You Belong With Me: How The Playlist is a true Taylor Swift “Love Story”


My own copy of “The Playlist”, dog-eared with love.

Margaret Ahearn, Staff Writer

“I’m perfectly fine, I live on my own. I made up my mind, I’m better off bein’ alone.”– “King of My Heart”, Taylor Swift.

The Playlist by Morgan Elizabeth is a romance novel based around the best friend’s brother trope and Taylor Swift’s discography. Zoe, our protagonist, is a big-city, corporate-working gal who comes home to her small town of Springbrook Falls, only to find out she hates her city life through a sleepover with her childhood bestie, Luna. They stumble upon an old box of memories that includes her ‘Love Story Bucket List’, which includes things like marrying Luna’s older brother Zander, and dancing in a parking lot, a la Fearless.  

Zander’s Zoe’s polar opposite. He’s lived in Springbrook Falls his whole life and wouldn’t think of leaving. He’s headstrong, easygoing and adventurous. Oh, and he’s been in love with Zoe for over 10 years and they’ve both seen each other with crappy partners. And Zander works for Zoe’s dad, who even wants them to “finally” get together. 

When Zoe and Luna stumble upon these cherished memories, a warning bell goes off in Zoe’s head, and an epiphany (no pun intended) is born: Zoe hates her job, and hates her life. Luna, being the middleman between her brother and best friend, tells Zander that Zoe’s finally single. What sparks from here, is Zander taking Zoe on the road trip of her dreams, and helping her to discover her “true” self; not one who is a “big-city, stressed out” girl, not unlike someone you’d find in a Hallmark movie. And, dear reader; Zoe realizes her feelings for Zander were there all along. 

Going into this book, I was excited. I am a huge fan of Taylor Swift, so when I saw this book via BookTok (the home for books and more on Tik Tok)  I knew I needed to read it. I am a sucker for romance, with the slightest hint of spice. But, boy oh boy, does this book pack the spice. 

BookTok is usually the place to find out what chapters in a book are the “steamiest”, but The Playlist itself is marketed as “A Spicy Friends to Lovers Romance ”. We see this tagline come to play in the form of Zander’s, erm dominance in the bedroom. Without going into heavy (petting) details, a few chapters include scenes that include dresses that Zoe only bought “so you could take it off” (“Dress”, Taylor Swift) and years of pent up pinning from both sides of the couple. 

As for actual character development, I felt a little disappointed. Zoe is a bit one dimensional, and Zander’s protective nature comes off as a “red flag” at times. Morgan Elizabeth plays into the classic tropes like “small town boy who teaches big city girl to let loose” and Zoe’s friends, other than Luna, are merely there to move the plot forward. As for Zander’s friends, we only see Tony, who married Luna after he “saved” her from her stalker, and Zoe’s dad, who has a metaphorical shotgun if anybody hurts Zoe, including Zander. 

At the end of the book, we see a few time jumps, through the couple’s future.  I thought that this was a unique take to ending a book. Props to Morgan Elizabeth for this creative spin, because I truly have never seen numerous time jumps in the epilogue. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was an “easy” read, but sometimes you need that. As a Swiftie, I liked how the titles of each chapter were different Taylor Swift songs, and how the cover was full of T. Swift easter eggs such as a mirror ball hanging from the car mirror. I could tell that Morgan Elizabeth is truly a fan of her majesty, Taylor Swift. 

4.5 stars out of 5