YA Friday: Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) is the third rerecorded album by Taylor Swift, which she created to regain ownership of her music. It features 22 tracks, including rerecorded versions of every song from the deluxe edition of Speak Now and unreleased vault tracks featuring vocals from Fall Out Boy and Haley Williams of Paramore.

Taylor Swift announced the release of the album at The Eras Tour show in Nashville, TN, and posted on Instagram about the album:

"I first made Speak Now, completely self-written, between the ages of 18 and 20. The songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it. With six extra songs I’ve sprung loose from the vault, I absolutely cannot wait to celebrate Speak Now."

1. Mine (Taylor's Version)

The first song revolves around the story of a girl who has become cynical about love due to her parents' failed marriage. Despite her skepticism, she eventually falls in love with someone who manages to restore her faith in love. However, she continues to harbor anxieties and fears that something will ultimately go awry in the relationship.

This Lullaby, book cover

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

She’s got it all figured out.

Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy’s got a whole set of rules.

Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.

But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she’s starting to understand what all those love songs are about?

2. Sparks Fly (Taylor's Version)

The second track is a song that explores the experience of falling in love with someone who may not be the ideal choice, yet the intense connection and chemistry between them make it impossible to resist.

Fireworks, book cover

Fireworks by Alice Lin

Lulu hasn't seen Kite since eighth grade, after he left the country to pursue a career in K-pop, eventually debuting in the boy group Karnival. When Karnival announces that Kite will be taking a break from K-pop activities for mysterious reasons, the opportunity to rekindle their friendship arises.

Star-struck and nostalgic, Lulu tries to reconnect with Kite. As they continue to bond and reminisce over the past, Kite's sister, Connie, warns Lulu not to get too close to her brother. The harder Lulu tries to deny her feelings, the stronger they get. But how could a K-pop star ever fall for a nobody from home? And even if he did, is there any way for their relationship to end but badly?

3. Back to December (Taylor's Version)

This song holds significant meaning for Taylor Swift as it represents her first sincere apology directed at Taylor Lautner, Swift's former boyfriend, and co-star from the film Valentine's Day, conveyed through her music. It stems from her realization that she had acted thoughtlessly and carelessly toward her ex who had been an exceptional and flawless partner in their relationship. The song serves as a heartfelt and profound expression of the words she longs to convey to her ex, recognizing their deservingness to hear the apology and the profound extent of her regret.

The Do-Over, book cover

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

After living through a dumpster fire of a Valentine’s Day, Emilie Hornby escapes to her grandmother’s house for some comfort and a consolation pint of Ben & Jerry’s. She passes out on the couch, but when she wakes up, she’s back home in her own bed—and it’s Valentine’s Day all over again. And the next day? Another horrendous V-Day.

Emilie is stuck in some sort of time loop nightmare that she can’t wake up from as she re-watches her boyfriend, Josh, cheat on her day after day. In addition to Josh’s recurring infidelity, Emilie can’t get away from the enigmatic Nick, who she keeps running into—sometimes literally—in unfortunate ways.

How many times can one girl passively watch her life go up in flames? And when something good starts to come out of these terrible days, what happens when the universe stops doling out do-overs?

4. Speak Now (Taylor's Version)

This song takes listeners on a vivid journey into Taylor Swift's daydream, where she imagines crashing her ex's wedding to prevent him from ending up with a woman who mistreats him. The song is rumored to be inspired by Hayley Williams of Paramore, who attended the wedding of her ex-boyfriend and former bandmate, Josh Farro, in April 2010.

Taylor Swift drew inspiration for the song from a conversation with a friend about her childhood sweetheart. They had a romantic history in high school and were presumed to reconcile eventually. However, her friend revealed he was marrying a manipulative, isolating partner who cut him off from friends and family. Swift playfully suggested speaking up during the wedding ceremony, asking her friend if she would "speak now" or forever hold her peace.

The concept of the tragic scenario where someone you love marries someone else resonated with Taylor, especially after she had a dream about one of her ex-boyfriends getting married. These experiences and reflections ultimately led her to write a song about interrupting a wedding.

Save the Date, book cover

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Charlie Grant's older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can't wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There's the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won't stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren't speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner's nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she'll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

5. Dear John (Taylor's Version)

The fifth track is a song that reflects on Taylor Swift's brief relationship with singer-songwriter John Mayer. In the song, she expresses her frustration over the way she was treated by John and acknowledges that she disregarded warnings from others about him.

The song title itself directly references John Mayer, and there are additional references to their significant age gap of over ten years. Sonically, Taylor intentionally incorporates guitar slurring into the background instrumentals, a technique commonly found in Mayer's music.

The song can be likened to a final email that someone might write to their former partner, where they candidly express everything they want to say but usually never send. By including this song on the album, Taylor metaphorically hits the "send" button, making her thoughts and feelings public.

Not That Kind of Girl, book cover

Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian

Slut or saint? Good friend or bad friend? In control or completely out of it?

Life is about making choices, and Natalie Sterling prides herself on always making the right ones. She’s avoided the jerky guys populating her prep school, always topped honor roll, and is poised to become the first female student council president in years.

If only other girls were as sensible and strong. Like the pack of freshmen yearning to be football players’ playthings. Or her best friend, whose crappy judgment nearly ruined her life.

But being sensible and strong isn’t easy. Not when Natalie nearly gets expelled anyway. Not when her advice hurts more than it helps. Not when a boy she once dismissed becomes the boy she can’t stop thinking about.

The line between good and bad has gone fuzzy, and crossing it could end in disaster . . . or become the best choice she’ll ever make.

6. Mean (Taylor's Version)

This song was written by Taylor Swift in response to a scathing review from music critic Bob Lefsetz after a performance she had with Stevie Nicks in February 2010. Lefsetz claimed that Swift "can't sing" and that the performance would harm her career. However, Swift proved him wrong.

Being in the public eye and subject to criticism, Swift acknowledges the variety of opinions and the inevitability of facing criticism. She understands that not everyone will like everything she does and that criticism comes in different forms, including constructive and professional feedback. However, she also recognizes that a line can be crossed when criticism turns into personal attacks and meanness.

Swift shares her experience dealing with such mean-spirited criticism, acknowledging that it can ruin her day. She emphasizes that despite the negativity, she controls how she handles such situations. This song reflects her mindset and serves as a testament to her resilience in the face of such adversity.

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass, book cover

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina

One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn't even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she's done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn't Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn't kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back.

At first, Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she's never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy's life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away?

7. The Story of Us (Taylor's Version)

This song was inspired by an awkward encounter between Taylor Swift and her ex-boyfriend John Mayer at the 2010 CMT Music Awards, where they tried to ignore each other's presence. The song concept came to her after the event when she confided in her mother, expressing how she felt like she was "standing alone in a crowded room" throughout the evening. The song captures the experience of unexpectedly running into a past flame at an awards show, sitting just a few seats away. Swift reflects on the strong emotions she wanted to convey to him, wondering if he felt the same, but both remained guarded with unspoken barriers.

The Story of Us, book cover

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti

Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:

Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.

While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her...

8. Never Grow Up (Taylor's Version)

Swift's inspiration for this song came from holding her friend's baby and contemplating the innocence and purity of a young child unaware of the world's challenges and complexities. The track reflects her mixed feelings about the process of growing up and the uncertainties that come with it. She acknowledges that growing up is a natural progression but often happens without one's realization. Swift recognizes that as she looks into the crowd during her performances, she sees many girls her age facing similar experiences and struggles. Occasionally, she notices younger girls and wishes she could impart wisdom to them. The song serves as a message of guidance and support for young girls as they navigate their journeys of self-discovery and growth.

Concrete Rose, book cover

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

9. Enchanted (Taylor's Version)

The ninth track captures Taylor Swift's fascination and attraction toward Adam Young of Owl City. The song reflects their correspondence via email over a considerable period of time. When they finally met in person in New York City, Swift was overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and enchantment. However, she also felt uncertain about their future, concerned that he might be in love with someone else and worried that their encounter might be fleeting.

Swift began writing the song in her hotel room after their meeting, intending to convey the profound impact it had on her. The inclusion of the word "wonderstruck" in the lyrics was deliberate, as it was a word Young had used in one of their emails. Swift wanted to ensure he would understand the depth of her emotions through the song.

Lyrically and melodically, the song embodies the fairytale theme that runs through Swift's earlier albums. The song's storytelling style, the use of romantic and magical language, and the whimsical melody all contribute to its fairytale-like atmosphere.

Revelle, book cover

Revelle by Lyssa Mia Smith

On the island of Charmant, magic flows like bootlegged champagne, and fantasies can be bought for the price of a gemstone.

Luxe Revelle, star of her family’s fantastical show, knows the splendor is just an illusion. With Prohibition threatening their livelihood, her family struggles to make a living, watering down champagne and patching holes in their sequined costumes. So when the son of Charmant’s wealthiest family makes her an offer—everything the Revelles need to stay in business, in exchange for posing as his girl and helping him become mayor—she can’t refuse.

The moment Jamison Port sets foot in Charmant, he can’t shake the feeling of familiarity. An orphan with as few memories as gemstones, he’s desperate to learn what happened to his parents. But as he delves into the island’s secrets, he risks angering the wrong person and discovering a truth that just might break his heart.

When Luxe and Jamison accidentally meet, the sparks that fly are more than her magical enchantments. But keeping secrets from powerful people is a dangerous game . . . one that could destroy them both.

10. Better Than Revenge (Taylor's Version)

This song is rumored to be about actress Camilla Belle, who infamously stole Joe Jonas' heart while he was dating Taylor. Swift has said about the song, "I was 18 when I wrote [it]. That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realize no one can take someone from you if they don’t want to leave."

Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold, book cover

Revenge, Ice Cream, and Other Things Best Served Cold by Katie Finn

After the humiliating events on the 4th of July, Gemma's trying to grapple with the fact that Hallie knew her true identity all summer and that she was the one who stole Teddy from her.

Gemma vows revenge, but things immediately get more complicated than she planned. Her dad forces her to get a job, and the only one she can find involves scooping ice cream all day. Ford, Gemma's longtime crush, has arrived in the Hamptons and is cuter than ever. Josh is refusing to speak to her after finding out she lied to him. And to top it all off, Teddy is back in the picture and closer to home than Gemma would like.

Gemma and Hallie find themselves locked in an escalating revenge cycle involving everything from strawberry syrup to stolen identities. But just when Gemma thinks she has the upper hand, the biggest bombshell of all is dropped. And it's one that threatens to change her life forever.

11. Innocent (Taylor's Version)

This song was written in response to Kanye West's infamous interruption of her acceptance speech at the 2009 Video Music Awards. The incident occurred when Swift won an award for her music video "You Belong With Me." In the song, Swift chooses to forgive Kanye and emphasizes that his actions do not define him entirely. The song conveys the theme of learning from mistakes and growing as a person, which, unfortunately, Kanye did not demonstrate.

You Wouldn't Dare, book cover

You Wouldn't Dare by Samantha Markum

When Juniper Nash Abreheart kissed Graham Isham for the first time, she had no idea it would nearly be the end of their friendship.

More specifically, she had no idea that the terrible, unforgivable thing she did to keep their summer fling a secret wouldn’t just ruin their friendship but also Graham’s entire life. Now, months after the fallout, Junie and Graham spend most of their time sidestepping conversational landmines on the journey back to normalcy.

Junie is sure the strangeness between her and Graham is her biggest problem - until her mom hires Tallulah, her boyfriend’s surly teenage daughter, to work at their family café and then announces they’ll all be moving in together at the end of the summer. The only bright spot ahead is Junie’s dad’s upcoming visit, just in time for her community theater production. And then poor turnout soon threatens that.

But when Junie starts to realize the feelings she swore to take care of last summer have lingered, saving her production and managing her hostile relationship with Tallulah might be the least of her problems. Graham isn’t just off limits - their friendship has been mended to barely withstand a breeze, and the gale force of Junie’s feelings could be just what breaks them.

12. Haunted (Taylor's Version)

In this song, Taylor Swift reflects on a past relationship that haunts her thoughts. The memories of this relationship persistently linger in her mind, and the person she was involved with will forever impact her. The song delves into the realization that the person she loves is slowly drifting away, and she finds herself at a loss on how to respond. The phase of love, when it begins to fade, is characterized by a sense of time moving slowly, with each interaction and message carrying immense weight. Swift describes the heartbreaking and tragic nature of this experience as she attempts to convince herself that the love is not slipping away. The song was born out of her personal experience, as she was awakened in the middle of the night, compelled to write about this emotional journey.

The Sound of Drowning, book cover

The Sound of Drowning by Katherine Fleet

Meredith Hall has a secret. Every night she takes the ferry to meet Ben, her best friend and first love. Though their relationship must remain a secret, they’ve been given a second chance, and Mer's determined to make it work. She lost Ben once before and discovered the awful reality: she doesn't know how to be happy without him…

Until Wyatt washes ashore―a brash new guy with a Texas twang and a personality bigger than his home state. He makes her feel reckless, excited, and alive in ways that cut through her perpetual gloom. The deeper they delve into each other’s pasts, the more Wyatt’s charms become impossible to ignore.

But a storm is brewing in the Outer Banks. When it hits, Mer finds her heart tearing in half and her carefully constructed reality slipping back into the surf. As she discovers that even the most deeply buried secrets have a way of surfacing, she’ll have to learn that nothing is forever―especially second chances.

13. Last Kiss (Taylor's Version)

The thirteenth track is an emotional ballad that serves as a letter expressing desperate and hopeless feelings following a breakup. The song captures various emotions, such as anger, confusion, frustration, and profound sadness. It explores the pain of losing a person, memories, and dashed hopes for the future. The lyrics reveal moments of realization and longing for what has been lost. Written in response to her breakup with Joe Jonas, the song contrasts with another track, "Forever & Always," which expresses anger and confusion. Overall, the song reflects on their past relationship, emphasizing the melancholic and nostalgic sadness that lingers after the storm of a breakup.

The Meaning of Birds, book cover

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown

Before, Jessica has always struggled with anger issues, but come sophomore year, that all changes when Vivi crashes into her life. As their relationship blossoms, Vivi not only helps Jess deal with her pain, she also encourages her to embrace her talent as an artist. And for the first time, it feels like the future is filled with possibilities. After In the midst of senior year, Jess’s perfect world is erased when Vivi suddenly passes away. Reeling from the devastating loss, Jess pushes everyone away, and throws out her plans to go to art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever.

Desperate for an escape, Jess gets consumed in her work-study program, letting all of her dreams die. Until she makes an unexpected new friend who shows her a new way to channel her anger, passion, and creativity. Although Jess may never draw again, if she can find a way to heal and room in her heart, she just might be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi.

14. Long Live (Taylor's Version)

This track serves as a reflection on Taylor's career and pays tribute to her band and fanbase. The song highlights the importance of the people who have supported her throughout her journey. It expresses gratitude towards her band, producer, and fans, emphasizing the collective effort in building her career. It captures the exhilaration and triumphant moments experienced when Taylor and her team celebrated their successes together and Swift "...had the time of my life, fighting dragons with you."

Fireborne, book cover

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone--even the lowborn--a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn't be more different. Annie's lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee's aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he's come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

15. Ours (Taylor's Version)

This song holds a special significance for her as it tells the story of a relationship with a guy others disapproved of. Despite the criticism, Taylor wrote the song to declare her love and acceptance for him, disregarding societal opinions. Its purpose was to convey, "I don't care what anyone says; I love you for who you are."

If You Only Knew, book cover

If You Only Knew by Prerna Pickett

Corey has just been released from jail, and all he wants is a new beginning. But when his former gang comes knocking, Corey agrees to vandalize the home of Kent Hopper, the prosecutor who put him away.

To erase the guilt she carries from getting away with a crime, Tessa spends most of her nights riding her motorcycle. When she catches Corey destroying her father’s car, she doesn’t see a criminal: She sees a way to finally right her own wrongs. So instead of turning Corey over to the police, she convinces her father to give Corey a second chance.

As Tessa and Corey spend more time with each other, it becomes difficult to ignore the pull between them. But they’re both keeping secrets, and when those secrets come to light, they’ll each have to face their demons in order to have a future together.

16. Superman (Taylor's Version)

This song's lyrics depict Taylor's admiration for a guy who has left her, expressing a longing for his eventual return when the timing is appropriate. The song's title was derived from a spontaneous comment Taylor made during a conversation. After the guy left the room, she described the experience to a friend as akin to watching Superman flying away.

Superman: Dawnbreaker, book cover

Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña

When the dawn breaks, a hero rises.

His power is beyond imagining.

Clark Kent has always been faster, stronger--better--than everyone around him. But he wasn't raised to show off, and drawing attention to himself could be dangerous. Plus, it's not like he's earned his powers . . . yet.

But power comes with a price.

Lately it's difficult to hold back and keep his heroics in the shadows. When Clark follows the sound of a girl crying, he comes across Gloria Alvarez and discovers a dark secret lurking in Smallville. Turns out, Clark's not the only one hiding something. Teaming up with his best friend, Lana Lang, he throws himself into the pursuit of the truth. What evil lies below the surface of his small town? And what will it cost Clark to learn about his past as he steps into the light to become the future Man of Steel? Because before he can save the world, he must save Smallville.

17. Electric Touch (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] [feat. Fall Out Boy]

The first vault track is a song where Taylor Swift and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy express their desire for hope, vulnerability, and the excitement of new love. They also discuss the risks and rewards of opening themselves to new romantic possibilities.

Places We've Never Been, book cover

Places We've Never Been by Kasie West

Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they'd talk all the time, but lately, their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.

But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems...like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.

A summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?

18. When Emma Falls In Love (Taylor's Version) [From The Vault]

This vault track follows the journey of a young woman named Emma as she navigates love and relationships. The lyrics depict Emma's experiences and growth, showcasing her resilience, self-assuredness, and love's transformative power.

I Think I Love You, book cover

I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

Emma is a die-hard romantic. She loves a meet-cute Netflix movie, her pet, Lady Catulet, and dreaming up the Gay Rom Com of her heart for the film festival competition she and her friends are entering. If only they’d listen to her ideas. . .

Sophia is pragmatic. She’s big into boycotts, namely 1) relationships, 2) teen boys and their BO (reason #2347683 she’s a lesbian), and 3) Emma’s nauseating ideas. Forget starry-eyed romance, Sophia knows what will win: an artistic film with a message.

Cue the drama. The movie is doomed before they even start shooting . . . until a real-life plot twist unfolds behind the camera when Emma and Sophia start seeing each other through a different lens. Suddenly their rivalry is starting to feel like an actual rom-com.

19. I Can See You (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]

This secretive song explores hidden desires and clandestine encounters. It portrays the irresistible allure of a love interest just out of reach, sparking an unignorable yearning. The lyrics vividly depict stolen glances, charged moments, and simmering emotions. Taylor reveals her longing for her love interest while restrained by the fear of exposing her true feelings and the intense desire and magnetic pull between them. The song ventures into a secret rendezvous, where Taylor and her love interest exchange whispered desires and vow to keep their connection hidden.

Shattered Midnight, book cover

Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Zora Broussard has arrived in New Orleans with not much more than a bag of clothes, a beautiful voice, and a pair of enchanted red shoes. Running from a tragic accident caused by her magic, Zora wants nothing more than to blend in, as well as to avoid her overbearing aunt and mean-spirited cousins. Music becomes Zora’s only means of escape, yet she wonders if she should give it all up to remove the powers that make her a target, especially as a Black woman in the South.

But when Zora gets the chance to perform in a prominent jazz club, she meets a sweet white pianist named Phillip with magic of his own, including a strange mirror that foretells their future together. Falling into a forbidden love, Zora and Phillip must keep their relationship a secret. And soon the two discover the complicated connection between their respective families, a connection that could lead to catastrophe for them both. In the era of segregation and speakeasies, Zora must change her destiny and fight for the one she loves . . . or risk losing everything.

20. Castles Crumbling (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault] [feat. Hayley Williams]

This vault track, written in 2009, foreshadowed future events for Taylor Swift and Hayley Williams. Both singers experienced personal and professional challenges that caused their lives to fall apart, leading them to retreat momentarily. Swift faced scrutiny and hid from the public until her Reputation album addressed the circumstances. Williams also struggled with her public image, dealing with legal issues and the end of her marriage. The song delves into their battles with depression and inability to meet expectations.

Descendant of the Crane, book cover

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death... because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

21. Foolish One (Taylor’s Version) [From The Vault]

This introspective track explores the complexities of unrequited love and the inner battles that accompany it. It delves into the cycle of hope and disappointment, self-doubt, and the realization of missed signs. The track concludes with a bittersweet resolution, highlighting the universal experiences of vulnerability and heartbreak and the growth that comes from them.

Once Upon a Broken Heart, book cover

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings... until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy...

22. Timeless (Taylor's Version) [From The Vault]

The final song's narrator discovers old photographs in an antique shop, evoking nostalgia and a belief in a deep connection with their love interest across time. The song explores scenarios where their love would still find each other in different eras, defying time and circumstances. It emphasizes the resilience of love beyond physical aging and the enduring nature of their love.

Passenger, book cover

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.