Book Recommendations Based off of Niall Horan’s New Album: The Show

Niall Horan’s The Show was released last Friday. I really love the tracks on it so I decided to do another post like the one I did for Midnights by Taylor Swift and give you guys book recommendations based on each song. I also provide lyrics that remind me of the book and an explanation for why I picked the book I did. These posts always end up being really long, so let’s just get started!

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Heaven – Delirium by Lauren Oliver

In this dystopian novel, love is seen as a deadly disease. There is a cure for it that you can get after turning 18. Lena is desperately waiting to turn 18 and so she will no longer have the threat of falling in love hanging over her head. That all changed when she meets Alex. Alex is a boy from the Wilds, an area not controlled by the government who attempts to convince Lena that love isn’t so lethal after all.

This song is about a love so passionate and powerful that even Heaven would be forever changed by it. In Delirium, meeting Alex turns Lena’s entire life upside down. As she falls in love with him, she realizes the world she thought she knew was a lie. Lena even begins to worry that everyone was right and that her feelings for Alex would kill her because they were so strong.

"And even if our love starts to grow out of control
And you and me go up in flames
Heaven won't be the same"

"I believe, I believe
I could die in your kiss"

If you Leave Me – Loveless by Alice Oseman

Georgia has never had a crush on anyone. Ever. The idea of kissing a boy makes her squirm. As she starts university, she’s still confident that she’ll eventually find the right person. Eventually, she realizes this isn’t how most people feel. She’s scared that she’s destined to be loveless and alone forever, but with the help of her friends she realizes she’s just been looking for the wrong kind of love. Throughout the book, she comes to terms with her identity: asexual and aromantic.

"If you leave me
Hope you know that you're sentencing me
To a life on my knees
I don't know who I would be"

"Wakin' up with you gone in the mornin'
Goin' to sleep with you not here at night
Oh, these feelings, they would just be so foreign
Can't you stay for the rest of my life?"

This song is almost certainly about a romantic relationship. However, the first relationship that came to mind when I heard this song was the friendship between Georgia and Rooney. Rooney is Georgia’s roommate at university. They quickly become friends. They even push their beds together and when Rooney stays out late, Georgia mentions feeling lonely. Towards the end of the book, Rooney has like the most epic-est monologue ever and tells Georgia how much their friendship means to her and that it will always be a key part of her life.

Meltdown – 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

100 Days of Sunlight follows Tessa, a teen blogger who temporarily lost her eyesight in a car accident. She’s upset and angry at the world and is terrified that her vision will never return. Weston agrees to be her typist as long as no one tells her about his disability. Weston lost his legs in an accident and is tired of being seen as “broken”. He understands what Tessa is going through, but is scared of what Tessa will think when her vision does return.

The narrator of Meltdown is basically telling someone that no matter what happens or how bad it gets, they’ll still be there to support them. This reminds me so strongly of Weston. He understands what Tessa’s going through in a way most people simply can’t. He does everything in his power to help her through losing her vision, even when she doesn’t want his help. She yells at him and is rude and he still comes back the next day anyways.

"Nights when one broken glass turns to total collapse
Just know this, too, shall pass
I'm tellin' you now, tellin' you now"

"When it all melts down, I'll be there"

Never Grow Up – Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Charlie and Nick are classmates at an all-boys school in Heartstopper. Nick is a rugby player and all he knows about Charlie is that he’s gay. He was outed last year and bullied for it. They quickly become friends and Charlie develops a crush on Nick. He knows he doesn’t have a chance though. Nick’s straight after all. Right? As their friendship grows, their feelings for each other become messier and Nick struggles to understand what these new feelings might mean.

"Never wanna be like them
Talkin' over coffee, but we say nothin'
Both of us forgettin' how we once were friends"

"Hope we still cry 'cause we're laughin' too much
Hope we grow old, but we never grow up"

"Oh, when I'm with you, yeah, it all makes sense
Never givin' up on our innocence"

This is tied for my second favorite song on the album. Considering there are only ten songs, this might not sound like a standing ovation, but I really love my top three. I did actually have a bit of trouble picking a book for this song though. Never Grow Up is like the cutest song ever about a couple that doesn’t want to grow tired of each other and wants to maintain the excitement of young love. I felt like a book that’s just as sweet would only be fitting so I basically had to go with Heartstopper. Seriously, this book is so cute and fluffy and this song really reminded me of Nick and Charlie’s relationship.

The Show – Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy and Oliver are best friends. At least, they were until Oliver got kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Now that he’s back, Emmy hopes to pick up right where they left off, but everything feels different. They are different. Both of their lives have been permanently changed by Oliver’s disappearance. Oliver struggles to fit in with his old friends and family. Before, they were going to be best friends forever. Can they still be? Can they be more?

The Show my favorite song on the album (listen to the bridge and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.) and Emmy & Oliver is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. Seriously, this book is so good! Once Oliver is found, Emmy just wants to be able to live a normal life again. However, the aftermath of his disappearance left its mark on everyone. Oliver doesn’t know what to think about the whole situation or how to move on. He doesn’t know how to fit back into life in his hometown. It feels like everyone has moved on without him. Emmy and Oliver both feel like they have to act a certain way to appease their parents and the only time they can really be themselves is around each other. I think the chorus of this song especially (the second set of verses I quoted) emulates the way they feel really well.

"Life is like a board game some of the time
Mistakes and heartbreaks are no crime"

"If everythin' was easy, nothin' ever broke
If everythin' was simple, how would we know?
How to fix your tears, how to fake a show
How to paint a smile, yeah, how would we know?
How good we have it, though?"

You Could Start a Cult – The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

The Cheat Sheet is an adorable romance about an NFL quarterback, Nathan, and a ballerina, Bree. They became friends in high school and have had feelings for each other basically ever since. They’re both afraid of ruining their friendship by admitting that they’re in love with each other. Neither of them thinks the other feels the same way about them. Things become much more complicated when Nathan and Bree have to pretend to date each other for publicity.

"Darlin', I will give up everything
Who I'll be and who I am"

"I'll follow you till there's no tomorrow"

"Baby, you could start a cult, you see
They will say that we're crazy
But you are so much more than beautiful to me"

This is the other song that’s tied for second favorite because it is so adorable. Also can we just note the title? I mean not gonna lie, if a guy told me I could start a cult I’d be so honored. Like, I think this is the ultimate compliment if you really think about it. Circling back to The Cheat Sheet though (you know, what this is actually supposed to be about…), this song reminds me so much of Nathan’s feelings for Bree. He’s like the sweetest guy ever and just wants to be a part of Bree’s life, even if that means just being her friend. Their relationship is so heartwarming and parallels this song so much. They go to such lengths for each other and it’s seriously so cute.

Save My Life – Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Annabel fell from the height of popularity to an outcast. Her best friend, Sophie, abandoned her, causing her to become a social pariah. One of the only people who will talk to her is Owen, the school bad boy who now has an obsessive commitment to telling the truth. Annabel’s not sure if she’s ready to tell the truth yet though. After all, it would require facing everything that happened the night Sophie ended things with Annabel. Just Listen discusses with sensitive topics like eating disorders and sexual assault, but in my opinion they are handled extremely well.

Owen helps Annabel to listen to her own voice and tell others her truth. She stops caring so much about what other people think, especially Sophie. It also allows her to be there for the rest of her family. Several of her families members are struggling with mental illness but don’t know how to ask for help or express their feelings. Just Listen is very emotional but it’s also a very important read that I really enjoyed reading. I think Annabel’s relationship with Owen mirrors Save My Life in many ways, especially the lines, “Ever since you walked in / It’s startin’ to feel like / You might save my life”.

"Ever since you walked in
It's startin' to feel like
You might save my life"

"And it gives me shelter
But leaves me open"

On A Night Like Tonight – Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

Five Feet Apart centers around Stella and Will, two teens with Cystic Fibrosis, also known as CF. Stella likes to be in control and her top priority is keeping herself healthy enough to get a lung transplant. Will is exactly the person she needs to stay away from. If they touch or even breath on each other, not only will Stella lose her spot on the transplant list, but their lives would be at risk. They must stay six feet apart at all times as a precaution, but as Stella and Will get to know each other, those six feet seem bigger and bigger.

"Wantin' your summer skin pressed on mine
Wanna know what your lovin' tastes like
On a night like tonight"

"Baby, you blow my mind
Tell me anything you likе, except for goodbye"

When I first listen to this song, I thought it was about the passion of a couple’s relationship, but it really focuses on the longing and desire to touch and be close the person you love. This fits so well with the plot of Five Feet Apart since it centers around Will and Stella grappling with the fact that they can never touch. If they kiss or even just stand too close to one another, they risk both of their lives. Yet neither of them want to give up their relationship because they care about each other so much. This is reflected in the verse “Tell me anything you like, except for goodbye”.

Science – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

In Everything Everything, Madeline has Severe Combined Immunodeficiency which basically means she’s allergic to everything. Leaving her house is a matter of life or death, so she doesn’t. She’s always been content with her bubble world, only interacting with her mom and nurse until a new boy moves in next door. Madeline and Olly quickly form a connection and Madeline’s world begins to feel much too small.

So many lines in this song reminded me of Everything, Everything. Like, it was hard to just pick a couple lines to include. Madeline is confined to her house so she doesn’t have an allergic reaction to anything. As the novel progresses, she begins feeling trapped in the bubble she lives in instead of protected. She’s scared she’ll never get to do all the things she dreams of, like falling in love. I think the plot of the book is summed up perfectly by the lines “You can hide, you will love / You’ll have your days in the sun”. It’s seriously like it was written for this book.

"Is the silence a little too much?
And all you wanna do is break out?"

"You can dance on your own
It's okay 'cause you're not alone
You can hide, you will love
You'll have your days in the sun"

Must Be Love – Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Norah suffers from OCD and agoraphobia in this book. Her mental illness confines her to her home and makes living a normal life seem impossible. Even though she knows her fears and worries are irrational, her mind can’t seem to view the outside world as anything but terrifying. When Luke moves in next door he doesn’t see her as a medical diagnosis. In fact, he seems to like her. However, Norah fears that Luke deserves a “normal girl”, something she fears she can’t be.

"I'm a specialist at overthinkin' everything
I'll tell you all about it if you have the time"

"Oh, if I'm bein' honest, I find it so hard
To just keep it simple and follow my heart"

"I got a first degree in bein' my worst enemy"

Norah’s mental illnesses make it hard for her to do things that other people would see as simple, like leaving the house. Falling in love seems unimaginable to her and as her relationship with Luke develops she spends lots of time overanalyzing it and wondering how he could possibly feel the same way about her. Must Be Love is about someone second guessing their emotions and relationships. Even though it seems simple, they can’t stop ruining things for themselves by overthinking. This parallels Norah’s life and her struggles as she tries to build a relationship with Luke. She’s scared that she can’t be the girl he deserves, that her mental illnesses prevent her from being that girl.

Whew, it’s done! Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy writing these posts, but I always forget about how long they take lol. If you’ve listened to The Show, please let me know what your favorite tracks are. Also let me know if there are any other albums you’d like me to do a post like this for. They’re really fun to make and are something a little different from my usual content. As always, I hope this post finds you well and you have a great day!

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