By: Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia, Social Media Specialist

As Taylor Swift unveils her latest album masterpiece, The Tortured Poets Department, it’s no surprise that her exploration of the five stages of grief is captivating audiences worldwide, who are drawn in by the vibrancy of her lyrics, poignant storytelling and themes that echo with raw emotion.

For young adults navigating the complexities of adolescence, finding solace and understanding within literature can be equally transformative.

Here, we have a curated selection of 10 books for young adults and older that resonate with the lyrical depth and emotional intensity of Swift’s 11th album, offering solace to the tortured poet in every student.

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber’s Caraval invites readers into a mesmerizing world of magic and mystery, where reality blurs with illusion. As sisters Scarlett and Donatella embark on a journey through the enchanting game of Caraval, they confront their deepest desires and darkest fears. Garber’s lyrical prose and intricate plot mirror the enchanting allure of Taylor’s melodies, weaving a tale of longing and liberation.

Ebook | Audiobook

2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab

In Vicious, VE Schwab crafts a riveting narrative of ambition, betrayal, and redemption. Victor and Eli, former friends turned bitter enemies, grapple with the consequences of their quest for extraordinary power. Schwab’s exploration of moral ambiguity and the complexities of human nature relate to the emotional depth of Swift’s lyrics.

Ebook | Audiobook

3. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land is a poignant tale of loss, identity, and resilience. When a tragic plane crash brings together two half-sisters who were previously unaware of each other’s existence, they must navigate grief and forgiveness amidst their shared heritage. Acevedo’s evocative verse captures the raw emotions of sorrow and healing.

Ebook | Audiobook

4. We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

Nina Lacour’s We Are Okay delves into the profound loneliness and longing that accompany loss. Marin, reeling from the death of her grandfather and the unraveling of her closest friendship, retreats to a desolate college dormitory over winter break. Lacour’s exquisite prose navigates the intricacies of grief and self-discovery in painfully beautiful detail.

Ebook | Audiobook

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys introduces readers to a captivating world where magic and mystery converge. When Blue Sargent, the daughter of a psychic, becomes entangled with a group of private school boys on a quest for an ancient king, she discovers secrets that defy imagination. Stiefvater’s atmospheric prose and richly drawn characters mirror the enigmatic allure of Swift’s best musical storytelling.


6. A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid

Ava Reid’s A Study in Drowning plunges readers into a gothic tale of obsession, tragedy, and redemption. As aspiring scientist Violet investigates the mysterious death of her sister, she confronts dark secrets and forbidden desires lurking beneath the surface. Reid’s lyrical prose and atmospheric setting evoke some of Swift’s most haunting melodies, immersing readers in a world of intrigue and sorrow.

Ebook | Audiobook

7. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Leslye Walton’s The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a mesmerizing blend of magical realism and family saga. Born with wings, Ava navigates the many complications related to love, loss, and identity across generations.


8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale transports readers to medieval Russia, where folklore and mythology come to life. As young Vasilisa defies societal expectations to embrace her connection to the supernatural world, she must confront the darkness threatening her homeland. Arden’s sharp prose and richly detailed setting immerse readers in a world of wonder and danger.

Ebook | Audiobook

9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

In Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor crafts a spellbinding tale of dreams, destiny, and forbidden love. As orphaned librarian Lazlo Strange embarks on a quest to uncover the lost city of Weep, he discovers secrets that challenge everything he thought he knew. Taylor’s lush prose and imaginative world-building mirror the fantastical allure of Swift’s lyrics.

Ebook | Audiobook

10. Divine Rivals by Rebecca Ross

Rebecca Ross weaves a tale of enemies turned lovers amidst a backdrop of war and personal misfortune. Divine Rivals explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the power of connection, drawing readers into a world of magic and turmoil. Ross’s novel navigates the complexities of human emotion and the enduring power of hope and love in the face of adversity.

Ebook | Audiobook

With Swift’s Tortured Poets Department inviting listeners on a journey of contemplation and freedom, these 10 books offer a similar exploration of emotional depth and lyrical resonance. From tales of magic and mystery to narratives of loss and redemption, each book invites readers to transport themselves to worlds where the human experience is rendered with ethereal beauty and raw honesty.

For students and teachers alike, these reads serve as a reminder of the transformative power of storytelling and the universality of the human condition.

About the author

Nahomy Ortiz-Garcia is a Social Media Specialist for OverDrive, the creator of the Libby library reading app. When she’s not working, she’s most likely reading or creating bookish content for her bookish blogs @NahomysLibrary. Nahomy’s current favorite book is Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez.

More reading recs for tortured poets

The agony and the album: 13 poets to read while waiting for Taylor Swift’s next masterpiece

Tortured Poets Department Reads and Watches