As Seen on TikTok
If you were looking for something to do during the pandemic, it’s possible you fell into the rabbit hole that is TikTok. Library fans rejoiced when they found Booktok, the bookish community on TikTok that shares books, the struggles of being a reader and plenty of literary humor. This list includes some of the books that show up again and again on the app. Regardless of you’re reading tastes, you’re likely to find something you’ll enjoy in this list. Give them a look and then consider starting a booktok account of your own!
Note: All titles are linked to their physical copies unless otherwise noted, and many are available as library e-books and/or e-audiobooks with OverDrive and its app Libby.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
A TikToker herself, Chloe Gong dropped her debut in late 2020. In 1920s Shanghai, friends become enemies become lovers. When Juliette returns to inherit the Scarlet Gang, she’s got the added challenge of history with Roma, the heir to her rival gang the White Flowers. Now, a plague is sweeping across Shanghai and Juliette and Roma must team up to eradicate it before it infects everybody. Highly lauded, this retelling of Romeo and Juliet anticipates a sequel and its cover makes for perfect booktok eye candy. (Note: This title is only available through the Library as an e-book.)
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This list wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Maas. While all of her titles are popular, her “Beauty and the Beast” meets “Tam Lin” retelling beats all. This book is the start to an ongoing series about a girl named Feyre who is captured by faerie lord Tamlin in a move to free him from his beastly curse. The series takes a number of unexpected turns and, despite the heft of the books, is an ultra-compelling story. Readers who enjoy this book and its sequels might also check out some of the books in this list of similar novels.
Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Life’s not easy in the spotlight, especially when you’re in the spotlight because your dad is POTUS. When Alex Claremont-Diaz gets caught up in a publicity scandal involving England’s own Prince Henry, the only logical step is to fake a relationship between them in order to cool the media fire. But as Alex and Henry spend more time together, they get to know each other and a real relationship starts to blossom. Now that President Claremont is preparing for a reelection campaign, whatever real relationship might be in the works just might be the downfall of both the United States and Great Britain.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Deonn’s debut starts off with a bang, introducing readers to Bree, a young Black girl whose mother has recently passed but is off to a pre-college experience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When she encounters some demons and the people who slay them, she starts to wonder if maybe there was more to her mother’s death than at first glance. This smart and exciting book discusses themes of generational trauma and racism, couched in a spin on Arthurian legend. This contemporary fantasy is not one to miss.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Stella has had a few flings, but has never felt confident when it comes to sex. She finds dating with Autism -- and disclosing her Autism -- to be especially difficult and all seems lost in the world of intimacy until she has the idea to hire Michael, an escort who knows all the right moves. With a set of ground rules and a promise not to fall for each other, Michael and Stella get to work on making her comfortable with bedroom activities -- until the inevitable happens and feelings start to bubble up. An adult romance novel, this book is both loosely inspired by Pretty Woman and a great way for new romance readers to get a taste of the genre.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Don’t let the spoiler title turn you off this LGBTQ young adult favorite. This futuristic novel set in New York brings two teens together who have been informed that this is their last day on Earth. Now confronted with the knowledge of their End Day, Mateo and Rufus must make the most of their limited time -- and what better way to spend it than with someone who understands? An engaging read, this story takes place over twenty-four hours and leans into a reflective, thoughtful voice.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
With a life of luxury, it’s hard to imagine anything bad could ever happen to Cadence Sinclair Easton, but this young adult thriller is about to throw her life into chaos. Family secrets, disturbing truths, and lies, lies, lies propel Cady to discovering herself and maybe some things she’d be better off not knowing. A groundbreaking young adult suspense novel, this book is guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve ever read before and is a secret favorite among booktok accounts.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Bailey loves classic films. They’re a great way to escape what happened -- and no, she doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Instead, she spends time chatting with Alex online about the best of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Now that she is moving cross-country, she has a chance to meet Alex. If only her new coworker, Porter, would get out of her way. Funny, charming, and smart, this contemporary young adult romance is a great summer read but good for any time of year.