BookTok’s Best (and Worst) of 2024

A Reader’s Honest Take

Have you been scrolling through TikTok and seen those videos of people raving (or ranting!) about books? Welcome to BookTok, the online community that’s taken the literary world by storm.

I’ve been sucked into the vortex myself, trying everything from tear-jerking memoirs to dragon-filled fantasies. Some have been life-changing, others…not so much. But the thrill of discovery and the sense of community keeps me coming back for more.

So, I thought it was time to share the love (and maybe a little tough love).

In this post, I’m diving deep into the books that went viral on TikTok in 2024. Get ready for honest reviews, unpopular opinions, and a few surprises along the way. Whether you’re a die-hard BookTok fan or a curious newbie, this guide will help you navigate the hype and find your next great read.

Fantasy Takes Flight

If there’s one genre that’s taken BookTok by storm, it’s fantasy. And who can blame them? These stories offer the ultimate escape, whisking us away to magical realms where anything is possible. Think dragon-filled skies, swoon-worthy romance, and heroines who defy all odds.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Genre: High Fantasy Romance

Goodreads Description: “In a world where dragons reign supreme, Violet Sorrengail is a young woman who’s never been able to fly. Forced into the ranks of dragon riders against her will, she must overcome her fears and prove herself worthy of the wings she’s been given. But the war is only beginning, and Violet soon finds herself caught between love, loyalty, and the fate of her world.”

Worth The Hype?: Yes! This book hooked me from page one! It’s an action-packed, emotional rollercoaster with a heroine who is both vulnerable and fierce. The dragon-riding scenes are thrilling, and the romance sizzled. I only wish there were more dragons! My only grievances were that the writing style was a bit simplistic, and the world-building could be more developed. The romance can also feel a bit rushed at times.

A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Goodreads Description: “In a world where magic is forbidden, Amina al-Sirafi is a young woman who runs a teashop in the daytime, but secretly sells illegal magic to the city’s underworld at night. When a mysterious stranger offers her a dangerous job, she’s drawn into a world of intrigue, romance, and ancient power.”

My Thoughts: This book is dark and delicious. The world-building is incredible, the characters are morally gray (in the best way), and the romance is a slow burn that left me breathless. I’m so glad BookTok put this one on my radar!

Worth the Hype?: Almost. While beautifully written with morally grey characters, the slow-burn romance wasn’t for me as I prefer fast-paced action.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Goodreads Description: “After her mother’s death, Bree Matthews is drawn into a secret society of “Legendborn” – descendants of King Arthur’s knights who protect the world from demons. As she learns more about her family’s past, Bree uncovers a conspiracy that could threaten everything she knows.

My Thoughts: I absolutely devoured this book! It’s a fresh take on Arthurian legend, with a compelling Black female protagonist and a plot that kept me guessing. The magic system is fascinating, and the slow-burn romance had me hooked.

Worth the Hype?: Yes, but with a caveat. It’s a captivating read with diverse representation, but the sheer length and open ending might not live up to the hype for everyone.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance

Goodreads Description: “Bryce Quinlan, a half-Fae, half-human party girl, is thrust into a world of danger and magic when her friend is murdered. She’s forced to partner with a powerful fallen angel to uncover a conspiracy that threatens both the human and Fae worlds.

My Thoughts: Maas is a master of creating immersive worlds and passionate romances, and this book is no exception. It’s a long read, but the world-building, plot twists, and steamy romance are totally worth it.

Worth the Hype?: It depends. If you love Maas’s style and lengthy, detailed world-building, you’ll likely enjoy it. If you prefer faster-paced stories, this might not be for you.

Non-Fiction Finds

Who says TikTok is all about fiction? These viral non-fiction books prove that self-improvement, personal growth, and deep thinking are equally captivating on this platform. Whether you’re looking for practical advice or inspiring stories, these reads are sure to spark a conversation (and maybe even change your life).

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Genre: Self-Help

Goodreads Description: “Atomic Habitsis a practical guide to making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. It’s not about being perfect, but about getting 1% better every day. Clear reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.”

My Thoughts: This book has changed the way I approach goals. It’s not just motivational fluff; it’s a clear roadmap to creating lasting change through small, manageable steps. While some of the advice might seem obvious, Clear’s ability to break down complex concepts into bite-sized pieces is truly genius.

Worth The Hype?: Not really. While it offers solid advice, it’s not necessarily revolutionary. If you’re already familiar with habit formation, you might find it less impactful.

8 Rules of Love by Jay Shetty

Genre: Relationships/Self-Help

Goodreads Description: “Former monk and purpose coach Jay Shetty distills the timeless wisdom he learned as a monk into practical steps anyone can take to build healthier, happier relationships. Shetty offers eight rules that can help us transform our relationships and find lasting love.”

My Thoughts: This book isn’t just for those in relationships. It’s about loving yourself first and understanding the dynamics of connection on a deeper level. I found Shetty’s approach to be refreshing and down-to-earth, even when he’s tackling complex emotions like jealousy and forgiveness.

Worth the Hype?: Absolutely! It’s a refreshing and practical guide to building healthy relationships, even if you’re single. Shetty’s insights are valuable, and the book is a great reminder of the importance of self-love and connection.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Genre: Memoir

Goodreads Description: “Michelle Zauner’s powerful memoir explores her complicated relationship with her mother, her Korean-American identity, and the healing power of food and grief. After her mother’s diagnosis with terminal cancer, Zauner immerses herself in Korean cuisine, finding comfort in the recipes and rituals that connect her to her heritage.”

My Thoughts: I read this entire book in one sitting. Zauner’s writing is brutally honest, poignant, and filled with so much love. It’s a testament to the power of food to connect us to culture, memories, and loved ones. Be warned though, tissues are a necessity!

Worth the Hype?: Definitely! This is a must-read for anyone who has experienced loss or is simply looking for a powerful and moving memoir. Zauner’s writing is exquisite, and her story will stay with you long after you finish the last page.

Classics Resurface

The beauty of BookTok is its ability to breathe new life into books, even those published decades ago. Classics are rediscovered, reinterpreted, and given a fresh perspective through the lens of modern readers. Here’s a prime example of a novel that’s been given a second life thanks to the passionate BookTok community:

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Genre: Literary Fiction

Goodreads Description: “A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in pursuit of fame and fortune. While their relationships deepen over the decades, the ordeals faced by Jude St. Francis, who was marked by an unspeakable trauma in childhood, color and ultimately shape the lives of his friends.”

My Thoughts: This book is an emotional journey, to say the least. It’s a raw and unflinching exploration of trauma, friendship, love, and loss. Yanagihara’s writing is beautiful and haunting, and the characters are so vividly drawn that you’ll feel like you know them personally. However, it’s important to note that this book deals with heavy themes, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

Worth the Hype?: It’s a complicated question. This book is undoubtedly a masterpiece, but it’s also incredibly intense and emotionally draining. If you’re looking for a lighthearted read, this isn’t it. However, if you’re willing to go on an emotional rollercoaster and dive into the depths of human experience, “A Little Life” will leave a lasting impact.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mythology Retelling

Goodreads Description: “In the Greek myths, Achilles is the greatest hero of his age, the bravest of the warriors at Troy. But in the shadows of his triumph are his companion Patroclus and the unexpressed love between them… In the darkness, there is a light that shines brighter than any fire. There is a love that will live beyond life itself.”

My Thoughts: Miller’s retelling of the Trojan War through the eyes of Patroclus, Achilles’ beloved companion, is a breathtaking and emotional journey. The writing is lyrical and evocative, the love story is both tender and passionate, and the portrayal of the Greek world is vivid and immersive. Be prepared to shed some tears, but also to feel uplifted by the enduring power of love.

Worth the Hype?: Absolutely. This book is a modern classic for a reason. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking retelling of a timeless story, and it’s sure to stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Genre: Dark Academia

Goodreads Description: “Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality, they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last—inexorably—into evil.”

My Thoughts: This is a dark and atmospheric novel that will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Tartt’s writing is exquisite, the characters are complex and compelling, and the plot is full of twists and turns. If you love dark academia, mystery, and a touch of the macabre, this book is for you.

Worth the Hype?: Yes, but with a caveat. It’s a slow burn, and some readers might find the pacing a bit too leisurely. However, if you’re patient and willing to immerse yourself in the world Tartt creates, you’ll be rewarded with a rich and satisfying reading experience.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Genre: Classic Romance

Goodreads Description: “Follow the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. They must overcome the titular sins of pride and prejudice in order to fall in love and marry.”

My Thoughts: This is a classic for a reason. Austen’s sharp wit, social commentary, and timeless love story continue to captivate readers centuries later. Elizabeth Bennet is a strong, independent heroine who challenges societal expectations, and Mr. Darcy’s transformation from arrogant to endearing is a joy to witness.

Worth the Hype?: Absolutely! This book is a must-read for any fan of romance, classic literature, or witty social commentary. It’s a timeless story that continues to resonate with readers today.

Photo by Samson Katt

Your BookTok TBR Awaits!

So, there you have it – a whirlwind tour of some of 2024’s most talked-about books on TikTok. Whether you’re craving a high-stakes fantasy adventure, a swoon-worthy romance, a practical self-help guide, or a heart-wrenching classic, BookTok has something for everyone.

Personally, I’m still reeling from the emotional journey that was A Little Life, but the lighter charm of 8 Rules For Love has definitely earned a spot on my re-read list. I’d love to hear what you think of these titles and any other BookTok recommendations you’ve discovered!

Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below. Tell me your thoughts on these books, share your own BookTok finds, and maybe even spark a friendly debate (because let’s face it, sometimes the hype doesn’t always match the reality!).

Happy reading!

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