
What I Like About You is a lighthearted romance revolving around Nash and Halle — BFFs who met online through their mutual love of books. Except, Nash thinks Halle's name is Kels. When Halle moves in with her grandfather for her senior year, she doesn't expect to end up at the same school as Nash. But Halle doesn't come clean with the truth. Instead she asks for too much, if you will, and lets Nash believe that Kels and Halle are two separate people in hopes of maintaining their online friendship. Which — as you can imagine — gets messy.
Talk about two people getting lost in the things they didn't say! Unclear communication and confused feelings are alive and well in this queer romance novel that follows Lara, a senior, who has everything she's wanted: a group of best friends and a hot football star who is finally flirting with her. But when Jasmine transfers to Lara's school, Lara's world is thrown askew. She just spent a magical summer in the Outer Banks with Jasmine and wasn’t expecting her to reenter her life. But if Lara now has everything she's always wanted...why is she so stuck on Jasmine? This heartfelt contemporary romance is as bright and sweet as its cover and poignantly explores queer identity and self-discovery.
by Emily Henry
This eloquent lyric alludes to having something good and then — in a moment of self-destruction — ruining it, which is why People We Meet on Vacation slots fittingly here. While the vibrant cover and title might trick you into believing it's a simple vacation read, it has so much heart and humor. The story follows two best friends who are complete opposites. Poppy loves adventures and travel, while Alex has learned to appreciate where he comes from. After a friendship fallout, Poppy initiates a vacation with Alex to try to fix things — things that she may have been responsible for blowing up in the first place.
by Pierre Alex Jeanty
The title alone encompasses this song lyric, but the poems inside really highlight the same feelings of hardship after heartbreak. Pierre Alex Jeanty cracks open that bottle filled with emotions we experience after a relationship ends. Sentiments expressed through his poetry, lines like, "Here you are, expecting long chapters of a lasting story, only to become the lasting moment of another short thrill," make readers feel like they're not alone in their experience of loss. The poems are short, but the transcendent feelings linger long after.
by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
Time of Our Lives correlates perfectly to this particular lyric because we follow two high school seniors on the verge of significant change, drudging up deep-seated fear at the thought of new beginnings and fresh starts. In this novel, told from dual points of view, Fitz Holton's and Juniper Ramirez's paths cross when they meet on a college tour and realize they're spending the rest of the week touring many of the same universities on the East Coast. Fitz isn't ready to let go of the comforts of his home, while Juniper is more than ready to get out. This novel is heartwarming, thought-provoking, and real in all the best ways, reflecting on what change means and how it feels.
by Mary H.K. Choi
Mary H.K. Choi has a way of introducing messy, complicated characters you slowly grow to care about. German Polish Sam and Korean American Penny are both struggling with different things in their lives. But when the two cross paths in an awkward collision, they swap numbers to keep in touch. Not too long after, both Penny and Sam find that they can confide in each other — about everything from anxieties to secrets to dreams — without even having to see each other. In a story that explores both characters' emotions in a raw, realistic way, Choi's writing is sure to move you.
by Jeff Zentner
Jeff Zentner sprinkles crushingly evocative and gorgeously lyrical poetry throughout this novel, but one thing that connects main character Cash to this particular Swift lyric is the paralyzing feeling of being scared. Cash loves the familiarity of his small Appalachian town, but he also knows the suffering of loss. He lost his mother from an opioid addiction, and his grandfather is slowly dying from emphysema. His rock is his best friend, Delaney, toward whom he feels fiercely protective. But one day, everything changes. Delaney's scientific discovery has secured both of them full rides to an elite prep school in Connecticut, which means Cash must make a hard decision: Does he abandon a town he thought he'd never leave behind? With profound insights into the world surrounding a struggling main character, Zentner's powerful, emotional novel is one you won't soon forget.
by Phil Stamper
Speaking of feeling scared, As Far as You'll Take Me explores independence and identity in ways many will take comfort in. Marty finds an escape from the judgmental eyes of his parents when he sets off to London, where he's excited to explore his sexuality and land his dream job. It's going to be perfect. And it is — for a little while. But Marty's savings will only go so far, and his homesickness and anxiety are worsening. Will he be able to figure it out, or will everything fall apart?
by Lillie Vale
Those looking for something more lighthearted can find joy in Lillie Vale's The Shaadi Set-Up. Falling under the category of "things that didn't end well" is the relationship between Rita Chitniss and Milan Rao, high school sweethearts until Milan broke her heart. Fast-forward six years, and Rita is in an almost perfect relationship with a man named Neil. But Milan has reentered her life thanks to her mother, and he's looking for business advice, not love. After agreeing to help, Rita decides to prove a point: She signs up for a desi matchmaking website, only to have it tell her that her perfect match really is Milan. As the two continue to work together, Rita starts to wonder if the site wasn't so wrong after all.
by Michaela Angemeer
For those feeling broken like a promise on the inside, Michaela Angemeer's You'll Come Back to Yourself may be the poetry collection you need to find healing. These short but powerful poems touch on everything from losing a relationship to anxiety and depression, independence and strength, and more. From the opening section, "Holding On," to the final "Letting Go," you'll be moved by Angemeer's cathartic words.
I love this poetry collection by Alfa Holden because she's not afraid to pull back layers and layers of emotion from her darkest moments, examine them, and then so eloquently put them on paper. In this insightful and exploratory work, she reminds us that we may feel that our heartache survived a battle, but it's not always gone after the dust settles. Sometimes it lives with us for a long time before we are able to let it go.
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I had to include an enemies-to-lovers contemporary novel that pairs so fittingly with this particular lyric, especially when Rowan Roth and Neil McNair are often so casually cruel to each other. You'll be hard-pressed to find a cuter story than this one, filled with sharp, funny dialogue and impeccable pacing. Rowan and Neil are high school rivals. On the last day of senior year, Rowan is determined to beat Neil one last time at a game of Howl: a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle. But when other members of their class begin teaming up to take them down, the two must work together to win. And the more time they spend together, the more they realize that the other isn't as bad as they once thought...
by Jon Lupin
If you're ready to sink deep into your feelings when you're going through it, Jon Lupin's poetry collection is worth exploring. Filled with deep-cut poems that paint stunning images and evoke tender heartache, You Only Love Me When I'm Suffering encapsulates the feeling of loss in many ways, but also explores the ways in which we heal.
by Aminah Mae Safi
Lulu Saad and her three best friends are inseparable. Confident, messy, and true to themselves, they've always stuck together. But when Lulu's actions push her friends away — on top of causing a very public scene at Ramadan in front of her entire family — she must do what she can to try to fix it. As readers follow this ride-or-die, messy friend group that is — on the nose — "casually cruel in the name of being honest," they will journey through Lulu's highest of highs and low lows. It's an impactful read if you need to feel these lyrics in book form.
by Adam Silvera
I'm not saying you will feel like "a crumpled-up piece of paper lying here" after you finish They Both Die at the End, but I'm NOT saying that you won't... Listen, if you need a book that will let you soak in every single feeling you've ever felt, start here. Death-Cast is a system used to warn people 24 hours in advance of their End Day — also known as the day they die. Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both receive a call on the same day and, through a series of events, wind up meeting each other using an app called the Last Friend, which pairs people up so they can find company on their final day. Mateo has always lived life carefully, while Rufus has been slightly more carefree, but together, they travel the city in one last effort to make peace with their lives. In telling a story through both boys' points of view, with third-person narrations sprinkled throughout, Adam Silvera not only poignantly captures the raw emotion of facing your own mortality but also creates entirely relatable and authentic characters you'll want to follow on their journey.
by Jandy Nelson
Jandy Nelson's gorgeous writing will break you into a thousand delicate pieces, sort of the way this entire song makes you feel. In a narrative presented between two different points in time, we follow Noah and Jude, two siblings who were at one point inseparable. Noah is a romantic, while Jude is bold and unafraid. But a jump into the present leads us to see that the two are barely speaking, and we begin to piece together the devastating reality of what happened as they slowly make their way back to each other. Love, loss, and grief are explored in this award-winning novel.
by Noor Unnahar
I have another poetry collection for you if you need to be moved by some eloquent, earth-shattering words. Noor Unnahar writes with such vulnerable, intimate prose centering on love and the loss one feels when a relationship ends. This collection is viscerally moving, presenting pain and self-discovery in ways that are tough to see when you feel so heavily weighed down by your emotions. In other words, it pairs great with the entirety of "All Too Well."
by Dustin Thao
Are you ready to finish a book and emotionally feel like a crumpled-up piece of paper lying here? Sometimes we all need a good cry, and Dustin Thao ensures that may happen with his debut. A contemporary novel with a sprinkle of magic, You've Reached Sam walks us through Julie's second chance at goodbye. When her high school boyfriend tragically dies, she's left with feelings of guilt, aching sadness, and the urge to get rid of any physical reminder of Sam. But when Julie calls Sam to hear his voicemail one last time, she unknowingly begins a new connection with him — one Sam can't quite explain, but one that gives both of them the opportunity to say goodbye. Only, now Julie isn't sure she wants to move on.
by Morgan Harper Nichols
To bring a sense of closure to both this song and this list, I think it makes sense that we end on a reflective kind of hope. All Along You Were Blooming is a poetry collection that acts as a reminder that, despite what you've gone through, you are valued and worthy of the life you're living. This book contains illustrations and poetry and focuses on restoration and healing.
by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever is one of Sarah Dessen's more emotionally complex and moving contemporary tales, one that really unearths the feelings of being young and going through hardships. Macy is rocked by the loss of her father, but she begins to find herself — maybe even a new version of herself — when she takes a catering job at Wish and befriends a boy named Wes.