TikTok Has Spoken: You Need to Read These 31 Books ASAP
If you haven't taken a deep dive into BookTok, what are you waiting for? Just like the name suggests, BookTok is the corner of TikTok where book-lovers share thoughts and reviews about the books they love — and the books they don't. It's also a place where readers can connect with each other, build community, and even connect with their favorite authors. No matter what genres you enjoy reading, there are definitely some BookTok favorites that will help you find the next read to add to your never-ending TBR list!
Spend enough time on BookTok, and you'll definitely notice some titles getting mentioned over and over again. These BookTok trends have ranged from building anticipation for brand-new releases to rediscovering older books and turning them into hits all over again. Several BookTok favorite reads have even gotten enough hype to attract the attention of Hollywood, and they'll be coming soon to a TV or a movie theater near you.
Whatever kind of book recommendation you're looking for right now, we can pretty much guarantee that BookTok has some great ideas for you! Pick up one (or more) of these trending BookTok favorites — and remember, "A #BookTok recommendation" is one of the prompts on the 2023 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge!
— Additional reporting by Melissa Santoyo and Madeleine Fournier
"The Atlas Six" by Olivie Blake
Originally self-published, Olivie Blake's fantasy novel "The Atlas Six" ($12) became a viral sensation on BookTok, leading to a traditional republication and a spot on bestseller lists. The story follows a group of magicians invited to compete for places in the powerful Alexandrian Society, guaranteeing them a life of power and prestige. Six magicians are selected — but there are only five spots available, forcing them to compete with each other for a place in the mysterious secret society.
"Babel" by R.F. Kuang
R.F. Kuang's "Babel" ($19) is set in an alternate version of 19th-century London, where Robin, an orphaned Chinese boy, is brought to London by an English professor to study translation at the prestigious (and magical) Royal Institute of Translation. As he grows older, however, Robin learns more about how the Institute and its magic are used to further Britain's imperial and colonial aims. He is torn between loyalty to those who took him in and loyalty to his homeland. At the same time, a shadowy anticolonial institution battles Babel, and a war over silver and opium looms.
"Book Lovers" by Emily Henry
Emily Henry's previous books have been BookTok favorites, so it's no surprise that her most recent romance, "Book Lovers" ($10), has also trended in the community. Nora is a high-powered literary agent with a knack for getting dumped — if her life were a Hallmark movie, she'd be the "city girlfriend" who gets left behind when her boyfriend meets a small-town sweetheart. When she reluctantly agrees to accompany her sister on a summer trip, she's appalled to find her professional nemesis, book editor Charlie, also in the same town. Thrown together over the course of the summer, Nora and Charlie may be able to write a different kind of ending for themselves.
"A Good Girl's Guide to Murder" by Holly Jackson
If you love a good mystery thriller, then "A Good Girl's Guide to Murder" ($7) by Holly Jackson is for you. The town of Fairview has its own true-crime tale: the murder of high school senior Andie by her boyfriend Sal, who then ended his own life. Five years later, another high school senior, Pip, reopens the closed case to prove Sal innocent. But, the deeper she digs, the more the case unravels — and the clearer it becomes that someone doesn't want her investigating.
"Honey & Spice" by Bolu Babalola
"Honey & Spice" ($15) by Bolu Babalola is packed with all the tropes BookTok loves: enemies-to-lovers romance, fake dating, and more. College radio host Kiki has made a name for herself by advising other women, especially the women of the campus African-Caribbean Society, to help them avoid heartache. When Kiki is caught kissing Malakai, the guy she's just denounced on air, the duo decide that faking a relationship is their best shot at salvaging their reputations and futures. Of course, the time they spend together soon leads to a real connection, if only they can overcome the obstacles they've put in the way.
"The Inheritance Games" by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
For everyone who loves "Knives Out" or "The Westing Game," "The Inheritance Games" ($9) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes has all the inheritance drama and mystery you could ask for. Ordinary teenager Avery has her life turned upside down when a puzzle-obsessed billionaire she's never met dies and leaves her nearly his entire fortune. She's forced to move into his family's mansion, filled with secrets and riddles, to figure out why she was chosen. Meanwhile, his overlooked family — including his grandsons, Grayson and Jameson — views her with suspicion or outright hostility. Avery will have to solve these mysteries to make it out alive.
"Mexican Gothic" by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
While BookTok is best known for its YA and romance recommendations, "Mexican Gothic" ($13) by Silvia Moreno-Garcia opens up another side of the community: horror fans. After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin, debutante Noemí goes to investigate and potentially rescue her cousin from a dangerous situation. When she arrives at their isolated house, she's immediately wary of her cousin's husband, his mysterious family, and even the house itself, which seems to have something supernatural hanging in the air. It will take all of Noemí's strength to discover the truth and save her cousin — and herself — from the secrets hidden there.
"This Is How You Lose the Time War" by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone collaborated on "This Is How You Lose the Time War" ($9), a sweeping, romantic, sci-fi epic. A single letter sparks a connection between rival time-traveling agents on opposite sides of a complicated war. The more they write to one another, the more they fall in love, but their bond could cost them both their lives, and the war still rages around them with no clear exit in sight.
"Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" by Gabrielle Zevin
"Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" ($15) by Gabrielle Zevin traces the evolution of a friendship from a childhood meeting through growing apart, going into business together, and all the fallout from fame and fortune. Years after losing touch, Sam and Sadie reconnect in college and collaborate on developing video games, launching them to wild success and acclaim. Despite their wealth and success, they are still both ambitious for more and unsure of how to handle their complicated emotions, leading them to decisions that reverberate for decades for themselves and those around them.
"Wicked Beauty" by Katee Robert
Over on the side of BookTok that's all about the "spice," Katee Roberts's "Dark Olympus" series is one of the staples to discuss. The latest entry in the series, "Wicked Beauty" ($7), retells the myths of Achilles and Patroclus and Helen of Troy. When Zeus decrees a competition to be the new Ares — and wed Helen — partners Achilles and Patroclus both enter to double their odds of winning. Helen herself enters too, and soon finds herself attracted to both men. But can the trio trust each other in the heat of competition?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
In Taylor Jenkins Reid's "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo," ($9) actress Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the story of her life and picks unknown journalist Monique Grant to tell it. Don't let the title fool you — this Old Hollywood romance novel is filled with forbidden love, historical fiction, and shocking twists.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Beyond the edges of the universe, there is a library with an infinite amount of books that all tell the story of another reality. One book is about your life as it is now, and every other book tells the story of the life you could have had if you made a different choice. What if you got to go to the library and see those lives for yourself? In "The Midnight Library" ($14), Nora Seed has the opportunity to do just that and finds what makes her life worth living in the first place.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
What would happen if you could live forever, but everyone you met was doomed to forget you? That's the fate of Addie LaRue in V. E. Schwab's novel "The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue." ($10) Until, 300 years later, she meets someone in a bookstore who remembers her name.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
An adaptation of Homer's "Iliad" as told from the perspective of Patroclus doesn't sound like it would be sob-inducing, but here we are. You don't need a background in Greek mythology to enjoy Madeline Miller's fantastical tale, "The Song of Achilles" ($10) — just a heart for romance novels.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Of course, we have to include Madeline Miller's second book, "Circe" ($11), a retelling of "The Odyssey" from Circe's point of view. Although it's not a sequel to "Song of Achilles," it's better to read that one first before tackling this gorgeous piece of prose. (Be warned, there are a few graphic scenes in this book.)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
"Red, White & Royal Blue" ($10) by Casey McQuiston might be #Booktok's most popular recommendation. What's better than a romance between the son of the president of the United States and the prince of England? Nothing. Absolutely nothing . . . except maybe the upcoming film adaptation!
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This high fantasy adventure novel is filled with TikTok favorite tropes — slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers, and love triangles fill this steamy novel to the brim. "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas ($11), set in the fantastical world of Prythian, feels as if George R.R. Martin rewrote classic fairy tales — and the second book is sure to emotionally wreck you.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
This book isn't for the faint of heart, but it has been revered by TikTokers for its gorgeous prose. "A Little Life" ($12) follows four friends as they move to 1960s New York to start their post-college lives. As the decades pass, their relationships both deepen and fray, with addiction, jealousy, success, and pride leaving prints on their lives. At the center of it is Jude, a talented litigator who is also scarred by a horrific childhood and haunted by his trauma.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
In this captivating romance with realistic characters, Lily seems to have it all. She graduated from college, moved from her small town in Maine to Boston, and started her own business — and when she feels a spark with Ryle, a neurosurgeon, everything seems too good to be true. So when Atlas Corrigan, her first love, returns to her life, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened, and she must figure out what the ultimate price is for love. "It Ends With Us" ($10) has readers rooting for characters on all sides.
Content warning: "It Ends With Us" contains descriptions of domestic abuse.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
Described as "1984" meets "The Umbrella Academy" with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in, TJ Klune's "The House in the Cerulean Sea" ($10) sounds like a great read just from that Gail Carriger quote. The novel follows Linus Baker, a case-worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth who is tasked with figuring out if six children are capable of bringing about the end of the world, and the found family trope will completely tug at your heartstrings.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera's "They Both Die at the End" ($8) is both an easy read and one that will almost certainly leave you in a puddle of tears at the end. This futuristic LGBTQ+ novel takes place in a world where death is forecasted in advance, and two strangers meet up for one single day, right before they're about to die, to have the adventure of a lifetime together.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
"The Unhoneymooners" ($8) is a fun, enemies-to-lovers book that follows the unlucky Olive who has a rare stroke of luck after her twin sister's wedding. When the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only person who can go on Ami's all-expenses-paid honeymoon is Olive . . . and Olive's arch-nemesis, Ethan. Olive and Ethan must put their mutual hatred aside and pretend to be newlyweds for the sake of their free vacation, but the weirdest thing is that it's not hard to pretend to be in love with Ethan. In fact, Olive finds herself falling for him, and everything begins to fall apart.
A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair
If you love adult fan fiction, this retelling of the love story between Hades and Persephone is for you. Scarlett St. Clair's "A Touch of Darkness" ($28) is filled with sexy scenes, romantic tension between the main characters, and the king of the underworld . . . baking. What more could you ask for?
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
If you missed reading E. Lockhart's "We Were Liars" ($6) in high school, this YA book is worth a read. Get to know the (not-so) perfect, wealthy Sinclair family and what happens to 15-year-old Cadence and the other three "liars" on the Sinclairs' private summer island.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
If you're a fan of rom-coms, you'll love Ali Hazelwood's "The Love Hypothesis." ($11) Third-year Ph.D. candidate Olive doesn't believe in love but to get her nagging, hopeless romantic best friend off her back she enters a twisted fake dating ploy with an infuriating (albeit attractive) professor. All's fair in love and science!
Twisted Love by Ana Huang
The first book in this series by Ana Huang, "Twisted Love" ($14) explores the unlikely yet sensual romance between two polar opposite people, each with their own respective issues and haunted past. If you're a sucker for steamy novels and the "falling in love with your best friend's brother trope," this one's for you.
The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Fake dating meets enemies-to-lovers in Elena Armas' novel "The Spanish Love Deception." ($15) When Lina lies about her handsome American boyfriend, she'll need someone to play the role at her sister's wedding in Spain. Her very attractive and very annoying co-worker steps in to help, much to her chagrin and our delight.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Workplace hijinks abound in Sally Thorne's novel "The Hating Game." ($12) Your traditional office romance gets the enemies-to-lovers twist in this novel where two opposite personalities consistently clash over what protagonist Lucy concludes must be shared hatred, right? (Wrong!)
Verity by Colleen Hoover
For fans of all things intriguing and suspenseful, this intense mystery thriller by Colleen Hoover is sure to satisfy. "Verity" ($11) follows the story of Lowen, a down-on-her-luck writer, who endeavors to finish the novels of Verity, a famous author who gets injured and is unable to do so herself. In Verity's home, however, Lowen stumbles upon the author's terrible secrets and struggles with how to proceed, especially in light of her budding feelings for Verity's husband.
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
Hollywood it girl meets seaside hometown hottie in this fun enemies-to-lovers page-turner. "It Happened One Summer" ($12) by Tessa Bailey tells the story of Piper Bellinger, an LA wild child who gets financially cut off after an alcohol-induced scandal lands her behind bars. Sent back to her hometown in Washington for the summer, she butts heads with a local sea captain.