No need for much preamble. Here’s the second part of my post, Divide as Books, where I picked a book counterpart for every song on Ed Sheeran’s latest album, Divide. Some spoilers ahead so be warned.
Track 07: Happier
Book: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
I honestly had a hard time deciding which book to feature for this specific song. I was thinking Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, but I was still kind of on the fence about it so I asked my friend, Karen, to listen to Happier and tell me what book comes to her mind. She said it reminded her more of It Ends With Us and I felt so foolish that I haven’t even thought of that!
But IEWU is so on point for this song!
If you listen to it, it’s such a melancholy song about a love lost being happier with another person and if that isn’t Ryle, Lily and Atlas to you, I don’t know what is.
If you’ve read Colleen Hoover’s latest book, you’ll know that it deals with domestic abuse and when I was finally listening to Happier with IEWU in mind, I was like, woah! Did Ed write this specifically for this book or what? As Ed sings, “Ain’t nobody hurt you like I hurt you. Ain’t nobody love you like I do…” flashbacks of Ryle’s remorse upon hurting Lily played in my mind.
“Promise that I will not take it personal, baby, if you’re moving on with someone new,” is just Ryle letting Lily go because he loves her and he knows he’s not good for her.
I don’t know about you guys, but I love Ryle Kincaid. I really felt for him. I’m not excusing what he did, but I think he just really needed help. So as the song continued, “Sat in the corner of the room. Everything’s reminding me of you. Nursing an empty bottle and telling myself you’re happier, aren’t you?” I felt like it was Ryle post-IEWU because he realized that Lily’s better off with someone (aka Atlas) and that he knows Atlas can and does make her happy.
But the kicker is the second chorus which goes, “I know that there’s others that deserve you, but my darling I am still in love with you. But I guess you look happier, you do. My friends told me one day I’ll feel it, too.” I’m just—it just makes me so sad.
Anyway, I’ve already spoiled too much, but if you’ve read It Ends With Us and try to listen to Happier right now, you’d totally understand me.
Track 08: New Man
Book: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
New Man is one of the funniest dis songs I’ve ever heard. It’s just so full of sass! So when I listened to it with this post in mind, I immediately thought, huh, this is Rhysand to Feyre about Tamlin.
And then I cackled.
I mean, come on. Doesn’t the line, “He wears sunglasses indoors, in winter, at nighttime,” such a Rhysand way of insulting Tamlin? I know that in a way, it’s not entirely accurate because technically, Rhys is the new man, but let’s be honest—Tamlin isn’t witty enough to come up with lines like, “He’s got his eyebrows plucked and his arsehole bleached.”
But the chorus, “I don’t wanna know about your new man ‘cause if it was meant to be, you wouldn’t be calling me up tryin’ to ‘cause I’m positive that he don’t wanna know about me,” is so Rhys especially when Feyre unconsciously cried for help down the bond because she didn’t want to get married to Tamlin.
Lyrics from the first verse, “But I heard he made you happy so that’s fine by me. But still, I’m just keepin’ it real. Still lookin’ at your Instagram and I’ll be creepin’ a lil’. I’ll be tryin’ not to double tap from way back ‘cause I know that’s where the trouble’s at,” further cemented this as Rhysand’s song. The first part showcasing his willingness to let Feyre go if it makes her happy and the Instagram part being his and Feyre’s bond where he can feel her thoughts but he doesn’t want to bother her so he’s trying not to “double tap” and make his presence known. (Haha where do I even get these analogies?)
Meanwhile the bridge is just so on point about Feyre especially when she finally confronted the truth of what went wrong between her and Tamlin. “Baby, I’m not tryin’ to ruin your week, but you act so differently. When you’re with him I know you’re lonely. Please remember you’re still free to make the choice and leave…” Also that last one is very Rhysand.
Anyway, even if you’re not a fan of the book (but seriously, who isn’t?), you can just listen to New Man and feel all kinds of vindictive towards the person your ex moved on to after you. LOL!
Track 09: Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
Book: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
It’s been four years since I’ve read The Catastrophic History of You and Me (TCHOYAM for short), but it’s what came to my mind when I listened to Hearts Don’t Break Around Here, which is also kind of an ironic song title to relate to this book, iykwim.
If you haven’t read this book, well, shame on you. This is about Brie who died of a broken heart—literally, that’s why the title is so ironic. Turns out, she’s sort of a reincarnation and when she met the original love of her life, Patrick, in limbo—or was it heaven? I can’t recall—she eventually remembered her past life and uncovered secrets about her current one.
Patrick was so in love with Brie that he waited in that state, not moving forward to the afterlife, to wait until Brie can finally join him. When Ed sang, “Took my heart upon a one-way trip. Guess she went wandering off with it. And unlike most women I know, this one will bring it back home,” it just sounded so much like what Patrick would say about Brie and his unwavering confidence that they’d see each other again after all this time.
“She is the lighthouse in the night that will safely guide me home. And I’m not scared of passing over or the thought of growing old ‘cause from now until I go…every night I’ll kiss you you’ll say in my ear, ‘Oh we’re in love, aren’t we?’” just speaks Brie and Patrick when they finally got together with their pasts cleared up and they’re finally ready to move on.
When they’re finally at the place where there are no heartbreaks.
Gosh, I love this song and writing this post made me remember the crying fest I went into when I was reading TCHOYAM.
Track 10: What Do I Know?
Book: Bright Side by Kim Holden
What Do I Know is such a feel-good, laid back, positive song that makes you want to break out the ukulele and sway side to side while singing it with your friends.
Meanwhile, Kim Holden’s Bright Side, despite its title, is one of the most heart-wrenching book I’ve ever read. What made me choose this as the book counterpart for What Do I Know? is that, before all the pain and heartache, this book and the main character, Kate, was just full of positive vibes.
The whole chorus of the song, which goes, “We could change this whole world with a piano. Add a bass, some guitar, grab a beat and away we go. I’m just a boy with a one-man show. No university, no degree, but Lord knows everybody’s talking ‘bout exponential growth and the stock market crashin’ and their portfolios while I’ll be sittin’ here with a song that I wrote saying love can change the world in a moment, but what do I know?” pretty much sums up Kate’s motto in life. Oh, wait. That’s “Do Epic.” But, if you’ve read the book, I’m sure you know what I mean.
Bright Side is called Bright Side because that’s Gus’ nickname for Kate. She’s just oozing with positive vibes, always looks on the bright side, always smiling, always caring for others and putting a smile on their faces and she’s just. So. Effing. Sunny. So it jives perfectly with this song, which in turn is all about spreading “…love and understanding positivity.”
Track 11: How Would You Feel
Book: Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I am so full of feelz right now.
If you don’t know it yet, Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Covenant series is one of my absolute all-time favourite series. Like, ever. It put me through both extreme ends of the emotional spectrum and I loved every minute of it.
So Pure is the second book in this 5-book series and the romance between the protagonists, Alex and Aiden, is forbidden. Alex is a half-blood, while Aiden is a pure and the law of the gods forbid them from ever being together (the reason why is revealed in the third book). Of course, Aiden is such an upstanding person and he doesn’t want to get Alex in serious trouble by acting on his feelings for her, while Alex is more of a rebel girl who doesn’t think her actions and reactions through.
So in Pure, Aiden took her to the zoo because it’s been a while since she’s been to one and he knows how much it means to her. He can’t tell her that he loves her, so he did this instead. And when they got back to the car, Alex was so overcome with her feelings for Aiden that she finally told him that she loves him. And that is exactly what Ed sang in the first chorus of How Would You Feel which goes, “We were sitting in a parked car, stealing kisses in the front yard. We’ve got questions we should not ask, but…how would you feel if I told you I loved you?”
The truth is, Alex didn’t know how Aiden really felt for her so you can just understand her reservations about telling him how she felt, thus the song asking, “How would you feel?”
“So tell me that you love me too,” shows vulnerability especially when we read this with Alex in mind. She desperately wants Aiden to return her feelings for her, or at least give an indication that he might feel something for her, too.
This song is just so perfect for this book, for this scene, for Alex and Aiden’s relationship and I just—I’m crying. If you want to know Aiden’s response, you better read the series. *wink wink*
Track 12: Supermarket Flowers
Book: Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Supermarket Flowers is such a heartbreaking song. Ed wrote it for his grandma who passed away and it just hits you right in the feels if you’ve experienced loss of a loved one.
So, despite countless books that I could have featured for this song, I chose Colleen Hoover’s Slammed. Spoiler alert: Layken’s mom had cancer and died.
When Ed sang, “Oh, I’m in pieces, it’s tearing me up, but I know a heart that’s broke is a heart that’s been loved,” it’s what Lake felt when her mom finally admitted that she was sick. Their relationship after that admission became tumultuous. Lake channelled her grief through anger towards her mom.
Julia (that’s Lake’s mom’s name) was such a cool, mom. I think she’s really Colleen Hoover in real life. She always has these sage advices for Lake, which resulted in the jar of origami stars where she wrote quotes or her own words to help Lake and her brother Kel when she’s gone.
That’s why Slammed came to mind when Ed sang, “When I fell down you’d be there holding me up,” because even when she’s not there anymore, she’s still a source of strength for her children. She’s just such a good mom and a good person, certainly not perfect, but good.
So in the last few lines of Supermarket Flowers which goes, “When God took you back, he said ‘Hallelujah, you’re home’” I think it’s one of the most accurate ways to describe what might have happened after she died.
Deluxe Edition, Track #16: Save Myself
Book: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Alright, I know I said in the first half that I won’t include tracks from the deluxe content, but to be honest, the first time I hear this song, I immediately thought, What if Theodore Finch heard this song?
Another sad song, Save Myself is about recognizing how much you’ve given to other people who just take you for granted to the point that you’ve got nothing left for yourself.
In the critically acclaimed YA Contemporary novel, All The Bright Places, Theodore Finch met Violet Markey when he saved her from falling from the ledge of a bell tower. The bridge of the song goes, “I’ll go back to where I’m rescuing a stranger just because they needed saving, just like that.”
From that first moment, he saved her time and again. And for a while, they were saving each other. But while Violet slowly learned how to save herself, especially from her grief, Finch continued to drown inch by inch. This is parallel to the lyric, “I gave you all my energy and I took away your pain.”
Yes, he was a big reason why Violet got better, but he forgot to—or given up—trying for himself. The line from the song, “They gave me the heartache and in return I gave a song,” just reminded me of Finch’s song that he left for Violet at the end.
I just get really sad listening to this song and thinking about All The Bright Places at the same time. I can’t help but ask, What if? What if Finch heard this song? What if it spoke to him? What if these words would have finally woken him up? What if this made him realize that it’s time to take care of himself? Would it have made a difference?
“Before I love someone else, I’ve got to save myself.”
Aaaand that is it, friends. Whew! I had such a blast writing this because I got to combine two things that I love—music and books! Now I’m just patiently waiting for Taylor Swift to release TS6 so I can make something like this for that album, too.
What did you think about this, friends—bookworms and Sheerios alike? Any suggestion? Other books that reminded you of certain Divide track? Let me know in the comments!