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Book Recs Not Found On BookTok That Should Be

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Boston chapter.

If you’re not familiar with TikTok and all the personalization that comes with your fyp (for you page), then you may not be familiar with “sides” of TikTok. Let me introduce you to one side of TikTok, affectionately called BookTok. This is a safe space for book lovers to unite and share their favorite (and not so favorite) books that they’ve read. It is a community that I love being a part of, but I find that there are many titles missing from the main commentary that all the BookTokers review. Below I’ve constructed my list of books that I think deserve more hype and recognition, and that I hope to see on more people’s BookTok reviews.

I’m going to recommend some spooky/gothic local Massachusetts indie authors that I discovered at the Spooktastic book fair in Jamaica Plain on Sept. 30, which was just in time for October and Halloween vibes. In honor of banned books week, Oct. 1 to Oct. 7, I’ll recommend my favorite banned books. As for every book I recommend, please make sure to check the trigger or content warnings because some books do address heavy or controversial topics, which can be difficult to read for some people, but I am a believer in each reader being able to determine their line for too much or too personal. Hopefully these recs will overflow your To Be Read, and give you places to start if you’re getting back into reading for fun or are just starting out!

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Photo By Stephanie Roberts

Spooky/Gothic Indie Mass authors:

These are all on my TBR right now! I enjoyed meeting the authors and having them sign their books; it was such a fun event!

  • Blood Coven by Sabrina Voerman
  • Eros & Thanatos by Cassandra L. Thompson and Damon Barret Roe
  • Haven by Tom Deady
  • Hunger for Death by Joshua Marsella 
  • Ravens & Roses by Cassandra L. Thompson
  • The Wild Dark by Katherine Silva

banned books:

According to the American Library Association from Jan. 1, 2022 to Aug. 31, 2023, Massachusetts has had 45 attempts to ban books, 57 titles challenged in those attempts, and the most challenged book was Gender Queer: a memoir by Maia Kobabe. The state with the most attempts to ban and titles within those attempts should come as no shock: it’s Texas. In the same time period, Texas had 93 attempts to ban books, 2,349 titles in those attempts, and the most challenged book was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, which is a title I’ve read and recommended on this list. Book bans may seem like they don’t happen in your area, but there were only four states that had no bans or no data available for this past year; those states are Delaware, Nevada, West Virginia, and Vermont. Every state has had book bans in the last decade or more.

  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki*
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


All of these books have completely altered me and the way I think. They are all 10/10 recommendations. I wrote my English 450G final on The Nickel Boys, my English 570 final on The Old Drift, and did one of my IB English papers on In Cold Blood. Colson Whitehead exposed the cracks in American democracy stories for Black boys, who dreamed for more than what they would get. Nemwali Serpell constructed a powerful three-generational polyphonic novel with chorus inserts from the perspectives of mosquitos (or so you think), which add unique voices of dissent against the other voices. Truman Capote blurs the line between innocence and guilt through his account of a brutal crime. The last books on this list are different from the other three; Kiersten Modglin writes a mystery set in a small town, where nothing is as it seems, and Ellen Taylor dives into the complexity of grief and mystery in a dual-timeline set in Nags Head, N.C.

  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  • The Old Drift by Nemwali Serpell
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Our Little Secret by Kiersten Modglin
  • The Brighter the Light by Mary Ellen Taylor

spicy romance (18+):

  • Monsters & Muses series by Sav R. Miller 🌶🌶🌶🌶🌶/5

This is my current favorite binge series. This series is dark romance, so please check the trigger/content warning. I have read these books too many times this year, and I love the interconnected storylines. The order is Promises and Pomegranates, Vipers and Virtuosos, Oaths and Omissions, Arrows and Apologies, Souls and Sorrows, and Liars and Liaisons. My favorite is Vipers and Virtuosos, and I have reread it twice this year alone. All of these are Greek myth inspired, but not retellings. Promises and Pomegranates is inspired by Hades and Persephone, which I’ve seen once on BookTok, but I think it needs more love. Vipers and Virtuosos is inspired by Orpheus and Eurydice. Oaths and Omissions is inspired by Helen of Troy. Arrows and Apologies is inspired by Apollo and Daphne. Souls and Sorrows is inspired by Eros and Psyche. Lastly, Liars and Liaisons is inspired by Pan and Echo.

  • Honey Mountain and Cottonwood Cove series by Laura Pavlov 🌶🌶/5

These two series are cutesy with a couple spicy scenes in each book. Honey Mountain is a small mountain town series, where each book follows a sister from a local important family. Cottonwood Cove is a small town series that follows the cousins or friends from the Honey Mountain series with a couple character crossovers and spoilers, so read the Honey Mountain series first. These books are beautiful palate cleansers if you read a lot of dark romance like I do or are simply good, wholesome romance reads.

  • The Windsors series by Catherina Maura 🌶🌶🌶/5

This series follows a set of four brothers and a sister, who are forced into arranged marriages by their grandmother to secure their inheritances. Each brother falls in love with their arranged wives uniquely and beautifully. The order is The Wrong Bride, The Temporary Wife, The Unwanted Marriage, The Broken Vows, and coming in January 2024 is the last book, which is currently not titled. My favorite is The Wrong Bride.

  • Shadow Beast Shifters series by Jaymin Eve 🌶🌶🌶🌶/5

This is a dark fantasy romance series with demons, vampires, werewolves, and other mythological creatures. Please check the trigger/content warnings. The first three books follow one couple, and the books are Rejected, Reclaimed, and Reborn. The other three books follow the friends of the main couple, and each book is standalone. The titles are Deserted, Compelled, and Glamoured. My favorites are the trilogy.

Stephanie Roberts

U Mass Boston '25

☆ VA ☆ UK’23 B.A. English ΚΚΓ Beta Chi alumni UMB’25 M.A. English