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Some books just aren't worth the hype. Image: Faber & Faber/Atria Books/Harper Collins
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Because a stranger on the internet told you to

Like anyone else, I’m susceptible to other people’s opinions. I buy books I probably never would have otherwise bought, just because I saw a few TikToks raving about it. It might be me bandwagoning, but I have a lot of book-related regrets because of it. To save you the trouble, I’ve compiled a list of the most popular books on TikTok’s #BookTok. Here are the ones I’ve read, and whether I think they’re worth the hype or not.

Normal People book cover

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People follows two teenagers, Marianne and Connell, as they navigate high school and university. They explore romantic relationships, friendships, family, and their own mental health. A lot of students (who are arguably TikTok’s main demographic) will find something relatable in this story. It doesn’t make me unique in any way to say that I have an emotional attachment to these characters — but I do, so I’ll say it anyway.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo book cover

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

When I think of #BookTok, I think of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I see it everywhere, on both my For You Page and offline. Written in the form of interviews and flashbacks, it’s about famous Hollywood actress, Evelyn Hugo, and her life story, as told to journalists for the first time.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

The Song of Achilles Book Cover

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller’s debut novel was published in 2011, but it has gained popularity through TikTok in the last two years. The myths of Achilles and the Trojan War are well-known: Achilles is the greatest warrior in a war between the Trojans and the Spartans since he’s invincible, except for a spot on his heel. Miller focuses on the love story between Achilles and his long-time companion, Patroclus.

TikTok warned me that The Song of Achilles would likely make me cry. It didn’t, but I can see why people would. If you’re easily brought to tears while reading, definitely keep a box of tissues handy.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

The inheritance games book cover

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I actually did read this one 100 per cent because of #BookTok, but I was underwhelmed and disappointed. Recommended as a Young Adult thriller, The Inheritance Games would have done better for me if I hadn’t been able to guess the ending from just the synopsis and the first chapter.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

We were liars book cover

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Honestly, I wasn’t particularly interested in reading We Were Liars, but it had been popular on social media since its initial publication in 2014. So, I felt like I had to. It was confusing — and not in a good way. We Were Liars had so many twists and turns (most of which were poorly executed,) they all seemed forced and just there for the drama.

My rating: 2/5 stars.

The Cruel Prince book cover

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

For the sake of transparency, I’ll tell you I liked The Cruel Prince enough to read the rest of the series. But I can only go so far as to recommend the first book. If you want to read all three, I would say you’d be wasting a lot of time to reach an unfulfilling ending.

My rating: 4/5 stars (for book one — 2/5 stars for the series.)

the house in cerulean sea book cover

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

(TW: Residential schools)

I can’t review The House in the Cerulean Sea without first saying that the author went on record explaining the inspiration for his ‘feel-good’ 2020 novel came from his having recently learned about the residential school system and the genocide of Indigenous peoples in Canada throughout the 20th century. The book romanticizes this period to the point that I only found out what the inspiration was through reviews after I’d read the book.

My rating: 1/5 stars.

the unhoneymooners book cover

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

I read The Unhoneymooners in the middle of a summer romance kick. It was one of those books that I read and quickly forgot about. It’s not that The Unhoneymooners was bad — it just wasn’t good, either. I had no problems with how the characters, the plot, the tropes, or anything else were written. I just didn’t like them. For that reason, I have a long list of books I would recommend over this one.

My rating: 3/5 stars

a court of thorns and roses book cover

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This review is a love letter to the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury. I don’t usually think sequels are better than the first book of a series (see my above review of The Cruel Prince), but Sarah J. Maas has a way of making her books get better and better with each new release. This is a recommendation only for fantasy readers who have the time to read several four- and five-hundred-page books. Once you get started, you won’t want to put them down.

As a warning, there is a fair amount of graphic sexual content throughout the series. If that isn’t something you’re comfortable reading, this book (and really anything by Maas) isn’t for you.

My rating: 4/5 stars for the first book, 5/5 stars for the sequel.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue book cover

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I adored The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue — especially the character of Addie LaRue herself. The book is about an 18th-century French girl who makes a deal to live her dreams, and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone. The story begins when someone finally remembers her.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Most of the books I rated poorly are books I only read because everyone else was reading them — I’m looking at you, We Were Liars. In the future, I’ll stick to books I know I’m likely to enjoy and avoid things I wouldn’t have read if they weren’t a #BookTok favourite.