If you’re like me and constantly have earphones in, pumping out music at all hours of the day, then you’ll know how easy it is to want to associate a song with whatever book you’re reading.
Sometimes it can be the specific lyrics that make you think of a book, or sometimes a book title can even remind you of a song. Either way, it seems that books and music tend to go hand in hand more than you’d often expect them to.
As someone who typically listens to music as I read, since doing anything in silence gives me a panic attack, I am always picking out songs that pair well with a book. Does that mean I have good taste in music? Nope, not at all. In fact, I have terrible taste in music; outdated taste in music, even. But that’s not stopping me from doing this list.
If you haven’t checked out any of these books (or songs!) I strongly encourage you to do so.
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson → Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
What the book’s about: After her friend moves away as if overnight with no warning, Emily is left with a summer to-do list from Sloane filled with tasks that would take Emily out of her comfort zone, all while hoping that at the end of the list she’ll find out where her friend went.
Prominent lyric: Since U been gone, I can breathe for the first time
Why it reminds me of this book: If you can see that book title without wanting to scream “Since U Been Gone” at the top of your lungs, you’re a lot stronger than me.
Siren Call by Hanson → To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
What the book’s about: After killing one of her own, a siren princess is punished with being transformed into a human by the Sea Queen, where she crosses paths with a prince who wants nothing more than to eliminate her kind. Can they work together against their common enemy, stealing each other’s heart in the process, or turn on each other?
Prominent lyric: I hear the sirens call me on, the silent call from far beyond, and those who hear sing along
Why it reminds me of this book: Although this song is more or less inspired by The Odyssey, every time I hear it I can’t help but think of Lira and Elian’s story in this fascinating retelling of The Little Mermaid. It fits a lot better than others since in this version, Lira is a siren and not a mermaid; a little on the nail here but I love it.
More Than Words by Extreme → More Than Words by Mia Sheridan
What the book’s about: Once childhood friends from different worlds, historian Jessica and broken composer Callen reconnect for the first time in years, realizing they might not know each other at all in this second chance romance.
Prominent lyric: More than words is all you have to do to make it real, then you wouldn’t have to say you love me, cause I’d already know
Why it reminds me of this book: Again, the title just makes my brain play the song on a loop. But it’s a really lovely song when you break it down, and definitely encapsulates the couple, so I’m not complaining.
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story from Hamilton → The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
What the book’s about: In 1714, Adeline LaRue makes a desperate deal with a devil to live a life on her own terms, but the cost is that it makes anyone she ever interacts with instantly forget her. Until, 300 years later, she encounters a young man who finally remembers her.
Prominent lyric: When my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?
Why it reminds me of this book: One of the main themes of this book is the idea of making an impact, and all Addie has ever wanted in her 300 year immortal life is to be remembered any way she can, and I feel like this song really emphasizes Addie’s character. It’s obviously not the same but I think it’s just another way to show how you can make an impact in the world and be remembered in ways you’ve never thought.
Lost Boy by Ruth B. → Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry
What the book’s about: Before Wendy and the Darlings, before Tiger Lily, there was Jamie. Brought over to Neverland from the Other Place, Peter promised Jamie a life of fun and adventure where you can be young forever. But what if Peter is nothing more than a liar?
Prominent lyric: Neverland is home to lost boys like me, and lost boys like me are free
Why it reminds me of this book: This book is such a fascinating retelling since it’s the villain origin story for Captain Hook, and it’s just so interesting to see how he too was once a lost boy. Sometimes I like to think this song is from Jamie’s POV, but since it seems to be more an ode to Neverland as a whole it makes me think of any Peter Pan story.
I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis → Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
What the book’s about: Finishing off her senior year of high school, Lara Jean is excited for the future. Plans after graduation, her dad’s wedding, and college with Peter makes her think everything is working out the way it should. Until she receives bad news, Lara Jean finally has to learn to make choices and go after what she really wants and not just what’s expected.
Prominent lyric: Say you’ll love, love me forever, never stop, never whatever, near and far and always and everywhere and everything
Why it reminds me of this book: Another one of those play-ons with the book title, but it was even used in the trailer for the Netflix adaptation so it’s not just me who thinks of these two together! Full disclosure, this song kinda gets on my nerves but here we are.
Wait For Me by Jack Curley → Wait For You by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)
What the book’s about: Five years after a life altering incident, Avery enters college with hopes of a fresh start. But she didn’t plan on meeting Cam and for him to be so charming and alluring, drawn to him even when she can’t seem to help herself. When she starts getting threatening calls about that night and her secret gets out, Avery wonders if she’ll be able to get through it with Cam by her side or risk losing him forever.
Prominent lyric: So wait for me, I promise that I won’t let you down, can’t bring yourself to say it out loud, so whisper that you’ll wait for me
Why it reminds me of this book: There’s a lot going on in this book and can be pretty heavy at times, but I feel like this song really showcases the kind of dynamic Avery and Cam has, especially on his side of the romance. Yet another title alliteration but it’s fine.
I Need You To Hate Me by JC Stewart → The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
What the book’s about: Lucy Hutton hates her coworker Joshua Templeman, and Joshua hates Lucy. Their fights have been known to reach epic proportions. When a promotion has them both vying for the role, Lucy knows she must do everything in her power to get the job and become Joshua’s boss, or else she’ll have to resign. But what if Joshua doesn’t hate Lucy the way she thought? And what if she doesn’t hate him either?
Prominent lyric: I need you to hate me, baby in the worst way, oh
Why it reminds me of this book: This song might be more about a break up or lost love, but I still get some Lucy and Josh vibes from this. I feel like it works for them and their dynamic, especially in the beginning of the book, and I’ll just leave it at that.
I Wanna Sex You Up by Color Me Badd → I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter
What the book’s about: After Zoe puts up an anonymous ad for a new roommate, she’s shocked to discover the person who answered is her best friend’s ex-boyfriend. Since they seem to get along, they give it a go and try to coexist together, albeit a flirty text session here and there. Zoe knows nothing can ever happen between them but then why can’t she seem to stop thinking about Caleb in that way? Is he worth potentially losing her best friend over?
Prominent lyric: Girl you know I’m hooked on you, and this is what I’ll do, I wanna sex you up
Why it reminds me of this book: Do I have to explain myself? I didn’t think so. 90s boyband jams for the win.
Yearbook by Hanson → One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
What the book’s about: Five strangers walk into detention but only four come out. After several secrets are revealed, it takes these four teenagers from strangers to murder suspects. Everyone has a motive to kill, but which one really did it? Will they uncover the murderer before they turn on each other or is the real killer hiding in plain sight?
Prominent lyric: More than sad it makes me mad, to know somebody knows, there’s a lying in your silence, tell me where did Johnny go
Why it reminds me of this book: Though the song seems to be about a student’s missing picture in a yearbook, with no one knowing or talking about what happened, it’s a relative story to that of this book. The song could even be from the perspective of a future student who’d never heard of the Bayview Four, not knowing what happened to Simon, but discovering him missing in a past yearbook. Who knows? But it fits and the song is just as haunting as the book. (Bonus points if you go listen to the String Theory version!)