BookTok hits: What’s worth reading?

Book-focused subdomain on TikTok doesn’t always highlight best books


The social media app TikTok has helped many books quickly rise to fame. “BookTok,” as it is known, has become one of the most popular subdomains on the app.

Reading and the social media app TikTok, two domains once  mutually exclusive, have collided into a subdomain known as “BookTok.” The niche reading community has become a popular part of the app, influencing reading trends among Generation Z. Even massive chains like Barnes & Noble prominently feature works popularized by Tiktok users.

Still, despite the hype BookTok generates for select pieces, not all hit the mark, and only a few are truly exceptional.

Daisy Jones and the Six

Rating: 5/5 stars

What looks, sounds, and reads exactly like Fleetwood Mac’s 1970s drama? Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and the Six, of course. Following the fictional band The Six as they collide with up-and-coming superstar Daisy Jones, the novel tells a complex story of the band’s meteoric rise and dramatic fall.

Daisy Jones and the Six dives headfirst into the realities of rock and roll stardom in the 1970s, giving a fictional edge to the very real topics of substance abuse and heartbreak. Twists and turns up until the very last page leave the reader on the edge of their seat as they watch the lives and careers of the novel’s characters explode in front of them.

The book is a tale of love and loss that grips its audience from the very first page, and is being adapted into a television miniseries. Overall, Daisy Jones and the Six was a unique, riveting novel that is both a quick read and leaves a lasting impression.

The Spanish Love Deception

Rating: 4/5 stars

Elena Armas’ Spanish Love Deception is exactly what readers would expect from the title. The novel features both love and deception, all centering around a trip to Spain in which the main character must convince her family she is in love with her worst enemy. It sounds cliche, and it is, but for The Spanish Love Deception, cliches are what made it so enthralling.

The storyline was cute, witty, and funny at all the right moments and it is easy to see why the novel has become popular among BookTok’s hopeless romantics.


Rating: 4/5

Team manuscript or team letter?

The caption on nearly every TikTok made about Colleen Hoover’s Verity reads the same. Cryptic and intriguing, this question has prompted thousands of TikTok users to pick up the book, since readers will only be able to understand what it means after reaching the end.

When incredibly successful author Verity Crawford is involved in a serious car accident that leaves her in a catatonic state, her husband Jeremy seeks out an author to help complete her long-awaited thriller series. He selects Lowen, who moves into the Crawford’s isolated, rustic estate.

While there, L0wen stumbles upon Verity’s most recent work in progress—an autobiography—whose contents shock her.

In a depart from her usual contemporary love stories, Hoover writes a compelling psychological thriller that is sure to leave readers feeling disturbed and unsettled. Featuring morally gray characters, an eerie setting, and a questionable romance, Verity is certainly not for the faint of heart.

The events leading up to the final revelation are somewhat anticlimactic, especially since they are conspicuously hinted at throughout the book. The novel itself leaves off on an ambiguous note that some might find unsatisfying. Still, Hoover manages to write a sufficiently creepy novel that intersects both the thriller and romance genres. For those readers who are looking to explore psychological thrillers, but who are not quite ready to give up on romance, Verity is a solid read.

We Were Liars

Rating: 3/5 stars

For teenager Cadence Eastman, life since that summer has been different—and not in a good way. Plagued by health issues and repressed memories, Cadence can’t quite remember what happened to her or why she is so changed. All she knows is that she is headed back to the island where everything took place—the island owned by her extremely wealthy family. Thrust into an environment that is both familiar and foreign, Cadence begins to uncover secrets about her family—all of which lead up to one horrifying truth.

One of the original “BookTok” books, We Were Liars has become immensely popular, despite having been released in 2014. It features complicated family dynamics and an easily digestible, fast-paced narrative.

But for a book whose main appeal lies in its supposedly groundbreaking plot twist, We Were Liars definitely disappoints. The ending is painfully predictable, and while sad, the book is too short and underdeveloped to allow readers to establish a real connection to Cadence or the other characters in her life. As a result, the so-called heartbreaking ending is not nearly as emotionally impactful as it could be. A quick, albeit forgettable read, We Were Liars is interesting enough, but ultimately falls short of expectations.

Though the plot has promise, the book falls considerably flat. Suffice to say, We Were Liars is not worth the hype.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo follows an ex-Hollywood starlet as she details the tumultuous details of her prime in a tell-all book.

Featuring numerous twists and turns, and shocking revelations, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a captivating novel from start to finish. Its characters are fascinating and leave the reader feeling as if they are learning about the life of a real celebrity, and not a fictional one.

It is not hard to see why the novel is being adapted for the screen along with Taylor Jenkin Reid’s other popular BookTok piece, Daisy Jones and the Six. However, while it will be nice to see the novel come to life, it will be a very tall order for anything to match up to the 400 page masterpiece that is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

The Hating Game

Rating: 3/5 stars

While not as well written as the other novels, The Hating Game is undoubtedly gripping from start to finish. Playing on the trope of a “workplace romance,”  The Hating Game features many unforgettable one-liners and almost cringeworthy attempts at mutual sabotage by its main characters, who, as is implied by the title, hate each other.

Although perhaps too cliché, The Hating Game was most certainly entertaining from start to finish. Containing many quirky details, such as the main character Lucy’s Smurf collection, or her backstory of growing up on a strawberry farm, readers are almost certain to be surprised at least once when reading this novel. These quirks only make the story more delightful, and it was refreshing to read a story that seemed to poke fun at itself in a lighthearted manner.

Overall, The Hating Game is a quick, amusing read that is sure to have its readers both laughing, and waiting for romantic clichés of their own.

The Love Hypothesis

Rating: 4/5 stars

A book that contains several romance stereotypes, The Love Hypothesis is a lighthearted book that embraces clichés in a way that does not take away from its quality.

Ali Hazelwood’s “fake dating” nerdy romance puts a refreshing spin on classic tropes, and is a quick read due to its entertaining nature. The book encourages readers to allow themselves to “nerd out,” embracing science while still remaining lighthearted and witty.

The Inheritance Games 

Rating: 4/5 stars

When infamous billionaire and notorious trickster Tobias Hawthorne abruptly dies, he names Avery Grambs the sole recipient of his enormous fortune. Unfortunately, Avery will only be able to receive the money if she successfully solves Hawthorne’s riddles—a feat she can only accomplish by moving into the Hawthorne mansion.

Complete with family drama, intriguing riddles, and a promising love interest (or two), The Inheritance Games is quite an addictive read. The puzzles are complex enough to keep readers hooked, but accessible enough to solve alongside the characters.

Though the ending is slightly underwhelming—and a few of the side characters feel rather shallow and underdeveloped—this book is definitely worth the read. A lighthearted, fun book about the importance of family, The Inheritance Games is sure to leave readers wanting more.

Shatter Me

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Taherah Mafi’s Shatter Me is perhaps the quintessential “BookTok” read. A young adult dystopian romance, the book follows 17-year old Juliette as she challenges the current world order and explores her own dangerous abilities.

Juliette has a touch that can kill. A touch that has killed. For 264 days, she has been locked up. But her world is completely turned around when, for the first time in nearly a year, someone new enters her cell.

Told in a stream of conscious narration, Shatter Me features crossed-out lines of text reminiscent of frantic diary entries. The novel is chock-full of classic tropes, including, but not limited to, a love triangle, the infamous “chosen one,” and enemies-to-lovers.

The book has all the components of an addictive read. Unfortunately, Juliette as a main character is absolutely insufferable. She is frustratingly dramatic and spends too much time pitying herself to progress and grow.

The story’s weak point ultimately lies in its central love story. Juliette’s love interest is selfish, and at times possessive, making it difficult for the reader to the characters for them as a couple. At times, the writing feels forcibly lyrical and very out of place for a young adult novel from 2011.

While reading this book, it becomes more and more confusing as to why it has garnered so much internet fame. Still, the series as a whole has promise. Unlike most series, the Shatter Me trilogy gets progressively better with each new book. In fact, this may be the book’s only redeeming factor. For those readers willing to sit through 340 pages of exasperating characters and slow-moving plot before reaching the rest of the series, Shatter Me might be worth a read.

@mayareadstoomuch What is the saddest book you have ever read? #bookrecs #sadbookrecs #wewereliars #tsoa #theybothdieintheend #sevenhusbandsofevelynhugo ♬ original sound – amina 2.9