I was adamant about not joining TikTok. I just didn’t understand the hype. But last year, during the seemingly never-ending quarantine, I caved out of boredom and downloaded the app. A year later and I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am completely addicted to TikTok. After joining the app, I quickly found that, like other social media apps, TikTok will recommend videos that it believes you will like (because the internet knows us all a little too well). So I quickly found myself on the self-deemed “FitnessTok” (for us gym lovers), “TravelTok,” and coming at #1 with roughly 60-70% of my content consisting of “BookTok,” a unique side of TikTok where bookworms, authors and fandom nerds unite. Currently on TikTok, the #booktok tag has over 7.3 billion views!
After joining the BookTok universe, I realized that a solid majority of the books being recommended by readers were often in the Young Adult, New Adult or Fantasy genres and I was skeptical. I haven’t read YA since I was a teenager nor have I found many fantasy novels outside of YA that I’ve enjoyed. Being the self-proclaimed book snob that I am, I was adverse to reading BookTok recommendations, because “I really only read literary fiction.” But, similarly to my boredom during quarantine, I found myself very bored and eager for a fun, easy read when I was stuck at home during the cold snap a few months ago. So, I took BookTok’s advice and began reading something new. Let’s just say I haven’t doubted BookTok’s reading recommendations since. Now-a-days, I am typically reading 2-3 books a time, and unable to keep up with my To-be-Read list which is exponentially growing thanks to both working for a library and being an avid BookTok user. Below I’ve listed a few books that I found to be either worth the hype on BookTok, or recommendations that everyone seems to be talking about that I can’t wait to read!
- “Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller
In my book, Madeline Miller can do no wrong. In this retelling of Homer’s “Iliad,” the story is told through the eyes of Patroclus, as he meets Achilles as a boy, and despite all of the ways in which they are opposites, he eventually becomes the hero’s lover. Miller weaves romance into the epic battles of the Trojan war as Achilles fights for honor while his partner Patroclus discovers the lengths he will go to to hold on to his relationship and everything he holds dear. After reading Miller’s “Circe,” I had this book on my ‘to-be-read’ list for quite some time. Once, I saw all the amazing reviews booktokers were giving it, I couldn’t wait to read it any longer!
- “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab
This one I am proud to say that I read before it blew up on TikTok. Addie makes a Faustian bargain in the early 1700s. In exchange for her soul, Addie becomes immortal. But immortality isn’t as great as it may seem when every person she ever meets is destined to forget her as soon as she leaves their sight. After 300 years, Addie has accepted her fate and lives a life of solitude; that is, until a young man tells her he remembers her.
- “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover
“It Ends with Us” is definitely a love triangle that explores its characters in depth and has multiple layers. Lily has worked incredibly hard to finish college and start her own business, moving to Boston to escape her hometown in Maine. In Boston, she meets Ryle, a neurosurgeon who is almost seemingly too good to be true. As they move closer towards being in a relationship, Lily begins to peel back his layers when her first love Atlas suddenly comes back into her life. Fans of Colleen Hoover rave about all of her books but it seems that this one is a favorite.
- “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart
For those who like psychological thrillers, this one’s for you. Cadence Sinclair spends two years in a fog after suffering an accident one summer at her family’s private island. Every year, her cousins and their friends meet up at the island but something changes the summer of her accident. As she attempts to piece together what happened, Cadence deals with family drama, romance and the many life changes brought on by the accident.
- “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo
If you’ve even had a glimpse at BookTok or are into fantasy novels, you know that the BookTok community could not be more excited about the “Shadow and Bone” adaptation that premiered on Netflix a few days ago. The Grisha Trilogy follows Alina Starkov, a seemingly ordinary girl who’s dormant power flares to life when she saves her friend. As her nation of Ravka is torn apart by the Shadow Fold, a darkness that harbors monsters, Alina learns that her power could be the key to ending the war. And so begins her training with the Grisha, a group of magical humans at the royal court.
- “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Author of “Daisy Jones and the Six,” books by Taylor Jenkins Reid always peak my interest when brought up. That’s why when BookTok couldn’t stop talking about “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” I knew it was a book I should definitely check out. Monique Grant, a unknown reporter, is shocked more than anyone when aging Hollywood actress, Evelyn Hugo, chooses her to tell the story of the star’s shocking life after years of seclusion. After going through a rough patch in her life, Monique seizes the opportunity given to her and travels to New York to meet with the actress. She learns of Evelyn’s journey into film in the 1950s, her decision to retire, and hears about all seven of her husbands. As her story enters present day, Monique learns how their lives intersect.
- “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah is one of those authors who knows how to pull readers into a story from the first page so it’s no wonder BookTok has been hyped about her newest release. Set in 1934 Texas, Elsa Martinelli is faced with an impossible decision. As the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl ravage her land and the lives of her family and everyone she knows, she must choose whether to keep the land she holds so dear or move west to California in the hopes of creating a better life for her children.
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