At the beginning of the summer, I got to have a well deserved reading spree after being in a slump for most of the school year and finally read some of the books on my TBR (to-be read) list. As it’s quite a large list, at first, I didn’t know which book to start with so I consulted my fellow book lovers on TikTok, a community affectionately known as “BookTok.” There were quite a few books that were repeatedly popping up in BookTok discourse in the last year and the buzz around them, good or bad, was enough to get me intrigued. After sifting through the most popular ones, I’ve selected five books, ranked from my least to most favorite, which I find definitely lived up to their hype.
- “Icebreaker” by Hannah Grace
Okay, hear me out. While this was a polarizing book on TikTok, I really think you should tune in for scenes so steamy your jaw will drop. This rom-com follows ice skater Anastasia and hockey player Nate and their rivalry as they share their university’s ice rink. I had a blast reading this book, and there were many moments when it genuinely felt like I was just reading gossip back and forth, especially when it switches from Nate and Anastasia’s POV’s. This book doesn’t take itself too seriously since it’s just a fun mess of drama. What could be better?
- “The Dead Romantics” by Ashley Poston
This book is another perfect fall read and follows romance ghostwriter and medium Florence who goes home for her father’s funeral while trying to finish a book by her deadline. Things get even more crazy when her editor pops up in her hometown…as a ghost. This was my first paranormal romance and surprisingly, with the amount of twists and surprises in the plot, it somehow manages to work. In spite of the frank descriptions of death and grief, the book still manages to stay heartwarming and hopeful. The writing is so cozy, and the small town setting adds so much charm and also helps take away from sadder moments. If you’re looking for a book to read on a rainy day, I don’t think you’ll find one better, or more pleasantly nutty, than this one.
- “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston
Currently a book to screen adaptation on Amazon Prime, this book is an enemies to lovers rom-com about what happens when the son of the President of the United States, Alex, falls in love with Henry who is the prince of England. Reading this book put the biggest smile on my face from start to finish because besides just being a sweet and charming read, it’s the perfect example of how to write a young adult romance novel that is actually romantic. Alex and Henry’s relationship is so beautiful and earnest, and this book is definitely up there on the levels of steaminess. It’s an almost perfect rom-com, and I cannot wait to see what it’s like in live action.
- “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt
The setting? A small private school in New England during fall. Need I say more? This book is the textbook for the genre of “dark academia.” It’s also one of the most eloquent and sophisticated pieces of literature I’ve ever read. It begins as new student Richard Papen joins a handpicked clique of five other students studying the Greek classics and unfolds into an exploration of deep secrets, class and the bonds of friendship. The twists and turns this story takes you on was enough to have me binge read the book in one sitting. So, as fall semester approaches, I can’t think of a more perfect book to put you in the spirit.
- “Just Kids” by Patti Smith
Rockstar Patti Smith’s memoir “Just Kids” has been on my TBR for a long time but I kept moving it down the list because I never felt like I was in the right headspace for it. However, it’s now one of my all time favorite books, and I connected with Patti’s story in a way I never imagined. Being a young woman in New York City, the scenes of Patti’s first moments in Manhattan deeply resonated with me. Some of the places she describes are St. Marks Place, Washington Square Park and Canal Street; she writes about her experiences there as though you were there with her. As an NYU student, these are places I walk past almost every day getting to class. Washington Square is so dear to me now because of the memories I’ve made there with friends and walking down St. Marks Place has always been the perfect Friday misadventure. From a hard beginning, Patti narrates moments of her life from the sweetest to the most harrowing with sharp wit and reverence. I think this is an important read no matter who you are because of the way Patti writes about coming into herself as a person and an artist and learning to connect to the world.
If you’re looking for a good book in these last few days of summer, I hope that this list helps narrow it down and inspires you to try a book you never thought you would. Who knows? It might just be your next reading obsession.