YA Friday: The Tortured Poets Department

The Tortured Poets Department is Taylor Swift's eleventh studio album, succeeding her highly successful 2022 release, Midnights. The album was announced during the 2024 GRAMMYs on February 4, 2024, where Swift revealed the news during her acceptance speech for winning her 13th Grammy award.

Taylor has said that it "... is an album that, I think, more than any of my albums that I’ve ever made, I needed to make it. It was really a lifeline for me, just the things I was going through, the things I was writing about, it kind of reminded me of why songwriting is something that actually gets me through my life. I’ve never had an album where I needed to write more and I needed on The Tortured Poets Department."

Within two hours of the album's release, Swift surprised fans with a reissue titled "The Anthology," which added 15 tracks, including four bonus physical tracks, to the original 16-song tracklist.

1. Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)

The opening track and first single refers to the archaic and British term for "fourteen nights" and is likely about a two week long encounter with a British lover. There is debate if the song alludes to Swift's ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, whom she dated until April 2023 or if it is referring to Swift's brief relationship with The 1975 frontman, Matty Healy. Notably, both rumored muses on this album, are British.

Somebody That I Used to Know, book cover

Somebody That I Used to Know by Dana L. Davis

Dylan Woods hasn’t seen her best friend, Langston, in years. After he moved to Los Angeles, he ghosted her. Then he became Legendary, the biggest teen R & B artist on the planet.

For the most part, Dylan has moved on, with her sights set on Juilliard. But when her parents announce that Langston is coming for a short stay with them, the entire family is thrilled. Except for Dylan. The idea of sharing a house with music’s biggest bad boy makes her stomach churn.

But maybe Langston hasn’t changed as much as Dylan thought—he’s kept the bucket list they made together years ago. As they start checking off items on the list, Dylan starts to remember old times, her previous self, and their shared love of music.

And there’s something else. As Dylan considers giving Langston another chance, she starts to realize that maybe her feelings for him go beyond friendship.

Maybe, just maybe, she’s falling for her ex–best friend.


2. The Tortured Poets Department

In the title track, Taylor Swift describes a romance between herself and the song's muse, believed to be Matty Healy. The term "department" is thoughtfully chosen to imply both sections within an organization and the act of departing, hinting at separation from the muse. The song suggests Taylor's disillusionment with the relationship and ultimately reflects that the relationship was misguided and that she emerged from it in a better state than her partner.

We Contain Multitudes, book cover

We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship...and each other.


3. My Boy Only Breaks His Favorite Toys

The third track is a poignant anthem that delves into the complexities of love and loss through the metaphor of broken toys. Swift explores the emotional turmoil of a turbulent relationship, suggesting that her partner's tendency to destroy toys symbolizes the destruction within their relationship. Swift describes the song as a metaphor for being cherished by someone until they break you, leaving you clinging to hope for a toxic and broken relationship.

Not Dead Enough, book cover

Not Dead Enough by Tyffany D. Neiheiser

Charlotte survived the car crash that killed her boyfriend Jerry, but that night, everything changed. Charlotte wants desperately to get back to “normal,” --whatever that means now-- and start reconnecting with friends she hasn’t spoken to in months. And she’s trying to work through her PTSD with the help of her therapist, only she can’t tell the truth about Jerry or what really happened the night he died.

Just when Charlotte thinks she might be moving on, someone starts sending her threatening messages claiming to be Jerry, saying things only he would know. But it can't really be Jerry because there's no such thing as ghosts. The cold spots in her room must be a draft and the noises she hears must be the house creaking. There has to be a logical explanation for all of it. Because if ghosts are real, then Jerry came back for her—just like he always said he would.


4. Down Bad

The fourth track paints a vivid metaphor likening love to an alien abduction, where the protagonist experiences the wonders of the galaxy only to be returned to her hometown, yearning for the exhilarating feeling once again. Swift explains the concept of "love bombing" and how it inspired the song's narrative.

The Sound of Stars, book cover

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. With humans deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, emotional expression can be grounds for execution. Music, art and books are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for the love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while creating a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.


5. So Long, London

The fifth track on Swift's albums is traditionally a personal and vulnerable track and this one is no different as it is about her British ex-boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, whom she dated from 2016 to 2023. It's the second time Swift has referenced London in a track title, with the first being "London Boy" from her 2019 album "Lover," also about Alwyn, but this time is about letting go of the emotions surrounding that relationship.

Again, but Better, book cover

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change—there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.


6. But Daddy I Love Him

The sixth track is to reference the 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid, where Ariel sacrifices her voice to be with her love. In Swift's song, the title symbolizes her rebellion against the relentless scrutiny of her personal life, likening public criticism of her relationships to the controlling attitudes of parental figures.

Part of your World, book cover

Part of your World by Liz Braswell

What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?

It's been five years since the infamous sea witch defeated the little mermaid... and took King Triton's life in the process. Ariel is now the voiceless queen of Atlantica, while Ursula runs Prince Eric's kingdom on land. But when Ariel discovers that her father might still be alive, she finds herself returning to a world--and a prince--she never imagined she would see again.


7. Fresh Out the Slammer

The seventh song portrays Taylor Swift's relationship as a metaphorical prison from which she's finally liberated. The lyrics describe the confinement and struggle endured within the relationship, symbolized by "gray and blue," fights, and being handcuffed to the spell of her partner. Despite the hardships, Swift expresses resilience, indicating that she's done her time and is moving forward. The chorus reinforces the idea of escape, with Swift running back home to someone new after leaving the confinement of her old relationship. This interpretation is supported by connections to previous songs, like "Bejeweled" from her 10th album, Midnights, where Swift hints at feeling restricted by her partner.

The Gilded Cage, book cover

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

In the sequel to The Prison Healer, Kiva trades one cage for another when she leaves behind a deadly prison for a deceptive palace.

Kiva Meridan is a survivor.

She survived not only Zalindov prison, but also the deadly Trial by Ordeal. Now Kiva’s purpose goes beyond survival to vengeance. For the past ten years, her only goal was to reunite with her family and destroy the people responsible for ruining their lives. But now that she has escaped Zalindov, her mission has become more complicated than ever.

As Kiva settles into her new life in the capital, she discovers she wasn’t the only one who suffered while she was in Zalindov—her siblings and their beliefs have changed too. Soon it’s not just her enemies she’s keeping secrets from, but her own family as well.

Outside the city walls, tensions are brewing from the rebels, along with whispers of a growing threat from the northern kingdoms. Kiva’s allegiances are more important than ever, but she’s beginning to question where they truly lie. To survive this time, she’ll have to navigate a complicated web of lies before both sides of the battle turn against her and she loses everything.


8. Florida!!! (feat. Florence and the Machine)

The Tampa, Florida shows marked Taylor Swift's first stop on The Eras Tour following her highly publicized breakup with Joe Alwyn. In the eighth song, Florida serves as a metaphorical escape from Swift's personal issues. Swift describes Florida as a stereotypical location where people flee to start anew, paralleling this with her desire to move on and escape the aftermath of a breakup. She explains that after a breakup, she feels the urge to start fresh, be anonymous, and escape, making Florida a particularly symbolic setting for the song.

The Immeasurable Depth of You, book cover

The Immeasurable Depth of You by Maria Ingrande Mora

How do you face your fears when everything is terrifying?

Fifteen-year-old Brynn can’t stop thinking about death. Her intrusive thoughts and severe anxiety leave her feeling helpless—and hopeless. So after her mom interprets one of Brynn’s blog posts as a suicide note, she takes extreme measures, confiscating Brynn’s phone, blocking her Internet access, and banishing her to stay with her father who lives “off the grid” on a houseboat in the Florida mangroves. Isolated from her online friends—her only friends—Brynn resigns herself to a summer of mind-numbing boredom and loneliness… until Skylar appears.

Skylar is everything Brynn isn’t—sultry, athletic, and confident. Yet Brynn feels at home around this fearless girl who pushes her to try new things and makes her belly flutter with nerves that have nothing to do with anxiety. When Brynn discovers that Skylar is trapped in the bayou and can’t tell her why, she resolves to free her new crush from the dark waters, even if it means confronting all of her worst fears.

9. Guilty as Sin?

The ninth track is speculated to be about Matty Healy, possibly due to negative media portrayal and rumors surrounding his alleged relationship with Taylor Swift. The song references The Blue Nile, a band Healy admires. Interestingly, the outro of "Carolina," a song Swift wrote for the 2022 film "Where the Crawdads Sing," includes the lyric "guilty as sin." suggesting a connection between the two songs.

A Better Bad Idea, book cover

A Better Bad Idea by Laurie Devore

Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer.

Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind.

A reckoning is coming . . . and not everyone is getting out alive.


10. Who’s Afraid of Little Old Me?

In the tenth track, Taylor Swift confronts and satirizes the rumors surrounding her personal and professional life. The song emphasizes how the media often diminishes her, as seen in her repeated use of "little old me" to describe herself. This track shares similar themes with previous songs in Swift's discography, showing continuity in the challenges she faces from the media, drawing parallels between her past and present experiences. During the time it was written, various rumors circulated about Swift's alleged involvement with The 1975 lead singer Matt Healy, a feud with Olivia Rodrigo, and disputes with Ticketmaster.

Because You Love to Hate Me, book cover

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy edited by Amerie

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains' points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like "Medusa," Sherlock Holmes, and "Jack and the Beanstalk" provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains' acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage--and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from Renée Ahdieh, Amerie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, Nicola Yoon, and 13 BookTubers.


11. I Can Fix Him (No Really I Can)

In the eleventh song, Taylor Swift explores the notion of trying to 'fix' her partner, whom she considers a 'dangerous man.' Fans speculate that the song may be inspired by Swift's rumored relationship with Matty Healy, the British lead singer of The 1975, known for his controversial past. Despite believing she could change him, Swift ultimately comes to the realization that she can't, as reflected in the closing lines of the track.

Bad at Love, book cover

Bad at Love by Gabriela Martins

Ever since Daniel moved to L.A. from Brazil to join the band Mischief & Mayhem, he’s become the tabloids’ bad boy. Paparazzi follow him and girls swoon over him . . . except for Sasha, who hates bad boys. When a chance encounter brings them together, Sasha sees an opportunity to get close to Daniel and write a story that will make a name for herself at the celebrity gossip magazine where she interns. But Daniel is surprisingly sweet and extremely cute—could she be falling for him?

The truth is: Daniel is hiding something. When Sasha discovers his secret, will she follow her heart or deliver the hottest story of the summer?


12. loml

The twelfth track explores past relationships, employing cybertext slang to convey the abbreviation "love of my life." However, the song subverts this notion into one of "loss." The song's instrumental, featuring melancholic piano notes, mirrors the stagnant nature of Swift's relationship, with the music only ceasing at the poignant line, "You’re the loss of my life," symbolizing the end of their relationship and the cessation of pain.

Always Isn't Forever, book cover

Always Isn't Forever by J.C. Cervantes

Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.

Hart can't let go of Ruby either.... Due to some divine intervention, he's offered a second chance. Only it won't be as simple as bringing him back to life--instead, Hart's soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.

When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he'd imagined. For one, he's forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.

Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can't deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn't understand the sudden pull, it can't be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson--but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?


13. I Can Do It With a Broken Heart

The thirteenth track delves into Taylor Swift's post-breakup experience while touring, where she describes "faking it until she made it" in the chorus.

Love & Luck, book cover

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch

ddie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once-inseparable siblings.

But when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s finally able to escape her anxious mind—and Ian’s criticism.

And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.

That is, if they don’t get completely lost along the way.


14. The Smallest Man Who Ever Lived

In the fourteenth track, Taylor Swift expresses her disappointment towards a previous ex. Throughout the track, Swift conveys disbelief and disgust at her ex's actions and words, taking aim at her ex's manhood and integrity, a departure from her usual lyrical approach.

What's Coming to Me, book cover

What's Coming to Me by Francesca Padilla

In the seaside town of Nautilus, Minerva Gutiérrez absolutely hates her job at the local ice cream stand, where her sexist boss makes each day worse than the last. But she needs the money: kicked out of school and stranded by her mom's most recent hospitalization, she dreams of escaping her dead-end hometown. When an armed robbery at the ice cream stand stirs up rumors about money hidden on the property, Min teams up with her neighbor CeCe, also desperate for cash, to find it. The bonus? Getting revenge on her boss in the process.

If Minerva can do things right for once—without dirty cops, suspicious co-workers, and an ill-timed work crush getting in her way—she might have a way out . . . as long as the painful truths she’s been running from don’t catch up to her first.


15. The Alchemy

The fifteenth track calls back to her previous songs where Taylor Swift often equated love to the color gold, drawing from the concept of alchemy, where elements are transformed into gold through mixing certain chemicals or depicted as magical in works like "The Alchemist" by Paul Coelho. Now dating NFL star, Travis Kelce, Swift incorporates football references into her lyrics. Ultimately, she emerges from a long period of darkness and finds a partner with whom she experiences undeniable alchemy, symbolizing that where they are together, there's love akin to gold.

Stay Gold, book cover

Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?


16. Clara Bow

The final track on the studio album and sixteenth track on the anthology pays tribute to the silent film star Clara Bow, known for her struggles with mental health amid the stress of fame and her turbulent love life. Swift's title choice likely reflects themes of fame and its effects, possibly serving as commentary on her own relationship with celebrity and the manipulation of her career and image.

The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin, book cover

The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson

After her eighteenth birthday, Hilde, a former orphan in 1930s Berlin, goes out into the world to discover her place in it. But finding a job is hard, at least until she stumbles into Café Lila, a vibrant cabaret full of expressive customers—and Rosa, the club’s waitress and performer. As the café and all who work there embrace Hilde, and she embraces them in turn, she discovers her voice and her own blossoming feelings for Rosa.

But Berlin is in turmoil. Between the elections, protests in the streets, and the beginning seeds of unrest in Café Lila itself, Hilde will have to decide what’s best for her future . . . and what it means to love a place on the cusp of war.


17. The Black Dog

The seventeenth song is a bonus track referencing the name of a real London bar and an expression for depression, adding depth to the emotional theme of loss.

Some Other Now, book cover

Some Other Now by Sarah Everett

Before she kissed one of the Cohen boys, seventeen-year-old Jessi Rumfield knew what it was like to have a family—even if, technically, that family didn’t belong to her. She’d spent her childhood in the house next door, challenging Rowan Cohen to tennis matches while his older brother, Luke, studied in the background and Mel watched over the three like the mother Jessi always wished she had.

But then everything changed. It’s been almost a year since Jessi last visited the Cohen house. Rowan is gone. Mel is in remission and Luke hates Jessi for the role she played in breaking his family apart. Now Jessi spends her days at a dead-end summer job avoiding her real mother, who suddenly wants to play a role in Jessi's life after being absent for so long. But when Luke comes home from college, it's hard to ignore the past. And when he asks Jessi to pretend to be his girlfriend for the final months of Mel’s life, Jessi finds herself drawn back into the world of the Cohens. Everything’s changed, but Jessi can’t help wanting to be a Cohen, even if it means playing pretend for one final summer.


18. imgonnagetyouback

In the eighteenth track Swift explores the conflicted feelings of wanting an ex-lover back or seeking revenge for past hurts. The title stylization nods to The 1975's song "fallingforyou," which was allegedly sung to her by her ex-boyfriend, Matty Healy at concert in 2014.

The Last Boyfriends Rules for Revenge, book cover

The Last Boyfriends Rules for Revenge by Matthew Hubbard

Ezra Hayes has always felt like a background character compared to BFFs Lucas and Finley. He would do anything to be seen as a romantic lead, even if it means keeping a secret summer boyfriend, Presley. But when he discovers that Presley is a lying cheater, and his best friends are having boy problems of their own, they want revenge.

Their plans to get even involve sabotaging the largest party of the year, entering a drag competition, and even having Ezra run against his ex for Winter Formal King. Then the school district starts to actively censor queer voices with their Watch What You Say initiative. Taking to TikTok to vent frustrations, Ezra begins “The Last Boyfriends Student Rebellion.”

Between ex-boyfriend drama and navigating viral TikTok fame, Ezra realizes this rebellion is about something more important than revenge. It’s a battle cry to fight back against outdated opinions and redefine what it means to be queer in small town Alabama.


19. The Albatross

The nineteenth song is a bonus track announced during her performance in Sydney, Australia, for The Eras Tour. The title refers to the metaphorical burden or anxiety often associated with the albatross bird, which spends its first six years at sea without touching land. Fans speculate that the song symbolizes Swift's six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn. Additionally, Swift's outfit at the 2024 Grammys, a white dress with long black gloves, is seen as a possible reference to the song's imagery of albatrosses being white birds with black wings.

Ultraviolet, book cover

Ultraviolet by Aida Salazar

For Elio Solis, eighth grade fizzes with change--his body teeming with hormones. His feelings that flow like lava. His relationship with Pops, who's always telling him to man up, the Solis way. And especially Camelia, his first girlfriend. But when betrayal and heartbreak send Elio spiraling toward revenge, he doesn't anticipate that a fight to prove his manhood and defend Camelia's honor will lead to dire consequences--or that Camelia's not looking for a savior.

Crackling with comedy and unflinching candor, Ultraviolet digs deep into themes of consent, puberty, masculinity, and the emotional lives of boys, as it challenges stereotypes and offers another way to be in the world.

20. Chloe or Sam or Sophia or Marcus

The twentieth track narrates a tumultuous relationship marked by betrayal and self-reflection. Swift observes her partner's betrayal and attempts to salvage the relationship, only to feel abandoned when their focus shifts to drugs over love. Amidst the heartache, Swift longs for honesty and closure while questioning whether she will ever be able to move on from the pain.

Love Somebody, book cover

Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek

Sam Dickson is a charismatic actress, ambitious and popular with big plans for her future. Ros Shew is one of the smartest people in school--but she's a loner, and prefers to keep it that way. Then there's Christian Powell, the darling of the high school soccer team. He's not the best with communication, which is why he and Sam broke up after dating for six months; but he makes up for it by being genuine, effusive, and kind, which is why they're still best friends.

When Christian falls for Ros on first sight, their first interaction is a disaster, so he enlists Sam's help to get through to her. Sam, with motives of her own, agrees to coach Christian from the sidelines on how to soften Ros's notorious walls. But as Ros starts to suspect Christian is acting differently, and Sam starts to realize the complexity of her own feelings, their fragile relationships threaten to fall apart.


21. How Did It End?

Song twenty-one delivers a poignant message about the aftermath of a breakup: while individuals may be struggling with heartbreak, others are primarily interested in the details of the breakup itself. Taylor Swift's lyrics highlight the tendency for people to focus on the events leading to the end of a relationship rather than the emotional toll it takes on those involved. Despite Swift's fame, the song serves as a heart-wrenching reminder that even during vulnerable moments, individuals can still be exploited for public curiosity and clicks.

Artifacts of An Ex, book cover

Artifacts of An Ex by Jennifer Chen

When Chloe Chang gets dumped via USPS after moving across the county from NYC to LA, her first instinct is to throw her box of memories in the garbage. Instead, she starts buying other teenagers’ break-up boxes to create an art exhibit, Heartifacts. Opening night is going great, until she spots Daniel Kwak illicitly filming his best friend’s reaction to his ex’s box. When she tries to stop him, an intense discussion ends up launching a creative partnership and friendship… and a major crush for Chloe.

There’s just one problem: Daniel is dead set on not being another rebound.

Five times he’s been the guy who makes the girls he’s dating realize they want to get back with their ex. And he refuses for there to be a sixth. She insists she’s over her ex, but when he shows up unexpectedly with his new girlfriend, it turns out Daniel was right. She isn’t ready for a new relationship.

She throws herself into making Heartifacts successful, but flashy influencers threaten her original vision of the exhibit. To create the exhibit she’s always wanted, Chloe needs to go back to basics, learn to work with artists in a more collaborative way, and discover what love can be. Only then will she convince Daniel she’s truly ready for everything they could be to one another.


22. So High School

The twenty-second song is rumored to be about Taylor Swift's most recent relationship with Travis Kelce, a player for the Kansas City Chiefs. The track includes lyrics that could be related to Kelce, such as references to a game of "Kiss, Marry, Kill" and Kelce's actions, like making Swift a friendship bracelet and attending one of her concerts. Additionally, the mention of knowing how to ball could allude to Kelce's career in American football.

Home Field Advantage, book cover

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

Amber McCloud’s dream is to become cheer captain at the end of the year, but it’s an extra-tall order to be joyful and spirited when the quarterback of your team has been killed in a car accident. For both the team and the squad, watching Robbie get replaced by newcomer Jack Walsh is brutal. And when it turns out Jack is actually short for Jaclyn, all hell breaks loose.

The players refuse to be led by a girl, the cheerleaders are mad about the changes to their traditions, and the fact that Robbie’s been not only replaced but outshined by a QB who wears a sports bra has more than a few Atherton Alligators in a rage. Amber tries for some semblance of unity, but it quickly becomes clear that she's only got a future on the squad and with her friends if she helps them take Jack down.

Just one problem: Amber and Jack are falling for each other, and if Amber can't stand up for Jack and figure out how to get everyone to fall in line, her dream may come at the cost of her heart.


23. I Hate It Here

The twenty-third song delves into the complexities of yearning for something more, whether it's a different time, place, or state of mind, reflecting the human experience of seeking refuge and understanding within oneself amidst external dissatisfaction. It could be seen as a follow-up to Taylor Swift's "the lakes" from her 2020 album "folklore," as both songs explore themes of longing for escape and introspection. While "the lakes" focuses on seeking solace in natural landscapes, this song emphasizes finding refuge in one's own imagination and inner world.

The Meadows, book cover

The Meadows by Stephanie Oakes

Everyone hopes for a letter—to attend the Estuary, the Glades, the Meadows. These are the special places where only the best and brightest go to burn even brighter.

When Eleanor is accepted at the Meadows, it means escape from her hardscrabble life by the sea, in a country ravaged by climate disaster. But despite its luminous facilities, endless fields, and pretty things, the Meadows keeps dark secrets: its purpose is to reform students, to condition them against their attractions, to show them that one way of life is the only way to survive. And maybe Eleanor would believe them, except then she meets Rose.

Four years later, Eleanor and her friends seem free of the Meadows, changed but not as they’d hoped. Eleanor is an adjudicator, her job to ensure her former classmates don’t stray from the lives they’ve been trained to live. But Eleanor can’t escape her past . . . or thoughts of the girl she once loved. As secrets unfurl, Eleanor must wage a dangerous battle for her own identity and the truth of what happened to the girl she lost, knowing, if she’s not careful, Rose’s fate could be her own.


24. thanK you aIMee

The twenty-fourth track is rumored to take a jab at Kim Kardashian, using a stylized title that spells out KIM with capitalized letters. This track is part of the ongoing saga between Swift and Kanye West, referencing their conflicts, including the infamous leaked phone call involving Kim and referenced in other tracks like "Look What You Made Me Do," reflecting Swift's perspective on their interactions.

Cancelled, book cover

Cancelled by Farrah Penn

Not to brag, but Brynn Whittaker is basically killing her senior year. She's got the looks, the grades, and a thriving "flirt coach" business that will help pay for her ultimate dream Stanford University.

But when a highly incriminating video goes viral after the first rager of the year, Brynn finds herself at the center of a school-wide scandal of catastrophic proportions. She knows she's not the girl in the video hooking up with her former best friend's boyfriend (While wearing a banana costume, no less. Hey, points for style), but adding that to her reputation of being a serial dater, she quickly starts losing friends and customers. On top of that, the scorn she receives exposes the culture of misogyny that is rampant at her school . . . and Brynn and her three best friends are determined to take down all the haters.

But as she gets closer to identifying the person in the video that got her cancelled, Brynn must decide—is exposing the girl worth losing everything she's worked so hard for?


25. I Look in People's Window

The twenty-fifth song delves into the aftermath of a lost connection, reflecting on fleeting moments and yearning for what could have been. She finds herself drawn to the hope of encountering the person again despite the distance, lamenting the bittersweetness of observing others' lives and longing for a chance encounter. The song captures the ache of longing for lost connections and the quiet desperation of seeking closure. It resonates with themes of feeling left out, akin to her earlier song "The Outside" from her debut album.

The Only Girl in Town, book cover

The Only Girl in Town by Ally Condie

What would you do if everyone you love disappeared? What if it was your fault?

For July Fielding, nothing has been the same since that summer before senior year.

Once, she had Alex, her loyal best friend, the one who always had her back. She had Sydney, who pushed her during every cross-country run, and who sometimes seemed to know July better than she knew herself. And she had Sam. Sam, who told her she was everything and left her breathless with his touch.

Now, July is alone. Every single person in her small town of Lithia has disappeared. No family. No Alex or Sydney. No Sam. July’s only chance at unraveling the mystery of their disappearance is a series of objects, each a reminder of the people she loved most. And a mysterious GET TH3M BACK.


26. The Prophecy

In the twenty-sixth song, Taylor expresses a longing for a different destiny and the resilience to keep hoping for a better outcome despite experiencing a failed relationship. She reflects on feeling like she might be destined to be alone, and portrays a sense of fear and uncertainty about her fate, questioning if she is cursed and lamenting the possibility of never finding a soulmate. Through poignant lyrics, she captures the complexity of yearning for change while grappling with feelings of resignation and doubt.

Indestructible Object, book cover

Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy

For the past two years, Lee has been laser-focused on two her job as a sound tech at a local coffee shop and her podcast Artists in Love , which she cohosts with her boyfriend Vincent.

Until he breaks up with her on the air right after graduation.

When their unexpected split, the loss of her job, and her parent’s announcement that they’re separating coincide, Lee’s plans, her art, and her life are thrown into turmoil. Searching for a new purpose, Lee recruits her old friend Max and new friend Risa to produce a podcast called Objects of Destruction , where they investigate whether love actually exists at all.

But the deeper they get into the love stories around them, the more Lee realizes that she’s the one who’s been holding love at arm’s length. And when she starts to fall for Risa, she finds she’ll have to be more honest with herself and the people in her life to create a new love story of her own.


27. Cassandra

In the twenty-seventh song Taylor delves into themes of betrayal, disbelief, and isolation through the story of Cassandra of Troy, drawing parallels to her own experiences of being ignored and silenced. Swift recounts the chaos and turmoil of being unheard despite her warnings, reflecting on the toll of being disregarded and the pain of betrayal. The song concludes with a haunting reminder of the silence that follows truth, capturing the struggle of speaking out against injustice and the loneliness of being disbelieved. Through vivid imagery and emotional depth, Swift portrays the parallels between her own experiences and those of Cassandra, who was cursed to deliver true prophecies yet never be believed.

Sparrows in the Wind, book cover

Sparrows in the Wind by Gail Carson Levine

Cassandra, a princess of Troy and follower of Apollo, is delighted when the god himself appears to her. Apollo asks to love her in exchange for giving her future sight, and she agrees--but recoils when he kisses her. Enraged, the god transforms his gift into a curse: Cassandra's visions will never be believed.

After horrifying images of coming war and death pour into her mind, and with no one to heed her warnings, Cassandra risks her safety again and again to avert the disaster awaiting Troy.

But it will take years--and the friendship of an Amazon warrior princess named Rin--for Cassandra to find hope of success in reversing the course of the war.


28. Peter

In the twenty-eighth track Taylor Swift confronts a figure from her past, expressing feelings of betrayal and longing for closure. She reminisces about their shared history and questions the sincerity of their promises. Swift reflects on the passage of time and acknowledges the distance between them, ultimately realizing the futility of holding onto the past. The song captures the ache of unfulfilled promises and the acceptance of moving on. It's suggested that the song may draw parallels to Swift's past relationship with Matty Healy and his struggles with addiction, with Swift comparing herself and the relationship to Wendy and Peter from "Peter Pan," symbolizing being swept away by magic but ultimately returning to reality.

Wendy Darling: Stars, book cover

Wendy Darling: Stars by Colleen Oakes

Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Booth, the neighborhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and—dazzled by this flying boy with god-like powers—they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, an intoxicating island of feral freedom.

As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realizes that this Lost Boys’ paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on her heart tightens, she struggles to remember where she came from—and begins to suspect that this island of dreams, and the boy who desires her, have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.


29. The Bolter

The twenty-ninth song is a bonus track that sparked speculation among fans about its inspiration. Initially thought to be about her ex-boyfriend Joe Alwyn due to a photo of them fleeing an event together, evidence suggests it may actually be inspired by Idina Sackville, an Edwardian-era socialite known for multiple marriages and defying social norms. Idina, nicknamed "The Bolter," led a scandalous life, depicted in novels by Nancy Mitford and Michael Arlen. Swift's lyrics allude to both the real Idina and the fictional character, portraying a woman who runs from relationships and embraces a carefree lifestyle. The song explores themes of self-indulgence, fleeting connections, and societal expectations, drawing parallels between the modern-day celebrity culture and the early 20th-century high society.

The Diviners, book cover

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Evangeline O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far.

When the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfurl in the city that never sleeps. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened....


30. Robin

In the thirtieth song Taylor Swift captures the essence of childhood with vivid imagery and whimsical lyrics. She celebrates the untamed energy and boundless curiosity of youth while hinting at the need for protection and guidance. Despite the challenges ahead, Swift encourages the child to embrace their wildness and lightness. The song likely alludes to the child of her friend and collaborator Aaron Dessner, named Robin, reflecting on the innocence and wonder of childhood.

Tigers, Not Daughters, book cover

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.


31. The Manuscript

The final song addresses the therapeutic aspect of memoir writing. Unlike Swift's previous albums, in which personal themes are common, this one stands out for its heightened specificity in storytelling. A comparison is drawn between this track and "All Too Well," a track from Red (Taylor's Version), showcasing the difference in detail and perspective, whereas this song employs third-person narration, indicating a necessary emotional distance for healing, transitioning to first-person towards the end to signify personal growth and acceptance. The lyrics reflect the transformation of experiences into art, akin to the process of memoir writing. Furthermore, the discussion touches on the evolving musical composition, mirroring the journey of healing and empowerment in the song's narrative.

The Collectors, book cover

The Collectors edited by A.S. King

Ten acclaimed YA authors explore the artistry and emotion behind the human instinct to collect. This anthology centers around the question: “Why do we collect things?” Each story features a different type of collection, from the tangible (glass bluebirds and fandom memorabilia) to the experiential (skateboarding in empty swimming pools) and the intangible (misery, doubts, dreams, and moments that you wish could last forever). The characters discover strengths and yearned-for connections to themselves and others through what they collect.

When men aggressively pursue her beautiful mother, a Latine teen living in white suburbia protects herself and her home in Anna-Marie McLemore’s “Play House.” In “Take It From Me” by David Levithan, first love makes a nonbinary teen question the purpose and the impact of their collection, which is curated from objects stolen from other collections. Randy Ribay’s “The White Savior Does Not Save the Day” centers on a Filipino and white teen who collects scripts from a canceled superhero show and crosses dimensions, searching for clarity about herself and her absent white mother. Cory McCarthy presents “museum of misery,” an emotionally raw, illustrated tour through a museum of trauma and internalized self-hatred. Embracing weirdness, many of the stories defy genre categories, blending reality with fantastical metaphors.


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