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With the rise of the “third space,” a safe haven away from home often found in bookstores and cafes, and the clean “it girl” aesthetic who has her life together, reading is more en vogue than ever (even if a good novel is timeless). BookTok, a popular vertical on TikTok, is here to help propel your summer read recommendations, whether you’re searching for a quick and juicy romance paperback on the beach or an exhilarating sci-fi hardcover perfect for Summer Friday lounging on your couch. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of TikTok’s most popular books this season. From the tearjerkers like It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover to the thrillers like The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, these novels are a great jumping off point for a summer reading list.
If you’re looking for an enchanting and romantic tearjerker, look no further than It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. The novel follows Lily, a newly successful young woman who encounters a seemingly perfect neurosurgeon named Ryle. The sparks between them are undeniable, but she dreams of her first love, Atlas, who abruptly reappears into her life. There’s hot debates on TikTok on the Lily-Ryle-Atlas love triangle, but TikTok user @charleys.chapters mentions it just makes her “so happy that this book is getting the recognition it deserves.”
Historical, romantic and psychological all at once, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the page-turner you need to read. The glamorous and secluded Evelyn Hugo of old 1950’s Hollywood is finally ready to recount her life story to a journalist, Monica, who seems down on her luck. The book alternates between Monica and Evelyn’s point of view, and past and present, which creatively intertwines the two women’s lives together in a breathtaking way. TikTok user @thebooksiveloved reviews that Evelyn’s “story with each husband was just so devastating and…so beautiful, but it is her greatest love…that really gets you. Honestly, try not to cry!”
An ode to the natural world and coming of age, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens dreams up a story about a “Marsh Girl,” Kya, in a 1969 North Carolina coastal town. When the beloved town hero quarterback Chase Andrews is found dead, Kya is a go-to suspect. A murder historical mystery intertwined with young love, it’s a must-read for appreciators of atmospheric moving writing and a juicy storyline. Most of all, according to TikTok user @ava_booktok1, the heartwrenching ending has this book firmly planted in the category of “Books That Had Me Sobbing at the End.” For the ultra-fans, you can also watch the tale unfold in theaters this summer starting July 15, with A-listers like Reese Witherspoon producing and Taylor Swift on the soundtrack.
Mystery thriller lovers can’t get enough of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. TikTok user @mollyybooks quickly breaks down the narrative as it “follows a psychotherapist when he goes to work at a new facility and he gets really interested in one patient who murdered her husband and has not talked since.” The storyline continues as the psychotherapist goes on to treat and uncover the patient’s life. Spoiler alert—readers still can’t get over their shock of an abrupt plot twist ending.
A YA series, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the first of a four-book action-packed fantasy fiction collection. Our main character is Feyre, a 19-year old huntress who ends up slaughtering a wolf and needs to pay for it. She winds up in a mysterious land, Fae, and falls for her captor named Tamlin, an immortal fairy who once dominated her past world. TikTok user @katie.books includes A Court of Thorns and Roses in her video “Popular ‘BookTok’ Books That are Actually Worth the Hype,” while the rest of TikTok can’t get over the whimsical and passionately risque world Maas built, dreaming up fan castings and wardrobes for the characters. Fantasy-lovers, this one’s for you.
Following Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing, is the poignantly and painfully beautiful Transcendent Kingdom. “How are you writing a fiction book and making me cry big tears on the train?” TikTok user @kyrabrucek yells. The book follows Gifty, a sixth-year PhD candidate of neuroscience at Stanford, and her determination to understand the scientific basis of her familial suffering around her. With Gifty’s once-gifted brother who overdosed on heroin and a suicidal mother who lives in her home, Gyasi paints a portrait of an immigrant family’s exploration and grappling with grief and how there is beauty in what is broken.
Dive head first into the spicy summer storylines with BookTok’s current obsession, Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman. “This is the best book I’ve read in 2022,” recommends TikTok user @madymalo, who also claimed in a video that Funny You Should Ask was the first novel to give her a book hangover in a long time. “It’s about a reporter and an A-list celebrity and their relationship over ten years. It’s glamorous, it’s witty, it’s so well written, and of course it’s sexy.” Romance fans, take note and run to grab this for your beach reads stat.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but BookTokers are obsessed not only with the aesthetic of Stolen by Lucy Christopher, but its captivating thriller plot as well. A story of a young teenage girl who gets kidnapped in an airport by a male who whisks her away into isolation and expects her to love him, it’s a heartbreaking and emotional storyline of Stockholm Syndrome and survival. TikTok user @readingteen summarizes, “This book is crazy and twisted and terrifying. I read it years ago and it still lives in my head.”
Ocean Vuong’s recently published sophomore poetry collection, Time is a Mother, is achingly beautiful as a tribute and discovery into grief after losing his mother. The series of poems contend with shifts in personal relationships, the aftershocks of loss and immigration, while fearlessly experimenting with language and structure. “He has an incredible ability to weave poems that are rich with imagery and vivid emotion but also being really easy to read,” TikTok user @caityreads describes. If you’re looking to be inspired paired with an ugly cry, this short but gorgeous read is a must.
“This book is not a sad book…yet I feel the most insane, crippling sense of sadness in my chest that I don’t think will ever go away,” reviews TikTok user @sivanreads, as she holds up Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi with mascara-stained tears running down her face. The international bestseller takes place in a small over 100-year old cafe in the back of a Tokyo alley. Four customers over the course of a summer not only sip coffee but get a chance to travel back in time. A mythically charming prose that delves into human relationships, time and missed opportunities, Kawaguchi’s book is definitely a thought-provoker that you’ll want to snatch up.
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