BTS—the most popular boy band in the world currently. They’ve topped charts, they’ve performed at the Grammys, and they’ve won numerous awards. With over 200 songs in multiple languages, they’ve been the talk of pop culture since their rise to popularity in early 2018. Inspired by their ten-year anniversary in June of 2023, we’ve compiled a list of our best book recommendations based on some of the most popular BTS songs!
“Dynamite” – The Lightning Thief
With its upbeat rhythm and catchy lyrics, “Dynamite” has been a favorite of both ARMYs (BTS’s fanbase) and non-ARMYs since its release. It has remained the most popular BTS song and currently holds the most views of any of the band’s tracks. Therefore, with its positive vibes and happy tempo, we chose a book that has remained popular throughout the years and is filled with laughter and happiness. For this song, our recommendation is Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief.
The Lightning Thief tells the story of Percy Jackson, a kid who has never quite fit in. He quickly discovers why, as he learns he’s the son of the Greek God Poseidon. The book takes the reader on a journey filled with jokes, drama, and Percy Jackson’s hilarious missteps as he navigates the world of demigods. This book and the ones that follow have remained a popular staple for children and adults alike.
“Butter” – King of Wrath
“Butter“, with a beat similar to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”, is groovy and fun. Its staple line, “smooth like butter,” is catchy and memorable, and “Butter” has remained one of the most popular BTS songs. In addition to being popular, many fans waited in anticipation for the band to release this song. “Butter” quickly became the most-viewed BTS song within a twenty-four-hour time frame. For our book recommendation, we chose a book with a very smooth male lead. For a book similar to “Butter”, our recommendation is Ana Huang’s King of Wrath.
Dante Russo is the CEO of the famed Russo Group. He’s ruthless, cold, rich, and a smooth-talker, just like butter. Vivian Lau is arranged to marry him, and though she insists it’s just business, she quickly falls for his sweet talk. The two start off on the wrong foot, but as smooth as Dante is, Vivian just can’t resist him. For a romance as “smooth as butter,” we’d recommend this one.
“Spring Day” – Shiver
Ever since its release in 2017, “Spring Day” has remained a favorite. It tells the story of missing someone during the darkest part of the year — winter. The song takes the audience through the journey of waiting through the snow and the pain in order to get to spring, which is when their loved one is supposed to come back. If this is one of your favorite BTS songs, a book that we recommend is Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver.
Shiver tells the story of Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth. Sam is a werewolf and has protected Grace her entire life from other wolves and dangers, but he can only be human during the spring, as the winter and cold temperatures cause him to turn back into a werewolf. The book takes place during a winter in which Sam is shot and accidentally turns back into a human, which is where he meets Grace for the first time. Similar to “Spring Day”, Shiver features a winter romance that’s incredibly sweet (and filled with some sorrow).
“Run BTS” – Alice in Zombieland
“Run BTS” has quickly become one of the band’s more popular songs after its recent release in 2022. It features all of the members in black outfits, with most of the members dressed in black leather. In addition to the leather, the song sends out a message of living life while you can. For a vibe similar to this song, we recommend Gena Showalter’s Alice in Zombieland.
Alice in Zombieland features a pretty badass heroine and hero, one of whom mostly dresses in black leather (I’ll let you guess which one). Protagonist Ali Bell and love interest Cole Holland do exactly what “Run BTS” speaks of. They live their life in the moment and push through their troubles, usually with comedy, sarcasm, and a little bit of zombie action (you’re welcome!). Therefore, if you want a book that’s fast-paced, epic, action-filled, and full of black leather, this book is perfect.
“DNA” – Fallen
For a long time, this song by BTS remained the highest-viewed song by the band on Youtube. It was then pushed out of the top spot by “Boy With Luv” in 2018, and later, “Dynamite” (which has remained the most viewed BTS song since its release in 2020). “DNA” features a catchy tune and a bright beat, as well as positive lyrics about two lovers who are meant to be and can recognize each other at first sight. Similarly, we recommend Lauren Kate’s Fallen.
Fallen features the story of Luce and Daniel, who are drawn to each other from the moment they lock eyes. However, Daniel wants nothing to do with her, and Luce wants to know what he’s hiding and why she can’t resist him. Fallen is an action-filled story with many plot twists and turns that will leave you second-guessing until the very last page. In addition to Fallen, a second book we’d recommend is Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum for one of the cutest, destined romances to exist!
“Black Swan” – Tuesdays with Morrie
As a passion-filled song, “Black Swan” has remained one of the most adored songs by the band. It features the vulnerabilities of the bandmates, admitting that they’re scared of the day when they may no longer feel the passion for performing or singing. Our recommendation for a story like this one is Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.
Tuesdays with Morrie is the incredibly sad, true story of Mitch Albom’s experience with his sociology teacher, Morrie Schwartz, who is battling ALS during the time of the novel. Morrie talks about his life and what it feels like to lose the ability to do everything. The book takes you on the roller-coaster of emotions as Morrie’s ALS progresses, and Mitch stays by his side. Mitch Albom’s book is full of life lessons and advice on everything from losing your passion for life, self-care issues, and dying. It’s a beautiful book filled with memorable advice and quotes, and this story will likely impact you for years to come.
“Fake Love” – The Spanish Love Deception
“Fake Love” was one of the first songs to skyrocket BTS into the public eye. As soon as this song was released, BTS became increasingly popular. Consequently, they quickly became a global sensation. The song tells the story of fake love and what it is like to lose yourself by loving someone else. It tells the heartbreaking truth behind changing yourself into someone else in order to make a lover happy. It is a staple song for anyone who has ever lost themselves or changed themselves for love that was unrequited or toxic. Our recommendation based on this song is Elena Armas’s The Spanish Love Deception.
The Spanish Love Deception is the story of Catalina “Lina” Martín, who fake dates her colleague Aaron Blackford in an attempt not to look humiliatingly single at her sister’s wedding. While she finds Aaron absolutely awful in every way, he’s her only option, and the two set off to Spain together. Slowly, Lina realizes Aaron isn’t all that bad, and she quickly becomes confused about her feelings. Make sure to read if you want to find out whether or not their fake love becomes real.
“Boy With Luv” – Twilight
“Boy With Luv,” featuring Halsey, is one of the band’s more popular songs. It has a fun pop flow, and it tells the story of falling in love with someone and making them your entire world. We thought of one book immediately with a protagonist whose entire world revolved around their love interest. Our recommendation for this one is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (did you guess it?).
Twilight features the love story of human Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen. The two quickly form a bond and, later, a relationship. Soon, they become all about each other in a cliche way that most people already know about (thanks to the movies). Furthermore, despite its cheesiness and awkward moments, we can’t get enough of the two of them.
“On” – The Maze Runner
BTS’s “On” was a long-awaited comeback for the band. It has a memorable tune and features vocalist Jung Kook’s amazing talent. Also, it features some of the best misheard lyrics in all of K-pop. However, the music video is what led to our recommendation for this song, which is James Dashner’s The Maze Runner.
The Maze Runner is reminiscent of many aspects of this music video. While this music video features many characteristics from other novels, it was the references to this book that caught our eye. The video includes a giant maze and lots and lots of running, similar to the book. The Maze Runner follows the story of the book’s protagonist, Thomas, as he’s dropped into a giant maze that kills and attacks those trapped inside it. He must learn to navigate the maze and escape with the other people trapped inside with him. In addition to surviving, he must try to recover his forgotten memories and discover the truth behind the maze.
“Save Me” – Shatter Me
The oldest song on this list, “Save Me,” has continued to be one of BTS’s most popular songs. It has an unforgettable beat and some of the best dance moves from the band (which they love to make fun of and imitate). The story behind the song is being trapped inside one’s own body and wanting to escape by having someone save them. This song matches the book we chose so well that it could be the unofficial anthem of the series. The book we recommend is Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me.
Shatter Me features protagonist Juliette Ferrars, who has the power to kill those she touches. This ability has landed her in a mental institution, where she feels trapped inside her own skin. The story follows her as she is released by Warner (whose first name shall not be spoiled) and becomes a weapon of mass destruction for the government that imprisoned her. Equally important to navigating her newfound release, she must deal with her growing power. It’s a slow-burning romance throughout the series and full of twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat.
These were our book recommendations for some of the most popular BTS songs. Don’t worry if your favorite song wasn’t on the list — you can still check out these books, as they’re all fantastic reads!
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