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The TikTok-Hyped Books Worth the Read (and the ones you should pass on)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

The TikTok-Hyped Books Worth the Read (and the ones you should pass on)

As an avid TikTok user and avid book lover, “BookTok” is the best of both worlds. Whenever I am completely lost on what to read next, I simply open the app and find myself adding five books to my Amazon cart. TikTok is the perfect platform to discover what novels are truly worth the read. However, sometimes BookTok disappoints. Sometimes, heartbreakingly, a hyped-up book that shows up all over my feed ends up being a total snooze-fest. 

To help all my fellow readers out there, here is my list of TikTok-hyped books that are worth the read, in addition to ones that you should pass on. (Disclaimer: To all my Colleen Hoover lovers out there, I apologize. She is not featured on this list. Don’t crucify me).

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

Is it worth the read: YES.

I’ve never seen a book hyped up on TikTok quite like this one. Needless to say, I was not at all disappointed. This was my first book by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I find her writing style to be so enticing and descriptive. The book follows Old Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, and the tale of her seven husbands. 79-year-old Evelyn turns to a journalist, Monique Grant, and requests that she writes her life story for the world to see. When Evelyn tells her life story to Monique, the reader is transported into a different era, ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s. Reid can depict Old Hollywood vividly, from its glamour to its raunchiness.

I never knew where the story was going to go but was enticed by Evelyn’s character development. You don’t necessarily like Evelyn. In fact, I disliked her most of the time. Reid makes Hugo’s flaws intentional, yet humanizes her at the same time. Even though you dislike her, you also can’t help but fall in love with her character as she walks readers through her tragic past.

If you’re looking for a book with glitz and glam, tragic twists and turns and LGBTQ+ representation, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is the book for you. This book made me fall in love with Reid’s writing and I highly recommend also reading “Malibu Rising.”

“Beach Read” by Emily Henry

Is it worth the read: NO.

I had high expectations for this book. Unfortunately, I was let down. The best word I can use to describe this book is bland. The main character, the plot, the writing style…everything about this book was unexciting to me. I will be upfront and say that this book was a book that I couldn’t get myself to finish, so maybe the ending was more thrilling than the first half of the book. I’ll never know.

 January Adams (which can we talk about that name…) is a romance writer and optimist. Her love interest, Augustus Everett (no, for real, these names…) is an author of literary fiction and a self-proclaimed realist. Essentially, January and Augustus are complete opposites. Over the summer, they end up being neighbors. It is a rivals-to-lovers story. 

Since I didn’t finish the whole book, I can’t speak much about its ending. However, from what I read, everything was predictable. I also found January, the protagonist, to be cliche and unlikeable. As for the writing style, you will learn that I am not the biggest fan of Emily Henry’s work. Her writing keeps the plot of the book stuck in one spot and by the time you are halfway through the book, you realize nothing climatic or monumental has happened. I find her writing to be stagnant. I know people love this summer read, but I just couldn’t get on board.

“The Inheritance Games” by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Is it worth the read: YES.

I have heard that they are turning this series into a television series and I have never been more excited. Think of “Knives Out” with a love triangle: that is this book. I was so on the edge of my seat reading this book that I immediately bought the next book in the series, “The Hawthorne Legacy.” This thriller follows high-schooler Avery Grambs and how her life completely changes when she inherits the fortune of billionaire Tobias Hawthorne, who, to her knowledge, she has no relation with. Avery is forced to move into her inherited mansion where she must share a living space with Tobias Hawthorne’s family, including his four grandsons who are determined to solve the puzzle as to why Avery was left their grandfather’s fortune. The book is told from Avery’s perspective and follows her journey to crack Tobias Hawthorne’s puzzle. 

This book is perfect if you like romance mixed with an actual plot. The amount of plot twists in this book is insane and nothing about it is predictable. The romance aspect of the book is also gradual and not forced. However, you will get irritated and impatient with the love triangle that takes place (Team Grayson!). Avery is also a likable protagonist and I loved her witty and cunning personality.

I seriously could not put this book down. If you end up reading “The Inheritance Games,” you will need to read the full series as well to figure out the whole mystery. The last book in the series that just recently came out, “The Final Gambit,” is still on my reading list. 

“People We Meet on Vacation” by Emily Henry

Is it worth the read: NO.

I hate to do this to Emily Henry again, but this one was also a letdown. I started this book after “Beach Read” so that Henry could redeem herself, but I was once again disappointed. This book is your classic ‘bestfriends-become-lovers’ pipeline. It was executed adequately, but not amazingly. What I mean by that is once again, this book is the definition of predictable and anticlimactic. Unlike “Beach Read,” I was able to make it through this one. Even so, the supposed “plot twist” at the end that they hint at throughout the entire book is no plot twist at all. It is probably the most in-your-face plot twist ever.

Best friends Poppy and Alex haven’t spoken in several years because ‘something’ ruined the entire friendship (can you guess what ruined it?). Once again, Poppy and Alex are complete opposites: Poppy is laidback and carefree, and Alex is rigid and uptight. This character opposition seems to be a theme in Henry’s books. Poppy misses her friendship with Alex, so she plans a trip between the two like they always used to do. The book follows their trip together, every other chapter flashing back to when they were best friends in college. 

This isn’t a bad book. It has many cute moments. However, for how popularly discussed this book was, I expected way more. There are better romance novels out there.

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Is it worth the read: YES.

This is one of those books where you can’t stop thinking about it after you finish it. It is a similar plot to “Midnight Library” by Matt Haig, but I liked it significantly more. It is a short and easy read, but its impact hits you so hard. Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi writes about a cafe in Tokyo where customers can travel back in time. Many rules come with traveling back in time, the main one being that the customer must return to the present before the coffee gets cold. The four chapters focus on four different characters and their experience traveling in time. However, each chapter overlaps, and the same characters are included in each chapter.

I fell in love with this book. When I started it, I was hesitant. It was slow at first, but as Kawaguchi got deeper into unveiling the cafe’s special powers, I became hooked. You fall in love with all the characters in this book because of how human they all are. Each person’s reason for traveling back in time is so raw and real. Any person who reads this book will find something that relates to them. From heartbreak to death, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” absolutely touches your heart. As someone who doesn’t cry at books easily, this book made me sob at several different moments. 

Although a short and easy read, this book is nothing short of spectacular and heart-warming. I urge you all to read it.

“The Spanish Love Deception” by Elena Armas

Is it worth the read: NO.

I was taken on an absolute roller coaster with this book. It was a slow burner in the beginning. The middle section had me unable to put the book down. The ending…well…the ending never came around for me. Because this book is long. 448 pages long. I can handle long books, but this book was just unnecessarily long and repetitive. It should’ve been cut about 150 pages shorter. If that were the case, I would easily recommend this book.

Catalina Martín needs a date for her sister’s wedding. She decides to lie to her family that she has an American boyfriend who she will be bringing to the wedding in Spain. As a result, she ends up deep in a lie and without a date for the wedding. Her coworker and arch nemesis,  Aaron Blackford, offers to be her date. After much irritating opposition, Catalina agrees. The two must pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend for her entire family while in Spain. The book takes a while to get here and you don’t even get to reading about Spain until about halfway through the book. Before that, it is just a bunch of dragged-out arguing between the two coworkers. In summary — there is too much fluff.

As I said, this book could’ve been amazing had it been condensed. There was adorable romance, bickering and steaminess. However, the unnecessarily dragged-out plot makes this book a skip in my eyes.

While TikTok can shed light on some real hits, it can also hype things up too much to the point of disappointment. Hopefully this list will be beneficial in separating the hits from the misses. Happy Reading!

Kylie Brown is a junior writer for HerCampus and is studying Journalism and Mass Communication at GW. Originally from Naperville, IL, she enjoys dancing, making playlists and trying new restaurants in her free time.