You can’t walk into a bookstore without coming across a table dedicated to titles popular on TikTok. Booktok, as its known, has blown up, boosting books across genres and to thousands of followers on the app–YA, romance, mystery, and thrillers and even highlighting some self-published titles.
BookTok has also been criticized for becoming a bit of an echo chamber, promoting the same books over and over and sharing “underrated” titles that were either New York Times bestsellers or incredibly popular off the platform. And while the idea of any good book going viral is great, we would love to see a bit more variety. So if you’re a BookTok devotee, be sure to check out this list of titles we think deserve to be more popular on TikTok.
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
The best fantasy novels are often the ones that play with magic in a unique way. In this YA genderbent The Phantom of the Opera, the MC, Isda, can manipulate memories when someone sings. Because of her magic, she is locked away from the world. Then one day, she finally falls in love with a sweet, soft boy who works in the Opera House where she lives. This is the kind of book that will leave you sobbing at the end, and then you will immediately recommend it to your friends so that you can cry together. Also, it’s a Phantom retelling, so you know there are so many epic cosplay and sing-along possibilities. — Abby Petree
By the Book by Amanda Sellet
This book is the definition of a “cozy romance.” If Lara Jean was obsessed with classic novels instead of 80s movies and had a massive family, she would be Mary Porter-Malcolm. The puns will make you laugh (or groan) and the sweet family dynamics and female friendships will warm your heart. The romance is secondary, but still stellar. Mary also flexes her knowledge of classic lit to create the Scoundrels Survival Guide, which is iconic in itself. This book deserves a spot on any Jane Austen retelling list. — A.P.
The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison
This “good girl, bad boy,” ownvoices romance features two fantastic leads. Reagan is the perfect student who feels like she is crumbling under the weight of her parents’ expectations. Meanwhile, Guillermo is finally trying to do right by his parents after years of illegal behavior and a trip to jail. His previous relationship led to nothing but bad behavior, so he’s vowed to be done with girls. But when he meets Reagan while volunteering… can he really stay away from her? This story offers a meaningful romance and beautiful representation! — A.P.
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Sometimes a writer’s words speak to your soul. Though I’ve never accompanied a famous best friend on a multi-city concert tour, Reagan, the protagonist of Emery Lord’s debut, Open Road Summer, felt like a character I needed to read. Reagan is fierce and fragile–trying to put her life together after an abusive relationship and hoping that a summer spent on tour with her best friend, country music pop star Delilah X will help her heal. It isn’t until a PR move puts boy band singer X in her path that she begins to feel open to love again. This book is a happy sigh. It is swoon-worthy and empowering, about female friendships and forgiveness, first love and learning to grow. I love it with my whole heart and I think every reader on TikTok needs to experience Emery Lord’s words. — Brianna Robinson
The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Enemies to lovers’ romance, Shakespeare retellings, and private school settings make this YA romance irresistible. Trixie Watson and Ben West have been enemies since the first grade after an infamous monkey bars incident–years later they’re neck and neck for the top class rating and Trixie is determined to win.
When their best friends start dating, Ben and Trixie have to spend more time with each other and learn that maybe they’re not so different after all. Their fragile alliance is tested when one of their friends is expelled for cheating and they have to choose sides, putting them at odds once again. Within pages, you’ll be captivated by Trixie and Ben’s banter, the mystery of the scandal at Messina High, and the general delight that is Lily Anderson’s retelling. Nerdiness and hilarity abound in one of the best YA books that definitely deserves to go viral. — B.R.
The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey
Fantasy is having a moment on TikTok, right? While you wait for the next season of Shadow and Bone, I urge you to read one of the best ensemble fantasy series. Echo is a runaway pick-pocket who was adopted by a magical race of bird-like people living underground in New York City. Their centuries long war with a dragon-like race is unending and if the legendary firebird isn’t found–the one creature with the power to stop the feud–Echo’s family will be destroyed. Together with her friends and unlikely acquaintances, Echo travels the world looking for the firebird, hoping to wield its power to stop the war for good. There’s so much to love about this series but the multiple point-of-views and worldbuilding are top among them. Be sure to devour this series just before Melissa’s upcoming novel, Valiant Ladies, releases in June! — B.R.
Between The Bliss And Me by Lizzy Mason
Fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven need to read Lizzy Mason. Her beautiful books are some of the best that contemporary YA has to offer. Her ability to write about tough subjects is balanced by so much love and hope. Sydney’s overprotective mom is devastated when she is accepted to NYU, upending her plans to attend Rutgers and commute from home. This big diversion brings others–the chance to get to know the talented and off-limits musician, Grayson, and the truth about her estranged father, who left because of drug addiction when she was little. As she explores her relationship with him, she discovers his schizophrenia diagnosis and the possibility that she could inherit it. Her decision to live her life and take risks despite this is worth the read. Bring the tissues but also be ready to feel ready to take on the world when you’re finished because Lizzy’s books are just that powerful. — B.R.
White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig
This book is akin to what Sherlock Holmes would be if Sherlock and Watson were allowed to be gay. Caleb Roehrig’s White Rabbit pulls you into a compelling murder mystery where you are left guessing at every turn. The entire book happens over the course of one night, so the pace is relentless, but it keeps you at the edge of your seat wanting more. The romance and tension between Rufus and Sebastian is also endearing to experience as an underlying plot. — Gisselle Lopez
The Gates by John Connelly
If you are looking for a book that is equal parts hilarious and informative, John Connolly’s The Gates is for you. In the same vein as Jurassic Park (though meant for a younger audience), Connolly carefully weaves intriguing facts with engaging fiction with The Gates, and it is a perfect way to get back into reading if you find yourself in a slump. An easy, hilarious read, I would recommend this for anyone looking to get back into reading! — G.L.
Kith and Kin by Marieke Nijkamp
Kith and Kin is a fantastic opportunity for readers that are not familiar with Dungeons & Dragons to see how table-top role-playing games can inspire a fun fantasy tale. It follows the lives Vex’halia and Vax’hildan, a pair of half-elf twins, before their experiences in the Critical Role steam. Fitting in marvelously with Matt Mercer’s in-campaign narration, Kith and Kin is a great introduction to Critical Role and a welcome addition to fantasy stories. Also, the audiobook is narrated by Robbie Daymond, Liam O’Brian, and Laura Bailey! What’s not to love? — G.L.
Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Shumacher
TikTok is known for its obsession with all things aesthetic, whether it be cottagecore, e-girls, dark academia, etc. Ashley Shumacher’s magical realism contemporary, Amelia Unabridged, would fit right in with its cozy, magical library setting, where tiny whales swim between the shelves. The novel isn’t as “spicy” like many popular BookTok favorites, but it is heartfelt and moving in its portrayal of overcoming grief and finding hope and love after tragedy. — M.S.
Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
TikTok, again, is the place to find all aesthetics, and dark academia and cottagecore aesthetics have grown increasingly popular over the past few years. That is why Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw is the perfect novel for TikTok. It is dark cottagcore, a new aesthetic I didn’t know I needed. It blends together haunted woods, a dark and deep lake, and a school for troubled boys with a cottagecore cabin, herbal teas, and fluffy wolf dogs. — Meagan Stanley
Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw
Unreliable narration? Character-driven? Memory magic? Check, check, and check. This self published fantasy novel by Rachel Emma Shaw is one readers will have a hard time forgetting. Easy to digest, yet deeply emotional and unique, Last Memoria is a dark, fast paced thriller of a book in which everyone sucks, the world is awful, and the gloomy atmosphere clings long after reading. — Bella Philip
Pure by Julianna Baggot
The world we’re thrust into is a disgustingly awesome post-apocalyptic hellscape of bird-backed, doll-head-handed survivors just trying to survive, until a greater purpose manages to find them. Pure’s greatest asset is Baggot’s ability to make readers extremely uncomfortable with gruesome descriptions of this setting (now, we recall the baby sticking out of someone’s neck) and its interesting cast of characters. It’s dystopian, it’s dark, it’s a bit bogged down with descriptions, but hey, when’s the last time you read about two brothers being fused together, piggy back style, with one trying to kill the other? — B.P.