Throughout life, we yearn to be valued, seen, connected, and understood—that’s what I’ve found in Taylor Swift. When experiencing my first women-loving-women heartbreak, ‘Back to December’ felt like a friendly hug and assured me I’d be okay. It was 1989 blasting in the background of college memories my friends and I reference to this day. My soon-to-be wife and I will remember screaming the lyrics of ‘Long Live’ on our wedding night. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m grateful to have grown up alongside Taylor Swift.
Whether you are a fellow Swiftie or learned about her through Sunday Football, it’s safe to say that Taylor Swift is everywhere, and rightfully so. With opening weekend generating numbers that rival the Barbie movie, Swift debuts The Eras Tour Film- which spans 17 years of music and cements how Taylor Alison Swift is just that bitch. Gaylors, Hetlors, and Queer book lovers buckle up! I’d like to take you on a journey through each era through WLW books. 1-2-3, let’s go bitch!
Taylor Swift | Debut
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
At the age of 16, Taylor Swift gave us our first peek into her world- a new big world in which she was trying to find a place. In her debut book, Morgan Rogers allows us to follow Grace Porter, a recent Ph.D. graduate who has lived her entire life for the approval of family and friends. When Grace makes a sole drunk decision to marry a woman she meets in Vegas, she is left to grapple with the unknown of trying to find a place in this world on her own accord.
The ‘You Belong with Me’ music video was a cultural reset moment in 2008, and Kelly Quidlen revamps our cheer captain vs. on the bleachers dreams. Scottie Zajac is one of the basketball stars at Grandma Earl High School, whose nemesis is Irene Abraham- the head cheerleader. After Scottie suffers an embarrassing loss against her ex-girlfriend- Tally, she finds herself in a fender bender with Irene. When forced to ride to school with Irene for weeks, will these enemies turn lovers, or will Scottie be pulled back into her ex’s toxic ways?
Friday I’m In Love by Camryn Garrett
Speak Now was the first album I got to experience trials and tribulations alongside Taylor, one of many moments Swift’s music seemed to come out right on time. A recurring theme of speaking up or now for what you want floods both the album and Camryn Garrett’s ‘Friday I’m In Love.’ Mahalia Harris has many wants: a big sweet sixteen, the new girl Siobhan to like her back, and ultimately, to be free of societal norms. It’s too late to throw a massive sweet sixteen, but the idea strikes to have a coming-out party to celebrate Mahalia’s queerness. The party planning process is continuously tested through trials and tribulations, and Mahaliah quickly learns how life is not always fair. Also, can we get a little commotion for this rainbow gown shaped like a pastry?
Everyone can remember all too well how much that first real heartbreak turned your life upside down, and you didn’t think you’d survive. The Red Era is a mosaic of toxic relationships, jealousy, rage, and the journey to overcome those red emotions. Amy Spaulding lays out how much heartbreak can set fire to your reality when Nina Rice’s breakup leads her to give up an entire life in LA for the suburbs. Fast forward three years later, she has a job writing emails for celebrities and finds herself face to face with her celebrity crush, Ari Fox- a hotshot actress. In the process of potentially falling in love, Nina is still struggling to break free from the volatile grip her previous relationship has on her.
Those Who Wait by Haley Cass
‘Welcome to New York,’ where Taylor Swift owned the streets with her girl squad and reinvented herself as a pop artist. Don’t let the endless paparazzi photos fool you; Swift’s lyrics allude to keeping many things private- just like Charlotte Thompson. Charlotte is one of the youngest politicians in NYC who has sacrificed everything to keep up her image to the public, even her queerness. Sutton Spencer just wants to finish grad school and fall in love- sounds easy enough until Sutton and Charlotte match on a dating app. Haley Cass’ debut novel quickly became my top read of 2023 and left me unable to stop thinking about Charlotte and Sutton’s story.
Leading up to this Era, Taylor Swift’s reputation had never been worse. #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and snake emojis filled Twitter, leading her to disappear for 1.5 years. In 2017, Taylor rose from the dead with Reputation, covered in snakes. Lambda Literary Finalist Meryl Wilsner breathes life into the forbidden romance between Cassie Klein and Erin Bennett- Cassie’s best friend’s mom. A one-night stand during parent’s weekend leads to trying to find love in the middle of chaos. Erin and Cassie have to decide if love is worth the consequences of their actions. Like the reputation track list, this book is 4 out of 5 on the spicy scale.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
With all of the lore surrounding Taylor Swift and Evelyn Hugo, it should come as no surprise this book made the list. At first glance, Evelyn Hugo is a reclusive world-renowned actress with her fair share of husbands and heartbreak. A deeper look reveals bearding, lavender marriages, and Evelyn’s true life partner- Celia St. James. Some believe that Taylor Jenkins Reid is a Gaylor, meaning the book is based on Swift’s life. While some think it is all just a coincidence. Regardless of which theories you believe, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a must-read.
During the pandemic, people began to expand their creative lives, and Swift was no exception. She uses Folklore, her first pandemic album, to step outside her autobiographical norms. The result is an insightful tale of the ramifications of a fictional love triangle. Annabelle and Nic Taylor have been “blissfully” together for the past 13 years. Davis Chandler finds herself dating the person of her dreams; unfortunately, it’s Nic Taylor. In the wake of betrayal, the three women must face decisions about recovery, redemption, and finding new love.
Losing Sam by Nicole Maser
One of Taylor’s many talents is being able to describe those unexplainable feelings, and Evermore is no exception. Recurring themes of endings and incomprehensible loss grant a sense of belonging while simultaneously ripping your heart out. Jess and Sam were raised very differently, but tragedy does not discriminate when both girls lose their moms at a young age. Jess’ desire to attend her late mother’s catholic university leads her to volunteer at the rehab facility that raised Sam. Jess faces some uncomfortable truths about her sexuality that may derail honoring her mom’s legacy.
We have arrived at the latest official Era, and it just so happens to be my favorite one!Through a sultry 70’s vibe, Swift resists straightforward narrative. Instead, Midnights is a collection of sleepless nights, and the memories and experiences that haunt her. On a journey to reshape her self-perception, Donika Kelly takes ownership of the trauma endured to gift us The Renunciations. Throughout the book, you will experience heartbreak, devastating loneliness, and, ultimately- hope. Indulging in The Renunciations and Midnights is a form of therapy I didn’t know I needed.
TW: sexual assault and racism
Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
Right before Taylor started the tour, she posted about being in her Eras Era, so it’s only fitting to include this on the list. During the 3.5-hour show, we are taken album by album through Swift’s music career. It gives feelings of nostalgia and appreciation for where you are today. Margaret Cooper’s first friend, love, and everything in between was Olivia Grant. That is, until she wasn’t. After ten years, Margaret finds herself face-to-face with Olivia, and the feelings she thought were gone instantly reignite. Through forced proximity, the pair must reflect on past mistakes and decide if a second chance romance is in the cards.