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5 Books That Deserve Your Attention That You Haven’t Seen on BookTok

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Step aside, Colleen Hoover

Look, I’ll be honest with you—I enjoy a Colleen Hoover book as much as the next person. However, there are plenty of novels out there that, quite frankly, are of higher quality, yet they haven’t gotten the same hype. Many of the books trending on BookTok are worth the buzz (Taylor Jenkins Reid, I’m looking at you), but I challenge you to expand your literary horizons just a little further to find your next favorite read. Without further ado, here are five books to add to the top of your TBR.

1. Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin

Gossip Girl fans, this one’s for you. Happy & You Know It is a juicy, Upper East Side dramedy following band-member-turned-playgroup-musician Claire as she plays catchy educational songs for the children of a group of trendy young moms. Amidst their juice cleanses and wellness pills, Claire quickly learns that there are dark secrets hiding behind the moms’ penthouse walls…and it’s only a matter of time until they come out.
Happy & You Know It is 50% wit, 50% mystery and 100% fun. If you’re looking for a New York City setting and a girl power group, I urge you to pick up this book ASAP.

2. Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Romance lovers, let me introduce you to Christina (and) Lauren. Christina Lauren is the pen name of two best friends and co-writers of some of the most heartwarming stories I’ve read recently. You may have seen The Unhoneymooners on BookTok (a great rec), but I enjoyed Love and Other Words even more. It follows former best friends Macy and Elliot in two alternating timelines (present and past) as they try to unravel what went wrong in their friendship and how they can recover the decade that they lost. 

This book features a best-friends-to-lovers plotline, cozy vibes and countless hours spent reading in a closet library (a new life goal of mine). Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and purchase this immediately.

3. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This stunning debut from Kiley Reid established her as an author I’ll be keeping on my radar in the future. Such a Fun Age explores the complicated relationship between the well-to-do Chamberlain family and their beloved babysitter, Emira Tucker. One night, when Emira takes the Chamberlains’ adorable daughter, Briar, on a grocery store field trip, a man accosts Emira and accuses her of kidnapping the two-year-old—his sole evidence being that Emira is Black, and Briar is white. The chaos that ensues is a disturbing portrait of privilege and race in America, embedded with hilarious bits of Briar’s unfiltered commentary.
Such a Fun Age will alternately anger you, humor you and enlighten you. It’s a rare and spectacular book that can do all three.

4. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

If you’re looking for something a little more fantastical, blow off your weekend plans and prepare to devour The Immortalists. As children, the four Gold siblings visit a traveling psychic who predicts the day they will each die. Outwardly, they brush off the encounter as nonsense, while internally, they each fear it’s a valid prophecy. The novel forces readers to consider their stances on fate, free will and family through chronicling the lives of Simon, Klara, Daniel and Varya.
Beautifully crafted and achingly real, The Immortalists will stick with you long after you read the final page. And, if you needed any more reason to pick it up, Chloe Benjamin is a UW–Madison grad!

5. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Technically, I haven’t quite finished Lessons in Chemistry yet, but I already know that it’s going to be one of my all-time favorites. The aptly-titled book stars Elizabeth Zott, a quirky chemist in the 1960s who, despite her lifelong desire to not become a housewife or a mother, has somehow become both a single mom and the host of a wildly popular afternoon cooking show. While she wants nothing more to get back to her scientific roots, she decides to use her platform to celebrate and empower her audience of stay-at-home-moms whose hard work too often goes unacknowledged.

Elizabeth’s character (along with Bonnie Garmus’ writing style) is witty, sharp and unapologetically smart. I’m not a science-minded person, but you don’t have to be in order to love and learn from the characters. It’s empowering to read about a woman who will stop at nothing to get not only what she wants, but what she deserves.

There’s nothing wrong with reading trending books every once in a while—they’re popular for a reason! With that being said, though, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that Colleen Hoover and Taylor Jenkins Reid are the only authors writing hype-worthy books. There are countless more just yearning for a spot on your bookshelf.

If you’re looking for more book recommendations or want to keep up to date on what I’m reading next, you can follow my book reviews on Instagram (@abbyscurrentreads).

Abby Synnes

Wisconsin '23

Abby is a senior at UW-Madison studying English and communication sciences and disorders. She is an enthusiast of good books, Taylor Swift, and vanilla lattes.