BookTok Recommendations: Overrated or Worth the Read?

The rise of BookTok, which is the corner of TikTok reserved for avid readers, has encouraged new generations of readers. By sharing favorite books and connecting with other readers, BookTok is full of recommendations for both well-read watchers and those just falling in love with the hobby. However, with the wide circulation of many popular novels seen on BookTok, it’s worth asking which books are actually worth the read. Students of a book club I am part of as well as friends chimed in on six of the most popular BookTok novels to help out.

“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

If you’ve ever glanced through BookTok, you are bound to find a Colleen Hoover novel. One of the most popular recommendations of hers is “It Ends With Us,” which follows Lily and Ryle, whose seemingly perfect relationship cracks throughout the novel as Lily recalls a significant person of her past. Many readers admire how Hoover tells a story of destruction with care, but others wonder if the novel takes it too far. Sophomore Olivia Cherry comments, “At times, Hoover unintentionally glamorizes domestic violence, and although it’s important to talk about the realities of this issue, I think the way she writes could be triggering to many people.” This is a common concern over Hoover’s books, which often put very emotional themes in contrast with heated romance.

“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Taylor Jenkins Reid has a trifecta of trending novels, with “Daisy Jones and the Six,” “Malibu Rising,” and “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” being featured on most BookTok trending videos. Most people who pick up one of Reid’s books will likely enjoy at least one of them as they all tell wildly different stories, but one which seems to commonly reign as a must-read is “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” which follows Old Hollywood starlet Evelyn Hugo’s beautiful and tragic life story. Junior Emily O’Gorman praises the novel, calling it a “striking novel of a woman finally claiming her life of her own,” and claiming Reid brilliantly succeeds in “revealing the complexities of womanhood, the power of relationships and of course to rewrite the pages of a societal narrative.”

“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

Yet another rare fantasy book that highly circulates on BookTok, “A Court of Thorns and Roses” is a fantastical retelling of “Beauty and the Beast.” Many people are obsessed with Maas’s other series, “Throne of Glass,” as well, but as more people reread these books and adequately examine them, they appear better on a surface level. Sophomore Brigid Smith comments, “It was difficult to get over the lacking writing skill.”

What Maas’s book reveals is a common theme found in the most popular recommendations. Smith, who herself is a part of the BookTok community, expresses that oftentimes BookTok “does not always meet certain standards, such as proper grammar or intelligent prose. I love a terrible book every now and then, but BookTok seems to fall short more often than not.” 

“The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne

When it comes to this book, the reviews are mixed. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are the main characters in this workplace-centered romance about ambition and arch-nemesis. On one hand, people have called the book addictive, but others consider it to be overrated. Sophomore Caroline Klos agrees that it is overrated, saying, “It had the potential to be a cute rom-com, but in my opinion it just ended up being cringey and bland.”

“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

While most of the trending BookTok recommendations tend to be romance or coming-of-age stories, “The Song of Achilles” is a commonly praised fantasy book. This tells the story and friendship of Greek mythology heroes Achilles and Patroclus. Praise for this novel most commonly stems from its deeply emotional themes and the tragic romance that occurs. Freshman Grace Mueller says, “I felt every emotion while reading ‘The Song of Achilles.’ It made me laugh, smile, ripped me apart and put me back together again.”

“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry

Once again, if you’re on BookTok, you’ve no doubtedly stumbled across an Emily Henry novel, as “Beach Read’’ and “People We Meet on Vacation” are widely adored, and there is great anticipation for the release of her next novel, “Book Lovers.” Henry’s novels read like romantic comedies in novel form, and some people love it! “People We Meet on Vacation” follows the friends-to-lovers-to-strangers trope of Alex and Poppy, as readers slowly learn just what happened two years ago. These books receive far more praise than dislike, including sophomore Lila Singley who says, “Both characters are genuine and easy to fall in love with without being overly cheesy,” and cites her love of a story that is “innocent and light with a beautiful love story at the center.”