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BookTok Impulses: Were These Books Yay or Nays?

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

My journey as a reader started in sixth grade with one dystopian book: Divergent by Veronica Roth. That book changed my life as well as my view on books and reading for pleasure. I absolutely loved it and read the entire thing in one sitting. I forced my parents to buy the rest of the series shortly after and I suddenly became a reader, something I never would have imagined. A whole world of possibilities suddenly opened itself to me, but upon finishing that book I discovered a unique problem: I didn’t know what other books to read! At that time there wasn’t really a place where people could go and share their book recommendations. The closest thing was Good Reads, but I had a really hard time discovering any books there that called to me like Divergent did. 

However, with time, social media developed and the holy grail for readers came to be: TikTok. Or, more importantly, the community of readers that dove into what is now known as BookTok. I think we can all agree that at least one or two book recommendations have popped up on our feeds from time to time that we just had to download. And, to be honest, my feed got scarily good at predicting the kind of books that I would be interested in. So, here’s a list of books that BookTok forced me to buy and whether they were worth the hype. 

Normal People
by: Sally Rooney – undecided 

Genre: Psychological Fiction

Normal People is a story about two people who care for one another, but can never truly be together because of their faulty communication. It’s written in a very unconventional way, as the author chose to purposely omit certain punctuation marks, which makes for a confusing read at the beginning. Rarely, have I seen a book that has inspired so much debate on social media as Normal People has. To be completely honest, I understand where the debate comes from because, to this day, I still don’t know how I feel about this book. However, I can say, it’s one of the most thought-provoking books I have ever read, and it is highly quotable. It makes you question the people around you and how they think. In a weird way, I think this book made me braver. It made me want to speak my thoughts more clearly because oftentimes the only thing that stands between you and your wants is miscommunication. So, while some hate or love this book, I think you should read it, even if it’s only to form your own opinion. It’s also worth noting that this book has a series on HULU, for anyone that enjoys book adaptations. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by: Sarah J. Mass – Yay 

Genre: Fantasy 

“To the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered.”

If you’re a fan of fantasy or romance, definitely give this series a chance. ACOTAR is originally a beauty and the beast retelling. It’s told from the main character, Fayre’s, point of view and it follows her journey from the human lands, where she lives in extreme poverty, to the faire’s. The novel is full of action, romance, and more than a couple plot twists. To be honest, I read this book long before BookTok picked it up, but I felt compelled to add it to the list because I absolutely LOVE it. One of the reasons people tell me they’re hesitant to pick it up is because of how long the series is, and if you’re one of those people… then let me put it this way: When a book is as well written as ACOTAR, the more, the merrier. Literally, just start reading the first chapter, and you will understand. The world this author created feels so real, it’s as if you could reach out your hand and immerse in the pages. The characters have depth, and they deal with real mental health issues that are rarely talked about. Moreover, this book has thorough character development that very few book series out there have. It makes you understand people can change, for better or for worse, and it shows that people are rarely black or white, but somewhere in the middle. 


Cruel Prince
by: Holly Black – Nay 

Genre: Fantasy 

Here lies a book that I read a while ago. Cruel Prince is a book about a human girl named Jude that is taken by her parents’ killer and raised among the fae. The entire book is her struggle to fit into a deadly society that despises her kind and her journey to finding herself. I know many people who really enjoyed this book, but unfortunately, I am not one of them. While the book was well written, I could never truly immerse myself in it. I found the characters very hard to like or relate to and the storyline confusing at best. The one thing I can surely say about this book is that the ending was unexpected. Holly Black can certainly craft a good plot twist. However, it wasn’t enough in the end to be that memorable for me. I know the book has a continuation, and maybe one day I’ll find myself motivated enough to continue reading, but today is not that day. 


From Blood and Ash
by: Jennifer L. Armentrout – Nay 

Genre: Fantasy, romance

This book follows our protagonist, Poppy, who is chosen to be a “Maiden”, destined to live a solitary life until she is given in her Ascension. However, she escapes for a night out by herself and meets someone that will change her plans forever. When I started this series, it was with much excitement, I thought I had finally found my next ACOTAR. It had everything I enjoyed: romance, fantasy, and adventure. However, while I did consider the first book to be good, things started going downhill from there. With every book I went through, the story started feeling empty to me and the lack of plot was substituted with weak moral dilemmas and unnecessary sexual content. The conversations and characters lacked depth and the main character lacked common sense. Overall, it ended up being a disappointing read that I very much do not recommend. 

by: Colleen Hoover – Yay 

Genre: Thriller, romance

“Find what you love and let it kill you.”

Verity is a thriller about a writer named Lowen who is hired to ghostwrite the last books in a very popular series, since the original author could not. However, when she arrives at the author’s house to go through her notes… things start getting weird. I know some people who refuse to read Colleen Hoover’s books precisely because of how famous they are. Most readers I know have read at least one of her books. So, to people who feel like Hoover’s books are overrated, I say this: there is a reason her books are so popular. It’s because her characters feel real, her plots are always immaculate, and you almost never guess what’s coming next. Verity is one of her most recent books, and it’s very different from her usual type of writing because it’s a thriller. It’s dark and, at times, literally hard to read because of how vivid it is and the sensitive subjects it touches on, like mentally ill people and the consequences this has on an entire family. I read it in two days. So, if you have not had the pleasure of reading a Hoover book, do yourself a favor and pick this up at your nearest bookstore. I promise you will not be disappointed. 


It Ends With Us
by: Colleen Hoover – Yay

Genre: Romance

It Ends With Us follows the story of a girl named Lily, when she meets and falls in love with a guy named Ryle. However, a fairy tale ending is not in the cards for them as Ryle starts to reveal a darker side to him. When I started this list, I promised myself I would only choose one book per author but… I had to make this exception. I have seen so many people reading this book either at offices or the hallways of the UPR, so I just had to put it in here. When I first read this book, I hated it. I really did. I hated it, but not because of the writing itself. I hated how real it was. I hated that things weren’t linear or that the end didn’t come neatly tied up with a bow. I hated how sad it made me. So, if you’re looking for a book to just pass the time with absolutely zero commitment, this is not that book. It will make you feel things, and it will make you justify things that really have no justification, precisely because of how well written and thought out it was. With time, I have grown fond of this book and can honestly say it deserves a read. Moreover, you should know Hoover was kind enough to give us a second book, which was very much necessary, and that I also read in two days.  


Karla Perez is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. She's studying English Education. When she isn't studying or working, you can find her reading the latest Colleen Hoover book, writing, or laying beneath a palm tree on a beach contemplating her life decisions.