A Book is a Song Your Heart Sings: Top Ten 2014 Book/Song Pairings

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Hello, book lovers!

I’m sure you’re like me, and tend to have a song in mind while reading a book. Either it comes to you as you’re reading, or it just happens to be the thing playing in the background constantly as you get lost among the words. Regardless, music draws out feelings as much as books do — so why not make a list of pairings between books and songs that have come out this year? I know. It’s a fabulous idea. At best, you’ll agree that I am a mad genius in marrying the particular song to a particular book below. The worse? You’ll have some new books to add to your reading list or a song to add to your playlist. Win-win!

10.

Cover: The Truth About Alice Jennifer Mathieu Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

Book: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Song: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

This story is told through the points of view of four high school kids who have their own idea of who Alice Franklin is in the midst of the slut rumours spreading around town. I choose to pair it with Swift’s Shake It Off because the song tackles the assumptions and ideas that people have of Swift especially regarding her dating life.

I go on too many dates [chuckle] But I can’t make ’em stay
At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm

What’s also great about Swift’s song is that it’s about shaking off these ideas that people have of us and hopefully by the end of the book, Alice can shake it off too.

9.

Love Is the Drug. Alaya Dawn Johnson. September 30th 2014. Arthur A. Levine Books. Scholastic Press. Cover.Book: Love Is The Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Song: Am I Wrong by Nico & Vinz

Am I wrong for thinking out the box from where I stay?
Am I wrong for saying that I choose another way?

Love Is The Drug is about Emily Bird figuring out the person she wants to be in spite of what society and her parents want her to be. Am I Wrong is the perfect track for Bird’s story both lyrically and in mood. It’s questioning what’s around it while also having a hopeful vibe to it. I like.

8.

Cover. The Heiresses. Sara Shepard. Harper. HarperCollins. May 20th 2014.Book: The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

Song: Fancy by Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX 

The title is a pretty big giveaway for why I made this pair up. Sara Shepard knows how to write about wealth, and the women who live with it, so why not pair it with a female team-up on this hot track? Out of the four heiresses, this song fits Aster the most:

Yeah, keep on turning it up
Chandelier swinging, we don’t give a f***
Film star, yeah I’m deluxe
Classic, expensive, you don’t get to touch
Ow…

Check, please!

7.

The Queen of The Tearling. Erika Johansen. HarperCollins. Harper. July 8th 2014. Cover.Book: The Queen of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

Song: Centuries by Fall Out Boy

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me for centuries

As soon as I heard this song, I immediately knew the book it would go well with. Centuries has an epic feeling to it, and the book tells the beginnings of Kelsea’s very own legendary rise (or fall) in Tearling. Given the books interesting time frame, where our modern era and the medieval seem to co-exist, why not a very contemporary ballad fit for a ruler?

6.

Girl Defective. Simmone Howell. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Simon & Schuster. September 2nd 2014.Book: Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Song: Cool Kids by Echosmith

This book is as much about music and the summer, as it is about Skylark “Sky” Martin trying to find the group she belongs to. We all know what it was like trying to find our niche, in terms of friends, and what it felt like finding people who understand you the most. Given that this is a book whose DNA is embedded with older songs, I thought that Cool Kids by Echosmith had a great sound, and great lyrics, for the book.

“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,
‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.
I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids.”

I was actually also considering either Calvin Harris’ Summer as a potential song pair up.

5.

Afterworlds. Written by Scott Westerfeld. September 23rd 2014. Simon Pulse. Simon & Schuster.

Book: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Song: Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Lately I been, I been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I been, I been prayin’ hard
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be counting stars
Yeah, we’ll be counting stars

Counting Stars is one of my favourite songs of the year, and I feel like it could fit so well with both the stories within Afterworlds. It’s great for new author — and newly independent — Darcy’s experience in New York, as well as Lizzie’s newly discovered ability to travel the Afterworlds, and the people it brings her into contact with.

4.

Cover. E Lockhart. We Were Liars. Random House. May 2014.

Book: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Song: Burn by Ellie Goulding

I loved We Were Liars, and who else can bring the beauty of the words and the world that Lockhart created than Ellie Goulding? Burn works so well as this book’s musical half. It’s summer-y, and it has an insulated quality to it in the verse and bridge that reminds me of the isolation of the island. There’s multiple reasons for why I love this pair, that can be truly appreciated once you’ve read the book!

When the light started out they don’t know what they heard
Strike the match, play it loud, giving love to the world
We’ll be raising our hands, shining up to the sky
‘Cause we got the fire, fire, fire
Yeah we got the fire, fire, fire

And we gonna let it burn, burn, burn, burn

3.

Cover: Landline Rainbow Rowell

Book: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Song: Hideaway by Kiesza

You’re just a hideaway, you’re just a feeling
You let my heart escape beyond the meaning
Not even I can find a way to stop the storm
Oh, baby, it’s out of my control, what’s going on?

Rowell’s Landline takes a woman, and gives her a magical phone to talk to her husband’s past self to fix their relationship. COME ON. Kiesza’s Hideaway is an awesome companion to the book: a modern day song going back to the 90s. Like Georgie! Almost. Basically. I’m sure she’d like to listen to Hideaway, whilst talking to her magical phone.

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Cover. Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn. April 22nd 2014. Broadway Books. Random House.

Book: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Songs: Black Widow by Iggy Azalea ft Rita Ora / Animals by Maroon 5

I’m gonna love ya
Until you hate me
And I’m gonna show ya
What’s really crazy

This book wasn’t released in 2014, but with the release of its movie adaptation, starring Rosamund Pike & Ben Affleck, I had to put it on the list! I couldn’t decide between the two songs I’ve chosen above… so I chose both. If you’ve seen the film or read the book, you know exactly why I made my choices and I’ll leave it at that.

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Blood of My Blood. Jasper Dent #3. Barry Lyga. September 9th 2014. Little, Brown. Hachette Book Group.

Books: The Entire “I Hunt Killers” Series

Song: Warm Shadow by Fink

You know when I said that there are moments when a song happens to play around the same time that you’re reading its perfect book partner? Well, I read I Hunt Killers just days before reading its sequel, Game, and then a little over a year later read the third and final book, Blood of My Blood, last month. The song choice remained the same for all three. Fink’s Warm Shadow is moody and intimate, which works well for the character of Jasper. It also feels like it toes the line of danger, and a chance of a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, yes. Warm Shadow isn’t a 2014 song, but I thought I would allow myself one cheat.

Warm shadow
Warm shadow
Won’t you cast yourself on me?

What’s your song book pairing? You can pair up a 2014 book to a 2014 song, a 2014 book to a song in the years before or even a 2014 song with a book from the years before!

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, The Toast and Hyperallergic.

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