I’m your typical millennial TikTok user. You know, the one who consumes the most viral videos when they emerge weeks later in my Instagram feed. I’m still mildly wary of the platform where I am decidedly a lurker, not yet an active creator. I forget about TikTok for days on end, partially in an honest attempt to not get sucked into another social media platform but also because I am still slightly bewildered by it all. However, there is one thing that entices me to open the app. Fellow elder millennials, listen up. Let me tell you about a magical little place called #BookTok.

In a nutshell: BookTok is a (massive) corner of the app where users post quick videos, reviewing and recommending novels that generally fall within the genre of young adult and romance. They’re passionate and creative—and there are even fantasy accounts dedicated to fan-favorite characters featured in the most popular TikTok books.

It’s a collection of young, impassioned readers inspiring countless others to join the club, of which they are in packs (the hashtag is currently sitting at nearly 90 billion views). And while it can’t quite be quantified, we do know that BookTok is driving book sales and even publishing deals thanks to this wildfire word-of-mouth trend.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

Image by Michelle Nash

What is a TikTok book?

A TikTok book is quite simply a book that has organically gained popularity on the app. This is very much about judging a book by its cover, and no shame in that. Once you’ve spent some time in this world, you can easily spot the signs. There is often a fantasy element with romance at the center. You’ll find book recommendations based on popular tropes like “forced proximity,” “who did this to you,” and of course, “enemies to lovers.”

Why is BookTok so popular?

Like any good trend, BookTok simply makes reading cool again. It’s introducing young readers to a world beyond a syllabus. One where they can escape their own lives through a relatable main character on a fantastical journey. The pandemic changed everything—including the way we read and hear about books. The BookTok community bridged the gap with videos titled, “books that will make you fall in love with reading,” and “books that left me heartbroken and shattered for days.” In short, BookTok positions reading as accessible—aspirational, even.

Which TikTok books are actually good?

Time for the big reveal! I recruited longtime Camille Styles editor, actual TikTok user, and all-around book lover Bridget Chambers to help me review as many TikTok bestsellers as possible. We read 18 TikTok books and, spoiler, they don’t all pass the hype test. However, there are some true winners here and they are all terribly juicy, engrossing, and oh-so-perfect for the cozy reading season.

The following list is in order by author’s last name. And a few titles are in development for film or TV—I left you a note just for funsies.

Image by Michelle Nash

1. The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Review: As much as I love to curl up with a book, it’s rare that I [neglect my family to] read an entire book in a single day. But this one had me hooked from line one—I just had to know who did it. Even a slight predictability couldn’t keep me from thoroughly enjoying the ride. If you like a plot that takes off like a runaway train and keeps pace until the very end, you’ll love this whodunnit where the perfectly cast Irish setting takes center stage. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a television near you? The author hinted that The Guest List has been optioned as a TV series—time will tell.

Worth the hype? Yes

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. And then someone turns up dead.u003c/pu003e

2. Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

Genre: Fiction

Review: Every Summer After is the perfect summertime read about a summertime romance between best friends. It’s People We Meet on Vacation meets The Summer I Turned Pretty, and had me incredibly attached to and invested in every character. My only complaint is that the ending felt a bit rushed, but that’s probably because I didn’t want it to end at all. — Bridget 

Worth the hype? Yes

Every Summer After by Carley Fortune

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Told over the course of six years and one weekend, Every Summer After is a big, sweeping nostalgic story of love and the people and choices that mark us forever.u003c/pu003e

3. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Horror Fiction

Review: October is the perfect time to pick up this slightly scary and yet very engrossing novel. It’s the perfect book to correspond with spooky season without being pure horror. Personally, I’m not a horror fan but I do love a good mystery with a dark and looming house involved. This one does get a little bit icky but it didn’t keep me up at night. I’d read it again. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a streaming service near you—Mexican Gothic is in development as a Hulu Original Series produced by Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos.

Worth the hype? Yes

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place… but may soon find it impossible to ever leave the enigmatic house behind.u003c/pu003e

4. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Genre: Fiction Romance

Review: I was on the hunt for a breezy romcom and had high hopes for The Wedding Date. The meet-cute is indeed cute but unfortunately, I found it a bit eye-roll-inducing throughout. I didn’t find the characters to be likable or super reliable and the open-door scenes felt more gratuitous than anything else. However, the end was (again) cute and it was a decent palette cleanser between novels. — Brittany

Worth the hype? No. (But—if you like a lighter comfort read then you might like this.)

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.u003c/pu003e

5. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Genre: Science Fiction

Review: Along with the stellar reviews and numerous recommendations, I was first drawn to the magic-adjacent aspect of this story. A library where you can “try on” different lives? I needed to know more. But for some reason, I just never found myself lost in the story. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to—I found it quite sad (if not also beautiful) and a bit predictable. Still, I do enjoy Matt Haig’s writing style, and yes, I’m in the minority as The Midnight Library has amassed nearly 200 thousand reviews and 4.5 stars on Amazon. (Trigger warning: the story centers around an attempted suicide.) — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a movie theater near you—StudioCanal and Blueprint Pictures have optioned the film rights.

Worth the hype? No. (But—this is an award-winning book and if you’re at all intrigued, then I do recommend giving it a shot.)

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Nora Seed finds herself in a library between life and death with the chance to experience all the potential lives she could have lived.u003c/pu003e

6. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction

Review: This book is a beautiful, heartbreaking, empowering epic-adjacent story and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I typically avoid books that will 100% make me cry but with Kirstin Hannah, it always feels earned and worthwhile. This one was made all the more better with some perfect casting in my head, Gwendoline Christie (aka, Game of Thrones’ Brienne of Tarth) as Elsa Wolcott. — Brittany

Worth the hype? Yes

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Texas, 1921. The Great War is over, the bounty of land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli…u003c/pu003e

Image by Belathée Photography

7. The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction

Review: Bridget has long sung the praises of this beautiful novel and I am in utter agreement. It is a story stunningly told of two sisters in war-torn France, where both the characters and the setting vividly come to life in beautiful, easy prose. If you’ve yet to pick it up, this is your sign. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a movie theater near you—real-life sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning have been cast as Vianne and Isabelle.

Worth the hype? Yes

The Nightengale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e The stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion, and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France. A heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women.u003c/pu003e

8. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Genre: Fiction Romance

Review: What’s a TikTok book roundup without an Emily Henry novel? I’m new to the delightful world of Emily Henry, I must admit, and this was the perfect introduction. Henry masters the art of the rom-com. The story is fun and witty, the characters’ nuances feel earned, and the lightness is well-balanced with grounded storytelling. I’m officially joining the Emily Henry fan club. — Brittany

Worth the hype? Yes

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Instead of picnics in meadows, or run-ins with a handsome country doctor or bulging-forearmed bartender, Nora Stephens keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, a bookish brooding editor from back in the city. It would be a meet-cute if not for the fact that they’ve met many times and it’s never been cute…u003c/pu003e

9. Verity by Colleen Hoover

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Review: This might be a very controversial opinion, but Verity is by far my favorite Colleen Hoover novel. While Hoover is most popular for her romance novels, Verity is a thriller that kept me turning pages long after my bedtime… and then made me too scared to turn off the lights. It’s one of those books that has you thinking about it long after you read the last page and contains one of my favorite endings to discuss with friends. — Bridget  

Worth the hype? Yes

Verity by Colleen Hoover

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish…u003c/pu003e

10. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Genre: Fiction Romance

Review: I have heard and seen more about It Ends With Us than any other TikTok book. It’s in the process of becoming a movie, and I have no doubt that the movie will garner the same level of attention. Perhaps because the hype was so intense, I felt slightly let down by the book, considering I didn’t have the same visceral reaction that everyone else seems to have. This book does deserve a trigger warning, however, considering it discusses some harsh realities about domestic abuse. — Bridget

Coming Soon: A movie, potentially. The rights were purchased by Justin Baldoni’s company Wayfarer Entertainment in 2019.

Worth the hype? No. (But—only because the hype was INTENSE.)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened…u003c/pu003e

11. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Genre: Fiction Romance

Review: Love and Other Words is a very similar read as Every Summer After, which is probably why I liked it so much. I’m a sucker for a good best friends-turned-lovers plot, and Macy’s and Elliot’s story is one of my favorites. They are a testament that some bonds truly can never be broken and if something is meant to be, it will be. Even though it’s a fictional story, it warmed my heart to the fullest. — Bridget

Worth the hype? Yes 

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion.u003c/pu003e

12. A Court of Thorns and Roses The Series by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Review: And now we come to the series that launched a thousand (more like a million) BookTokers. I decided to pick up the first book in the series to see what all the hype was about. The PLAN was to stop there and read a few more TikTok books to provide the most reviews I could muster. Friends, I have let you down. Or have I… ?

I am currently savoring book five in this ongoing series. The hype was real, at least for me. I love a plot-driven, world-building, good versus evil story. I love a character who’s special in ways yet to be revealed. I love a love story with tension (that enemies-to-lovers trope is a good one). If any of those sound appealing to you, welcome to the world of—as the BookTokers call it—ACOTR. (P.S. It gets a little spicy.) — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a streaming service near you. Hulu has optioned the rights with Outlander showrunner Ron Moore at the helm.

Worth the hype? Yes

A Court of Thorns and Roses The Series by Sarah J. Maas

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Follow Feyre’s journey into the dangerous, alluring world of the Fae, where she will lose her heart, face her demons, and learn what she is truly capable of.u003c/pu003e

Image by Michelle Nash

13. Throne of Glass The Series by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance

Review: Before there was ACOTR, there was the Throne of Glass series. I actually read this series first even though it’s not the most popular of the two. And I enjoyed it for a few reasons, one of which is a bit unexpected.

You see, Sarah J. Maas began writing her first novel, the first in this series, at sixteen years old. Yep. And what I found to be truly engaging throughout the series was simply witnessing her writing grow and mature with each book. I also loved the unexpected twists and turns that Maas is now known for. There are seven books in the series and my favorite character (Yrene, perfectly imagined in my head as Zendayah) shows up in book six. — Brittany

P.S. Despite my love for the story, I was always totally thrown off by the covers and it seems marketing got the memo. The books re-release in February 2023 with sleek new covers.

Worth the hype? Yes

Throne of Glass The Series by Sarah J. Maas

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e In a land without magic, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She has no love for the vicious king who rules from his throne of glass, but she has not come to kill him. She has come to win her freedom. Her name is Celaena Sardothien— beautiful, deadly, and destined for greatness.u003c/pu003e

14. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was the first #BookTok book that I read. It immediately transported me to the glory days of Old Hollywood and sucked me into the world of the rich and famous that isn’t as fabulous as it’s chalked up to be. Evelyn Hugo is a character who everybody will feel and root for, envy and pity. Fun fact: All of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books have characters that cross over from novel to novel, so Malibu Rising fans will recognize Mick Riva as one of the seven husbands. — Bridget

Coming Soon: To a streaming service near you—Netflix is developing the film.

Worth the hype? Yes

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?u003c/pu003e

15. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Review: This novel easily features one of the most intriguing elevator pitches: a young woman makes a deal for immortality. In exchange, she’s doomed to be forgotten… until she walks into a bookstore 300 years later and a boy remembers her name. Right?! Listen, it delivers. I don’t want to give anything away but if you like a book with mystery, magic, and a little spice, this is the one for you. Another good one for spooky season. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a movie theater near your—eOne acquired rights to the movie, which will be produced by Gerard Butler’s company G-Base.

Worth the hype? Yes

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. 300 years later, she meets a man who remembers her name…u003c/pu003e

16. Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

Genre: Fiction Romance

Review: Imagine getting assigned to write a profile on your celebrity crush, having him/her fall for you, spending an entire weekend with him/her, and then reuniting a decade later for a follow-up interview. It’s something that my 15-year-old dreams were made of, but with clever dialogue and a little spice. Totally unrealistic and slightly cheesy, but one of my favorite novels to escape real life. — Bridget

Worth the hype? Yes

Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e A restless young journalist with big dreams interviews a Hollywood heartthrob—and reunites with him ten years later to discover exactly how he feels about her…u003c/pu003e

17. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure

Review: This book goes in my top 10 of all time and I will forever recommend it to anyone who asks. It is so many things at once which makes it wildly appealing. I’m talking laugh-out-loud funny, endearing, adventurous, and leaves you in awe of the resilience of the human spirit. But there’s also a compelling mystery and an entire “lone man must save the world” plotline. I truly enjoyed Weirs’ first book, The Martian, and this one is even better. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a movie theater near you—with none other than RYAN GOSLING in the lead role.

Worth the hype? Yes

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.u003c/pu003e

18. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Review: I just finished reading this buzzy book about two friends who create video games and, let me tell you, it was a good read. It’s contemporary but still creates (literally and figuratively) its own type of world, and having no video game knowledge myself, I was excited to dive into something new. There were truly just so many layers to the story and now having finished, I can say it was a really beautiful experience. I went into it knowing very little but some may appreciate a trigger warning. If that’s you, just do a little research before you pick it up. — Brittany

Coming Soon: To a movie theater near you—Paramount Pictures acquired the movie rights for a cool $2 million.

Worth the hype? Yes

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

u003cpu003eu003cstrongu003eBack-Cover Blurb:u003c/strongu003e Two friends—often in love, but never lovers—come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.u003c/pu003e

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