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If you’re on BookTok like I am, you’ve likely seen “cool girl books” pop up on your FYP: a new book genre that explores feminine stereotypes and even crosses into female rage literature. Cool girl books aren’t just about having aesthetically pleasing covers or making you look cool while reading them, though — more than that, these books explore important themes like feminism, capitalism, sexuality, and womanhood, typically through twisted and even dystopian lenses. Books under this growing hashtag on BookTok have been pegged as being read by “cool girls” — but TBH, you can technically argue that any book can be a cool girl book (it’s basically a mindset at this point, bestie).  

Read on for 20 cool girl books that will make you think and look like “that girl” — trust me, all you have to do is buy one, read it under a tree on campus, and your crush will magically fall in love with you (like Rory and Dean from Gilmore Girls type of vibes, you know?).

Bunny by Mona Awad
Penguin Books / Amazon

Bunny by Mona Awad is at the top of many BookTokers’ cool girl book lists. The story follows a scholarship student who’s a bit of an introvert, preferring her own company over anyone else’s. This novel explores themes of female friendship and desire, making it a solid cool girl book pick to start with.

Luster by Raven Leilani
Picador Paper / Amazon

Named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Luster by Raven Leilani is “a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life” — which is a bit too relatable, if you ask me. The story follows Edie, a young Black woman who ends up having a fling with an older white man in an open marriage. Navigating racial and social politics, Luster is a must-add to your TBR.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado is a collection of stories that navigates queerness, sexuality, desire, intersectional feminism, and womanhood — basically, a recipe for a cool girl book. (Oh, and it’s Machado’s debut book!) 

Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

I just finished Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion, and although it was a difficult book to read at times, it’s an incredibly important work in feminism literature. The book delves into important themes like reproductive rights, autonomy, female oppression, and misogyny.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Formatted like a letter, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong tells the story of a Vietnamese-American son trying to communicate with his illiterate mother. Combined with poetic prose and powerful insights, this story explores themes of sexuality, queerness, and generational trauma.

Winter In Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin

Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin is a story about a French Korean woman who lives in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. Dusapin’s debut novel explores shared identities and intimacy, and it’s definitely one you’ll want to add to your TBR ASAP. 

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

Ottessa Mosfegh practically rules the cool girl book genre on TikTok, but has definitely been met with some criticism. My Year of Rest and Relaxation is one of her most famous novels to date, which tells the existential story of a depressed young woman living on the Upper East Side in Manhattan in the early 2000s who goes into a hibernation, so to speak (you just have to read the book, bestie).

 

Severance by Ling Ma
Picador Paper / Amazon

This dystopian novel takes place years into the future, where a deadly disease wipes out nearly most of the population. Severance by Ling Ma is one of those books that really makes you think — and that’s what’s truly at the core of the cool girl book aesthetic, right? 

Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion by Jia Tolentino

Are you even on BookTok if you haven’t heard of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusion by Jia Tolentino? Tolentino shares her critiques of the 21st century, making this book one that you’ll instantly lose yourself in.

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This book is another one that really made me think. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata follows the story of a woman who works at a convenience store (surprise!) and brings into question our societal desire to climb up the corporate ladder. 

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

If you’re constantly angry at the patriarchy, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde is for you. In her collection of essays and speeches, Lorde tackles sexism, racism, homophobia, and more from the perspective of being a queer Black writer. (FYI: it’s also Gen Z poet Amanda Gorman’s favorite book!)

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Fourth Estate / Amazon

First published in 1993, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides still remains relevant today, following the story of five sisters in a quiet suburb in Detroit. 

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid was easily one of my favorite reads from last year. Following the story of Emira Tucker, a young Black woman, and Alix Chamberlain, the white woman she babysits for, Such A Fun Age dissects racism and classism in a way that’s digestible and engaging. 

Black Swans by Eve Babitz

I recently caved and bought Black Swans by Eve Babitz at my local bookstore after constantly seeing it on my FYP, and honestly, I have no regrets. The book is a collection of short stories by Babitz, exploring the complexities of being a woman in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados

Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados is one of those books that does more than just look cute on your bar cart. The book tells the tale of two BFFs exploring NYC — but it’s more than just a story about two gal pals galavanting around a new city, exploring larger themes like capitalism and societal expectations. 

Animal by Lisa Toddeo

Animal by Lisa Toddeo is female rage literature at its finest, and has been all over my FYP the past few weeks. When a man commits an act of violence in front of her, Joan takes matters into her own hands to seek vengeance in a society dominated by men. Girlboss energy, I guess?

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

Told in a vignette style, You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat navigates queerness and generational trauma, demonstrating the challenges of a young Palestinian-American woman who’s caught between differing cultural, religious, and sexual identities. 

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors
HarperCollins / Amazon

Cleo and Frank are near opposites, but their impulsive marriage ends up changing each of their lives. Exploring gender queerness, desire, and mental illness, Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors is bound to make you become emotionally attached to all its characters.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This book has been on my TBR for the longest time and has received rave reviews from TikTokers and book critics alike. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell tells the story of Vanessa, who became romantically involved with her 42-year-old professor as a young teen. The book alternates between Vanessa then and now (17 years later), with her now-self questioning that relationship and how much of it was really real. 

Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn

While it may not deal with feminism as much, Almond by Won-Pyung Sohn navigates loneliness, friendship, and love, all themes that are present in *lots* of cool girl books. (I also just bought this one to read, if anyone wants to slide into my DMs and start a cool girl book club with me.)

The Her Campus National Editors write about products we love and think you’ll love too. Her Campus has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. All products are in stock and all prices are accurate as of publication.

Zoë is an associate editor at Her Campus, where she covers Gen Z pop culture, beauty and style trends, and everything in between. She is also a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. When she's not writing or editing, Zoë can be found reading, sipping coffee, and exploring New York City.
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