The best books to read if you love the Warped Tour

Jay Crownover Author Of Rule
By Jay Crownover

Who am I?

My two passions in life have always been music and reading. I was a punk rock girl, with wildly colored hair and a plethora of tattoos, who has never missed a chance to lose herself in a romance novel. I love it when my two favorite things collide in wonderful ways. I still read whatever I can get my hands on, but now I write some of those beloved books as well. Several of them have been bestsellers and many are published in various languages. My mosh-pit days are long gone, but you can still find me at a Social Distortion concert whenever they come to town. If you’ve got a rebellious heart and an ear for music that isn’t as mainstream, I’m sure you will love these books I recommended as much as I do.

I wrote...


By Jay Crownover,

Book cover of Rule

What is my book about?

Rule is a new adult novel that encompasses what it’s like to figure yourself out when you finally step out into the world on your own. What it means to live and love on your own terms. It also focuses heavily on a bunch of different subcultures one might run into in their twenties… the same way I did.

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters. Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight – A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn't want – and the only person she's never tried to please. She isn't afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won't listen. The first Marked Men novel in Jay Crownover's combustible New Adult series.

The books I picked & why

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Punk 57

By Penelope Douglas,

Book cover of Punk 57

Why this book?

I love Penelope’s style of writing. We both started writing new adult novels around the same time. Her books are full of angst and rebellion. They also speak very much to being comfortable in your own skin and following your heart wherever it may lead. I love that the heroine is a badass and super defiant. I love that she’s got a hobby that hovers on being illegal. I also love the heavy emo vibe the hero gives off. He is the perfect band boy boyfriend

It is such a fun read. It feels young but also adult at the same time. I love the emotion, and the constant pull of wondering if the characters are making the right choices. I also like the edge that Pen’s writing has. I feel like we have that in common in our work which is why she stays at the top of my favorites list.


By Mindi Scott,

Book cover of Freefall

Why this book?

Freefall deals with some really heavy issues facing a lot of young adults, and because this is one of the few books I’ve ever picked up where the hero is into rockabilly and physcobilly. He even plays a standup bass in a garage band. This book is also very age-appropriate, so it can be enjoyed by a wider audience than my books and some of my more grown-up recommendations.

I loved it because I felt like it dealt with the subject of depression and self-harm in a really relatable and compassionate way. I could feel the struggle of these kids through the pages. I also liked how it relayed that music can be healing no matter what genre the music may be.

I read this book as an adult and remember thinking that I wish I had something similar to read when I was younger. And as an adult, I loved seeing a type of music and subculture I personally love on the pages. Those rockabilly boys have great style and cool hair, there should be more heroes like them in romance novels!

A Rush of Wings: Book One of the Maker's Song

By Adrian Phoenix,

Book cover of A Rush of Wings: Book One of the Maker's Song

Why this book?

A Rush of Wings has literally so many different types of romance in it. Technically, it's an Urban Fantasy romance, but really, it has romantic suspense elements, paranormal romance elements, contemporary romance elements, rockstar romance elements. It is so freaking good. And the reason it fits this list so well is that the hero is not only a moody, mouthy vampire who looks like someone in his early twenties, he is 100% based on Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails. Complete with leather pants, boots, and torn t-shirts. Plus allllll the goth accessories.

I love the dichotomy of having a grungy-goth rockstar and an FBI agent as the protagonist. I love that it’s set in New Orleans and the club scene it portrays. The overall vibe is very dense and dark, which fits really well with the main character and his band. I also loved that the heroine is an FBI agent and takes no shit from anyone, not even the vampires she ends up getting involved with. And I adored that she was supposed to be proving that he was guilty of a crime, but instead ended up saving him. I’m weak for that enemy to lovers trope across all romance.

This is just generally being one of my favorite books of all time even before I got into writing myself, now, as an author, I can see how one can blend multiple types of genres together in a single story. I also think this is the first book that I read where I really, truly was rooting for the anti-hero. I love the idea that it’s not only the good guys, and the nice guys who deserve love and affection. The heroine is also pretty flawed. So, in that same vein of thinking, messy girls, the ones who some readers will find unlikeable, really deserve to have their stories told just like the good girls do.

Night Shifts Black

By Alyson Santos,

Book cover of Night Shifts Black

Why this book?

The writing is lyrical and lovely. This is a different kind of rockstar romance. It’s haunting and super emotional. This is another book that I feel would benefit someone having a hard time and another one that reinforces that music can be powerful and healing. Alyson is a musician herself and wrote all the music in the series. I think that makes it extra special. This is also a tamer type of romance so a wider audience can enjoy it.

I love that it clearly shows you can have everything at your fingertips but still be unhappy and unfulfilled. It’s a great story that normalizes anxiety and depression, even for those who seem to be on top of the world. I also adore how open and accepting the heroine is. Not that she’s a pushover, she’s just very understanding of the hero's struggles.

As a romance writer and reader, I really think the biggest value in this story is taking a common theme in the genre, normal girl meets super famous rockstar, and turning it into something more. There are a lot of beloved tropes in romance across the board, and just because there are a lot of stories with those tropes, doesn’t mean they aren’t done well or that they won’t be impactful and full of emotion and deeper meaning. This book is a good reminder to always look below the surface.


By Kennedy Ryan,

Book cover of Grip

Why this book?

This book is on the list because I read it, then I immediately read it again, then I immediately messaged Kennedy and told her my mind was blown. It’s also on the list because the Warped tour always had a pretty diverse lineup when I attended when I was younger. There were as many people there for Cypress Hill as there were for Bad Religion back in my day. The hero in this book is a rapper and into hip hop instead of the other scenes I’m more familiar with. But Kenndy brought him, and the music to life in this series.

I just loved the whole vibe of it. It feels current and timely. It feels important. It’s the type of book to open your eyes and prompt important conversations, but still has all the sexy and sentimental romance goodness. Give me an opposites attracting romance any day of the week and I will love every word of it.

This is a romance novel that can teach you something as you’re reading it. And as an author while reading it, it becomes very apparent you can tell a romance story that doesn’t shy away from real-world issues and conflicts if you do it right. Romance can be more than feel-good fluff in the right hands. Not that there's anything wrong with feel-good fluff! There’s room for a bit of everything in romance, just like there was a stage for just a little bit of everything at the Warped Tour. :)

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