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a bookish ode to badlands

if you read this past month’s recap, you’d know that i’ve been shamelessly OBSESSED with the badlands album by halsey. i’ve been listening to it on repeat and voiced my thoughts on twitter, which led to some of my friends to listen to it as well (SUCCESS!). tamara from tamaraniac thought of a fabulous idea of pairing a book to each song! we decided to do a buddy post since it was her idea originally and i thought of lots of books that would fit. you can find tamara’s post here!(note: halsey is queen. and probably a fangirl as there are waaaay too many bookish references in each of her songs.)

WARNING: some of the descriptions may contain SPOILERS from the book! please be cautious!! i’ll try my best to keep them minimal and have other notable warnings. just putting it out there. if you get spoiled, don’t say i didn’t warn you!

castle // throne of glass series, by sarah j. maas

HeirofFirebySarahJMaas

“I’m headed straight for the castle

They wanna make me their queen

And there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying that I probably shouldn’t be so mean

I’m headed straight for the castle”

technically speaking, this song could work for the entire THRONE OF GLASS series, but i think it fits HEIR OF FIRE and QUEEN OF SHADOWS especially well.

//SPOILER for QoS// aelin is, after all, trying to throw the king off his throne (old man, he is). she does end up succeeding, which is AWESOME AND SO FITTING. she is also heading straight for the castle. i feel like this song is written for aelin. <333

REVIEW + DISCUSSION for HEIR OF FIRE // amazon // book depository

drive // the darkest minds, by alexandra bracken

the darkest minds, by alexandra bracken

“And California never felt like home to me

Until I had you on the open road and now we’re singing


Your laugh, echoes down the hallway

Carves into my hollow chest, spreads over the emptiness

It’s bliss”

this was a song that i had a hard time picking a book for. i love the song, but choosing a song that has something to do with driving and california? hm… i can’t think of many books i’ve read. but after listening to it repeatedly, i thought THE DARKEST MINDS SERIES would be a great fit. the first novel has a lot of driving involved (BLACK BETTY!! <33) and the other two novels are set in california (i think. i'm preeeetty sure.)

REVIEW + DISCUSSION for IN THE AFTERLIGHT // amazon // book depository

roman holiday // the lost hero, by rick riordan

the lost hero by rick riordan

“I imagine the tears in your eyes

The very first night I’ll sleep without you

And when it happens I’ll be miles away

And a few months late

Didn’t know where I was running to”

if you’re not convinced this song was talking about percy and annabeth, you’re LYING. he comes back to annabeth a few months late and miles away. do you see a coincidence here??? also ROMAN holiday. percy was dreaming of a future with annabeth where they could both move to the roman camp and have a happily ever after. ~FEELS~ technically speaking, this could fit for the entire HEROES OF OLYMPUS SERIES, but ehhh whatever.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION for THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS // amazon // book depository

ghost // the retribution of mara dyer, by michelle hodkin

the retribution of mara dyer by michelle hodkin

“You say that you’re no good for me

Cause I’m always tugging at your sleeve

And I swear I hate you when you leave

But I like it anyway.

My ghost

Where’d you go?

I can’t find you in the body sleeping next to me”

//SPOILER FOR MARA DYER SERIES// at the end of UNBECOMING, we find out noah is dead. throughout the entire novel of RETRIBUTION, mara is wowndering where noah (aka her ghost in this case) is. this song also has a creepy element to it, which i think fits the books quite well. the lyrics also say something about a “bad boy,” um did you mean NOAH SHAW.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION // amazon // book depository

colors // all the bright places, by jennifer niven

AlltheBrightPlacesbyJenniferNiven

“You were red and you liked me ’cause I was blue

You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky

And you decided purple just wasn’t for you”

THIS was one of those songs i heard and immediately thought of something. that something was ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES.

//SPOILERS for ATBP// one of the first lines of the song is, “I hope you make it to the day you’re 28 years old.” *cough cough finch* *coughing turns to crying* also, COLORS?? violet is her name. i don’t think it could be any more obvious. this is one of my favorite songs on the album and it’s probably because i keep thinking of violet and finch and it keeps giving me the FEELZ.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION // amazon // book depository

coming down // sweet evil, by wendy higgins

sweet evil by wendy higgins

“Now we’re lost somewhere in outer space

In a hotel room where demons play

They run around beneath our feet

We roll around beneath these sheets”

this song talks a lot about demons, devils, and gods, which is EXACTLY what the SWEET EVIL trilogy is about. this song also talks quite a bit about love, which is also the SWEET EVIL trilogy basically. if you don’t know, kaidan and anna (the two main characters) are nephilim, which are basically children of the devils. literally. and in the first novel, they do end up in a hotel room due to traveling and such. i’m convinced halsey was or is a fangirl. or her life is something that seems like it could be a book (or two or three or a hundred).

amazon // book depository

haunting // we were liars, by e. lockhart

we were liars, by e. lockhart

“‘Cause I’ve done some things that I can’t speak

And I’ve tried to wash you away but you just won’t leave

So won’t you take a breath and dive in deep

‘Cause I came here so you’d come for me

I’m begging you to keep on haunting

I know you’re gonna keep on haunting me”

if you know anything about WE WERE LIARS, it’s that it’s insanely creepy.

//SPOILERS for WWL// by the end, we know that everyone who we thought was alive isn’t actually. this entire time, they’ve been haunting the main protagonist (who’s name i can’t remember) and she’s suffering from PTSD. she doesn’t even want to forget them. THIS SONG FITS THE BOOK SO WELL.

amazon // book depository

gasoline // the dream thieves, by maggie stiefvater

the dream thieves by maggie stiefvater

“And all the people say

“You can’t wake up, this is not a dream

You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being

With your face all made up, living on a screen

Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline”

this song screams, “COMPLEX CHARACTER.” you want to know what’s a complex and so-called deranged character? RONAN LYNCH. this entire book is dedicated to ronan and everything about this song speaks to his character. it makes me want to scream. this is one of my favorite songs on the album, so i will scream these lyrics and think of ronan. the song also works for kavinsky, which is the other main character in TDT. there’s also lots of driving and cars involved and, wait for it, GASOLINE. RONAN.

amazon // book depository

control // queen of shadow, by sarah j. maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

“And all the kids cried out,

“Please stop, you’re scaring me”

I can’t help this awful energy

Goddamn right, you should be scared of me

Who is in control?”

i know i already mentioned a THRONE OF GLASS novel, but i seriously couldn’t help but think of QUEEN OF SHADOWS for this one. (in some ways, i feel like this entire album could be a ToG fanmix.)

//SPOILER for QoS// this song could be dedicated to dorian and the demon inside of him. *begins sobbing* listen carefully and you will KNOW it’s dorian. he can’t help the awful energy inside of him.

REVIEW + DISCUSSION // amazon // book depository

young god // cruel beauty, by rosamund hodge

cruel beauty by rosamund hodge

“But do you feel like a young God?

You know the two of us are just young gods

And we’ll be flying through the streets with the people underneath

And they’re running, running, running”

CRUEL BEAUTY is a retelling of beauty and the beast, in which the beast is actuall a king. or a YOUNG GOD. *gasp*

//SPOILER FOR CB// whenever i hear this song, i think of that moment in CRUEL BEAUTY when the king/beast takes her to the garden above everyone and we find out the world is like a snow globe. do you remember that part? it’s that moment when you realize that he is just as trapped as everyone else. he acts like a young god, and feels like a young god, *cough cough* but actually isn’t.

amazon // book depository

i walk the line // the wrath and the dawn, by renée ahdieh

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

“You’ve got a way to keep me on your side

You give me cause for love that I can’t hide

For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide

Because you’re mine, I walk the line”

there are so many possibilities for books based on this song, but i think TWaTD fits really well. just listen to it and you will know. sharzad and khalid are the ultimate forbidden love.

//SPOILERS FOR TWATD//“You’ve got a way to keep me on your side,” khalid says to her. they both walk the line because khalid needs to keep killing his wives but he now refuses because he loooooooove sharzad. (now i’m excited for the next novel all over again.) for her he’d even try to turn the tide!!

REVIEW + DISCUSSION // amazon // book depository

your turn! what books would you match with BADLANDS songs? which was your favorite? did i just introduce you to halsey? are you utterly obsessed with her as well? have you seen tamara’s list yet? i want to know!!

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a twenty-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she's not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer or practicing yoga. she currently resides in los angeles, california.

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