7 Books You Should be Reading Right Now, According to TikTok
If you’ve set foot in a bookstore in the last few years, you’ll have noticed the signs/labels saying: “TikTok Made Me Buy it.” No?
Here’s an example from an online retailer — this is the kind of metadata some publishers are adding on UK Amazon. Mentioning TikTok in the book’s title helps authors appear in TikTok-related searches and gives their books a sense of social validation:
TikTok is famously most popular among Gen Z users, though it’s quickly expanding. From my standpoint as an almost Gen Z-er, the platform simultaneously makes sense and is completely alienating. It’s an interesting mix, but I’ve gone into the trenches (read: a rabbit hole of BookTok content, full of wholesome, enthusiastic readers) and returned with a list of titles I saw again, and again, and again.
These range in genre from historical and contemporary fiction to romance, YA romance, and fantasy, which shows just how many niche communities of genre fiction readers thrive on BookTok. It’s not necessarily cohesive as a reading list — but if you’re sociologically curious to know what’s going on in the world of BookTok, I hope it can help.
1. "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo stars a protagonist of the same name — a Hollywood star, who, in her 70s, decides to share her life story with a reporter who happens to be going through a divorce. Evelyn is one of those characters obituary writers call larger than life — from her wide-eyed ambitious youth to a departure from show business and seven husbands along the way, her epic life story delights TikTok reviewers with its immersive storytelling, wide scope, and flawed, complex characters. Many readers note that the protagonist’s struggles as a woman in a male-dominated industry and the obstacles put in her way because of her Cuban bisexual identity make it a fascinating experience even for readers who don’t typically read historical fiction. The numbers certainly agree!
(Note that there’s another book featuring the number seven and an Evelyn in its title, The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, a murder mystery that won a Costa Book Award in 2018. This title, too, is well-reviewed, but if you’re seeking a tale of Hollywood stardom, you’ll find it’s the wrong book!)
2. "It Ends with Us" by Colleen Hoover
This contemporary romance novel tells the story of Lilly, a young business owner recently moved to Boston. At first glance, the book seems quite predictable — she meets a man she becomes interested in, Ryle, then soon stumbles into her high-school sweetheart, leading to a complicated resurfacing of old emotions. At its core, though, Hoover looks past the characters themselves and into darker currents running through romantic relationships — things like domestic abuse and emotional manipulation.
Known for books featuring unexpected plot twists, Colleen Hoover’s name is spreading like wildfire among TikTok readers.
3. "The Love Hypothesis" by Ali Hazelwood
This love story sees Ph.D student Olive meet dashing young professor Adam. Each of them has their reasons for deciding to fake a relationship — a popular romance trope adored by readers of the genre — but, as is to be expected, the relationship gradually outgrows its “fake” label. Loved by fans for its nerdy characters, academic setting, and witty rom-com energy, this is a book many readers credit for leaving them giddy, entertained, blushing, and all-round happy. Published in the middle of a pandemic, Ali Hazelwood’s novel reached the reading world of TikTok right when it was most needed.
4. "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses is a young adult novel, loosely based on the story of Beauty and the Beast. It follows 19-year-old Feyre, a human who kills a wolf — except the wolf isn’t just a wolf, but a faerie. In line with faerie justice, she’s then held captive by a mysterious masked figure with green eyes. The fantasy romance that follows leaves readers with “heart[s] racing,” to quote a Goodreads reviewer — and of course the book wouldn’t be complete without a ‘sexy villain’ character.
5. "The Atlas Six" by Olivie Blake
Every year, the world’s best magicians are recruited into a secret group called the Alexandrian Society. The stakes? Wealth and power if you make it through, death if you’re unlucky. They’ve got to live together for a year and show their brains, using the Society’s archives to offer unique insights into magic — think Ph.D in magic meets reality TV. The rivalries, sexual tension, and distrust among the six make up a tale that’d be right at home on your dark academia shelf.
6. "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens
Where the Crawdads Sing is set in North Carolina, where young Kya, a recluse abandoned by her family and shunned by the town, lives on her own in the Marsh, finding resilience in the natural world. When a popular footballer dies under mysterious circumstances in the swamp, the town blames Kya, and the narrative combines flashbacks with fragments reporting the progress of the murder investigation. Praised for its lyricism, Where the Crawdads Sing has touched a massive number of readers with its sensitive descriptions of nature and Kya’s independent spirit.
7. "The Song of Achilles" by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles is one of the best examples of TikTok’s sheer power to sell books. Originally published in 2012, this backlist title re-surged up the charts when it began appearing on TikTok lists of devastating reads. It’s a poetic retelling of Greek mythology, a queer coming-of-age story unfolding between Achilles and Patroclus, who grow up together on Mount Pelion, then head to war in Troy. Against the violent backdrop of war, the tenderness between the two young men makes a remarkable contrast — and if you’re familiar with The Iliad, you’ll know the story isn’t going to end well.
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