25 BookTok Books That Are Actually Worth the Hype
TikTok's book-loving community has no shortage of reading recommendations. But which BookTok books are worth it? We've got the answers.
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From #BookTok to bestseller
It’s no secret that TikTok has the power to skyrocket book sales, and that’s thanks to a sub-community called BookTok, which brings bibliophiles together virtually. Enthusiastic readers are flocking to the platform to discuss their favorite reads, find new (and old) authors, make relatable book content and launch BookTok books to bestselling fame—videos with the #BookTok hashtag have racked up more than 77 billion views, according to TikTok.
“In all of my years as a bookseller, I have never seen a single social media platform move books the way TikTok continues to move books,” says Kalie Barnes-Young, inventory commercial support and senior bookseller at Barnes & Noble. “Titles that may have sold a few copies one month can suddenly balloon up the next month thanks to a successful algorithm.” Barnes-Young has also seen a rise in requests for self-published titles (particularly romance novels), some of which have been acquired by traditional publishing houses. The impact of this social platform has led to surges in book sales beyond the best books of all time, putting authors, books and series on the map and shaking up the publishing industry.
So which BookTok books have gone viral? And which are worth the hype? We’ve gathered the platform’s most trending titles, including favorite genres (hello, best fantasy novels), the most talked about authors (we see you, Colleen Hoover books) and the most compelling fiction books and nonfiction books that BookTok loves.
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1. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Genre: Psychological thriller
Colleen Hoover has become one of the most popular authors on TikTok, with roughly 3.6 billion views under her name alone. It Ends with Us may be her most talked about title on the platform (2.2 billion collective views), but the white-knuckle psychological thriller Verity (506 million collective views) is our choice for compulsively readable suspense. Struggling writer Lowen accepts an offer to finish writing the rest of a bestselling series by injured author Verity Crawford. At the request of Verity’s husband, Jeremy, Lowen moves into the Crawford home to dive deeper into the famous author’s research, notes and outlines. It’s there that she finds a concerning and bone-chilling autobiography written by Verity, and soon after, inexplicably odd things begin happening to Lowen, threatening her safety.
2. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
Those familiar with BookTok may already know this Black Mirror-esque YA novel, which follows two teenage boys living in New York City during the era of Death Cast, a new technology that informs people when it’s their last day to live. The novel was first published in 2017, but in August 2020, Silvera noticed a surge in sales and couldn’t pinpoint why. A reader told him they found it from recommendations on TikTok, and currently, They Both Die at the End has 58.5 million collective views.
3. Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Talia Hibbert is beloved on TikTok, with roughly 909,000 views under The Brown Sisters hashtag and more than 19.5 million views under her name alone. And it’s easy to understand why—she writes witty, independent, relatable characters who make mistakes, learn and grow. And they also find romance. In Act Your Age, Eve Brown (the third book in The Brown Sisters series), we follow the youngest sibling. Eve is a little bit of a mess and is struggling to figure out what she wants to do in life when she comes across a bed-and-breakfast and decides to apply for an open position. She doesn’t quite ace her interview, and things worsen when she accidentally hits owner Jacob Wayne with her car. To try and make things right, she offers her assistance around his B&B and, eventually, the two become close.
4. The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
Genre: Dark fantasy
Readers who love dark academia have fallen hard for The Atlas Six, which has more than 61 million TikTok views alone. It follows the Alexandrian Society, which invites six of the brightest and most talented magical academics each year to an initiation—but only five are selected. The leader of the selective process is the enigmatic Altas Blakely, and it’s through the perspectives of six students that we see this magical competition take off.
“This is one of those titles that was previously self-published, but due to its popularity on TikTok, it was picked up by a major publisher (Macmillan),” says Barnes-Young. “To see this book go from print-on-demand to a sold-out launch event for the newly published edition in roughly one year has been a ride to witness. And it’s probably the best example of how TikTok can change an author’s entire trajectory.” Thanks to its popularity, Barnes-Young has also seen a boost in interest in dark academia vibes.
5. People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Both BookTok and Bookstagram have embraced the wonderfully rich characters that Emily Henry creates in her beach reads. Her second adult romance, People We Meet on Vacation, was published in 2021 and immediately became a bestseller, thanks to the witty dialogue and banter between Alex and Poppy, two close friends who met in college (you’ll get When Harry Met Sally vibes). Every summer, no matter what’s going on in their lives, they take a vacation together. It’s told through both past and present timelines, and in the present, we learn that the friends have experienced a falling out. In order to fix it, Poppy invites Alex on a trip to Palm Springs in hopes that they can reconnect. Will feelings get in the way?
6. Babel by R.F. Kuang
Genre: Historical fantasy
If you’re a reader who likes your fiction with a dash of re-written history, fantasy, dark academia and decadent, lush writing, then Babel, a 2022 favorite by booksellers and readers alike, isn’t one to be missed. This book has more than 7.1 million views on BookTok videos associated with its title and almost 50 million views for its author. The year is 1828, and orphan Robin Swift is brought to London by a mysterious Professor Lovell in order to study academia and silver working (uncovering meaning lost in translation) at Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation (known as Babel). But as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin begins to understand that his education at Babel is ultimately betraying his motherland. As Britain becomes closer to starting a war with China over silver and opium, Robin finds himself torn between his life at Babel and an organization designed to stop imperial expansion.
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical fiction
Have you really been on BookTok if you haven’t encountered a book by Taylor Jenkins Reid? While she has many popular titles, videos about this cult-classic historical fiction novel have more than 322 million views on the platform. Released in 2017, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo follows Monique Grant, a journalist who has been selected by the glamorous yet reclusive Hollywood starlet and movie icon, Evelyn Hugo. Evelyn wants Monique to write an exclusive story about her life, but Monique has no prior connection to Evelyn, which makes her wonder why Evelyn is intrigued by her. As the book unfolds, Monique soon discovers how her life intersects with Evelyn’s in tragic and irreversible ways. For fans who want to see Evelyn on the big (streaming) screen, Netflix announced a film adaptation of the book in 2022.
8. Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: LGBTQ+ romance
This romantic, steamy and hilariously witty queer romance has been popular on TikTok since it was published in 2022. Delilah Green Doesn’t Care follows Delilah, who didn’t think she’d find herself back in Bright Falls. But when she’s offered a big paycheck to photograph her stepsister Astrid’s wedding, she hops on a plane. Claire Sutherland is a single mom who’s raised her 11-year-old daughter mostly on her own, and she’s also one of Astrid’s closest friends. Delilah has always thought of Claire as stuck up, but the more they’re around each other throughout the wedding festivities, the closer the two become.
9. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Considered one of the best memoirs of 2022, and for good reason, I’m Glad My Mom Died is a heart-wrenching, personal story told with wit and self-reflection by former child actor Jennette McCurdy. She teased the book on TikTok leading up to the release, but once it was available, readers were quick to recommend it. Known for her character Sam on the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly, McCurdy writes about her early life acting—it was her mother who wanted her to become a star, and because she craved peace and harmony within her family, McCurdy did it to appease her mom, especially after her mother’s cancer diagnosis. In an unflinchingly honest memoir, told with both humor and grace, McCurdy recalls the dark secrets she kept on her rise to fame, including struggling with eating disorders, addiction and unhealthy relationships.
10. My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Genre: Literary fiction
Moshfegh’s 2018 novel has always been popular among literary fiction fans. On TikTok though, it started going viral among those whose For You page looked like the 2014 Tumblr aesthetic. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a dark, witty satire told from the viewpoint of an unreliable and self-proclaimed beautiful narrator who has graduated from Columbia University and lives in New York City. This unnamed narrator is trendy and pretty, but she’s also unhappy. That’s when she comes up with a plan: She’ll spend the year sleeping under the influence of prescribed medication—resting. After all, her wacky and not-so-ethical therapist is prescribing the pills, so it really can’t be any easier. But the more she ascends into sleep, the more she begins to alienate herself from the world, including her best friend.
11. Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Genre: Contemporary fiction
From the author of Homecoming is another widely loved novel by a favorite Black author, which spread across social media platforms when it was released in 2020. Set in Alabama, Transcendent Kingdom tells a story of a Ghanaian family: Gifty is a fifth-year neuroscience candidate at Stanford studying the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother was a talented athlete who died after a knee injury left him addicted to opioids. Now, her mother is suicidal, and Gifty wants to understand those who are struggling, on a scientific level. On top of this, she finds herself drawn to the evangelical church where she was raised, perhaps as something of a comfort, even though it offers more questions than answers.
12. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
Genre: Contemporary romance
This is the ultimate summer read: Search Every Summer After on TikTok, and you’ll find videos with more than 30 million combined views. It was eagerly consumed by voracious readers when it was published in 2022, and that’s thanks to the coming-of-age love story. Set in Canada and told in past and present timelines, the book follows 30-year-old Percy as she returns to her childhood lake house in Barry’s Bay after learning Sam’s mother has passed away. Sam and Percy were childhood best friends who grew up spending summers at their neighboring lake houses, but their friendship imploded somewhere along the way. Old feelings arise when Percy and Sam see each other, despite being at very different places in their individual lives.
13. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 gothic historical fiction novel has found quite the fan base in bookstores, on social media platforms and even in Hollywood—it’s currently in development as a Hulu original series produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos. One of the best recent books by Latinx authors, Mexican Gothic follows Noemí Taboada, a glamorous debutante who rushes to her cousin’s side in the isolated Mexican countryside. But the two uncover eerie, menacing mysteries and dark secrets within her cousin’s new husband’s family home.
14. It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
Genre: Contemporary romance
This 2021 romance launched to viral fame by word of mouth, and videos about the BookTok book now have more than 200 million views on TikTok. It Happened One Summer follows a fallen it-girl (compared to Alexis Rose from Schitt’s Creek) who is forced out of Los Angeles and into a desolate small town in Washington where she must work at her late father’s dive bar with her sister in order to learn some responsibility. Throw in a grumpy sea captain and this enemies-to-lovers romance is a recipe for some deliciously spicy tension.
15. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Romantic fantasy
BookTok loves fantasies filled with slow-burn, steamy enemies-to-lovers romance, and author Sarah J. Maas delivers. Search her name, and videos associated with the author alone have more than 1.8 billion views. A Court of Thorns and Roses is one of her most popular book series, and it’s a Beauty and the Beast fantasy retelling that follows a girl named Feyre, who (after slaying a predator in the woods) is forced out of her home and must live among fairy folk. The first book finds her captured by the Fae Prince Tamlin. Feyre is able to live comfortably in his home, as long as she obeys his rules, but Tamlin is hiding something from Feyre, and she soon discovers that she’s a necessary part of breaking his curse.
16. Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
Ocean Vuong has found a readership on TikTok that deeply appreciates his lush poetry. Time Is a Mother is his latest work, and it’s filled with tender, heartbreaking and emotional writing. In intimate grief and vulnerability, the Asian American author explores themes of loss and memory after the death of his mother in this illuminating collection.
17. Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Genre: Romantic fantasy
After its debut in 2022, Daughter of the Moon Goddess was highly discussed among readers both on and offline and named one of the best fantasy BookTok books by many. “This book is a lovely intersection between two types of reads that often trend on TikTok: romantic fantasy and mythology,” says Barnes-Young. In a story inspired by the legend of Chang’e, we’re introduced to Xingyin, who grew up on the moon alongside her mother. But when her magic gives her away to the Celestial Empire, she’s forced to flee. She disguises her identity and makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom in order to save her mother, striking a dangerous bargain in order to do so.
“I’ve been noticing a huge rise in Eastern-based fantasy books—from R.F. Kuang’s more brutal The Poppy War to young adult fare, such as Axie Oh’s The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea,” says Barnes-Young. “The crossover appeal is most likely why I see so many readers giving this a spin. More than a year out from publication, and it’s still a strong seller, even without my voracious hand-selling (which I do!)”
18. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Genre: YA dystopian
First published in 2011, this dystopian book is the first installment in the author’s bestselling young adult book series that found a new wave of enthusiastic readers on TikTok (with more than 1.3 billion views under Shatter Me). Given Mafi’s unique and distinct voice, it’s easy to see why. Juliette is a teenager who has been locked up by the Reestablishment because she possesses a fatal touch. Then she’s introduced to Warner and Adam, two very different types of people, who influence Juliette to make a choice—is she a weapon or a warrior?
19. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Genre: Literary fiction
If you haven’t heard the overwhelmingly emotional reaction to Yanagihara’s 2015 book A Little Life online, then let us warn you: Grab tissues before diving in. The National Book Award finalist has national acclaim and is widely mentioned on TikTok by readers whose hearts have been eviscerated by it. A Little Life follows four classmates from a small college in Massachusetts who move to New York to follow their dreams and ambitions. Over the next decade, trauma and unforeseen challenges leave their mark on each character, tinging their lives with bleak realities.
20. Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Genre: LGBTQ+ romance
McQuiston’s 2019 romance Red White & Royal Blue will soon be adapted into a movie on Prime Video, but for now, you can read the novel on which it’s based. The favorite LGBTQ+ BookTok book follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of President Ellen Claremont (who is about to kick off her reelection bid). But when a confrontation between Alex and the royal Prince Henry escalates to the media, President Claremont forces Alex to play nice for optics. So what happens when a fake friendship leads to a very real romance?
21. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Contemporary fiction
“Does this come in paperback?” That’s one of the most common questions Barnes-Young receives as a bookseller. “But I rarely get that question with Zevin. Folks are snapping Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow up in droves, regardless of the deeper [hardcover] price tag. I see readers of all ages and reading preferences buying it,” she says.
This 2022 coming-of-age book about friendship follows Sadie and Sam, two childhood friends who met in middle school and bonded over their love for video games. After reuniting in college in the late ’80s, they decide to program a video game of their own. And with the help of Sam’s roommate, Marx, the three create Ichigo—which becomes a massive hit. But each character deals with their success and individual ambition in different ways, leading to tension, fallout and heartache as they try to navigate careers.
“We’re selling more copies of this book now than we did in its first months of release, which is rare when it comes to hardcovers that have been, historically speaking, front-loaded in terms of sales. Zevin continues to break that trend.”
22. She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Genre: Historical fantasy
She Who Became the Sun is beloved by readers on TikTok and Instagram, with more than 8.5 million views on videos discussing the historical fantasy novel. In the story, set in an alternate 1345 China, a girl is forced to use her brother’s identity after he tragically passes in order to enter a monastery as a young male novice. But when her new haven is destroyed, she must take on the greatness her brother was destined for in order to create real change.
23. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genre: LGBTQ+ YA contemporary fiction
This beloved coming-of-age book was released 11 years ago, but it’s still a widely loved tale by readers online. Sáenz’s contemporary LGBTQ+ novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is set in Texas during the ’80s, where he introduces us to two boys, Dante and Ari. The story follows the challenges of their powerful friendship and the all-encompassing love they share for each other.
24. Bunny by Mona Awad
Genre: Literary/satirical horror
Bunny, which was published in 2019, is one of those BookTok books that truly captivated TikTok readers thanks to its uniqueness. It’s an eerie horror novel meets literary satire that follows outsider Samantha Heather Mackey, who attends New England’s Warren University as part of an MFA program. One thing Samantha can’t stand is the vapid rich-girl “Bunny” clique, but everything changes when she’s extended an invitation to their sinister yet saccharine world.
25. Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
Genre: LGBTQ+ YA historical
Lo’s National Book Award–winning and Stonewall Book Award–winning young adult novel has gained a huge readership and fan base on TikTok. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a sapphic historical novel set in 1954 San Francisco and follows 17-year-old Lily Hu, a Chinese American teen, who meets Kathleen Miller at a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Although this isn’t a safe time for two girls to fall in love, Lily and Kathleen risk it all to be together.