Ranking BookTok books: Read it or leave it

Trisha Phan and Nandita Bussa

With the school year winding down and summer free time opening up, it’s the perfect time to pick up a book. With so many enticing reads on social media, choosing the right one can be difficult. Life is too short for boring books, so check out some novels you should love — or leave behind.


Read It: “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder”

Holly Jackson’s thrilling trilogy starts with “A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,” one of BookTok’s most recommended murder mysteries. Living up to its hype, the series follows Pippa Fitz-Amobi as she chooses to take on one of the town’s biggest scandals — the murder of heartthrob Andie Bell. Straying away from predictable murder mystery twists, Jackson creates a story with intriguing turns that readers will find captivating.


Leave It: “The Midnight Library” 

Matt Haig’s self-help book disguised as a fantasy novel “The Midnight Library” centers on Nora Seed, a middle-aged woman who finds herself in the Midnight Library after attempting to end her life. Each book in this library holds a life she could’ve had, allowing her to undo her many regrets. With a promising premise but lackluster execution, the novel fails to explore mental health. The insights it gleans are shallow, asserting that “curing” depression revolves around one’s outlook. Ultimately, its underwhelmingly saccharine ending leaves much to be desired.


Read It: “Carrie Soto is Back”

“Carrie Soto is Back” is Taylor Jenkins Reid’s most engaging, vulnerable book yet. It follows ruthless tennis prodigy Carrie Soto who leaves retirement to defend her status as the greatest tennis player of all time. The riveting narration crafts compelling tennis scenes, even for those unfamiliar with the sport. Carrie is truly human; despite her brash arrogance, the reader can’t help but resonate with her fears and aspirations. Plus, the novel provides a unique perspective on aging to a young adult audience.


Leave It: “It Ends With Us”

The epitome of toxic romance, “It Ends with Us” by Colleen Hoover is one of BookTok’s greatest faults. The book mishandles its dark themes of abuse, suicide, and attempted rape. The novel’s main character, Lily Bloom, undergoes multiple traumatic events, and her love interest suffers symptoms of severe depression. However, Hoover flippantly oversimplifies these topics, making her intended effect fall flat. To top it off, repetitive cliches and bland descriptions exacerbate the mess that this novel is. 


Read It: “The Cruel Prince”   

Holly Black’s young adult series,The Cruel Prince” revolves around Jude Duarte, a human forced to live in Faerieland. Jude keeps readers engaged as she is vicious, cruel, and most importantly — self-serving, a change of pace from the typical YA heroine. Black’s expertise in worldbuilding shines as she weaves a tale with mythological and conniving characters within a nepotist monarchy. Fans of the fantasy genre will love this blend of politics, romance, and whimsical horror.

On your next trip to the bookstore, check out some of BookTok’s popular reads! Take these recommendations with a grain of salt — you might love the “Leave It” books, or wish you left the “Read It” ones.