TikTok Made Me Read It, Part Two
If you’re not on TikTok by now, I’m not totally sure whether to congratulate or scold you.
On the one hand, it is a monumental time suck.
On the other hand, it has evolved into a delightful wealth of knowledge for everything from recipes to DIY home projects to political analysis to car maintenance to fitness routines. Sixty second video snippets of information delivered directly to your phone for the ultimate “what fun new thing can I learn today?”
Having been on this app for the better part of two years now, I am painfully aware that its algorithm knows me well (still not sold on whether that’s a good or a bad thing), and it knows that the content I consume with nearly as much enthusiasm as I Fast Pass my beloved Lore Olympus web comics is BookTok.
BookTok, like BookTube and Bookstagram before it, has created a space within a social media platform for readers, writers, reviewers, and other literature enthusiasts to share what they love (or don’t) about books.
With this surge of online literary interest, of course, comes many a recommendation.
And I, impressionable and devout bookworm that I am, was loathe to scroll by and allow such suggestions to merely fade into the ether.
So here are a few more books I’ve read thanks to TikTok.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
By V.E. Schwab
I am a devoted Victoria Schwab fan (if you have yet to read A Darker Shade of Magic, go away and read it now, please), so when I learned she was publishing a new standalone fantasy, I wasn’t in need of too much convincing.
Addie LaRue, in a moment of desperation, makes a deal with… exactly whom one should not be making deals with. The deal earns her her freedom as well as immortality, but at a steep cost: no one she meets can ever remember her.
This was a beautifully descriptive novel that takes you from the eighteenth century French countryside to twenty-first century New York by way of a constellation of freckles and a lonely, art lover’s journey to inspire great works through history — and perhaps make a friend on the way.
Serpent & Dove
By Shelby Mahurin
I wasn’t sure about this one at first. When a sixteen-year-old on TikTok tells the internet that this is a passionate enemies to lovers romance, there is the niggling uncertainty that hinges between disbelief and intrigue, and one has to wonder what in the world said sixteen-year-old classifies as “passionate”.
And okay, some romantic elements took place (I’ve read spicier, but I’ll take it), but the two pieces I enjoyed most about this book were the church versus witches backdrop and the forced marriage trope. Lou is the wily, smart-mouthed, unkempt street urchin, and Reid is the uptight, God-fearing, militant do-gooder. Not sure which I’d be better friends with were they real people, but I sure do love them both.
The Song of Achilles
By Madeleine Miller
Just a warning: I was utterly destroyed.
I suppose I ought to have expected that given how much reading I’ve done around the Trojan War. Spoiler alert, in case you are utterly ignorant of Greek history’s most famous hero: he dies at the end. That said, the emotional journey this book took me on was magnificent. While I enjoyed Miller’s Circe for its serpentine exploration of every Greek myth you can think of, I remember not loving the pace. The Song of Achilles, on the other hand, offers up the weight and psychological turmoil while keeping my attention.
Red, White, & Royal Blue
By Casey McQuiston
This one is unfair as I did read this prior to my tumble down the BookTok rabbit hole, but it certainly pops up enough throughout many a bookworm’s account that it more than deserves a mention.
Read this book. I’ve now read it four times. Perhaps it’s my escapism into an alternate post-2016 United States that elected a president capable of compassion and reason. Perhaps it’s my love for well-rounded and charmingly detailed characters who behave like people I know and would recognize out in the world. Perhaps I just really, really love a great queer romance (and I do).
Whatever the reason, please read this delightful book about the son of the U.S. president and a prince of England falling in love amidst Star Wars references, polo matches, and many an email love letter.
Shadow & Bone
By Leigh Bardugo
Yes, I managed to finish the trilogy before the show premiered. *Pats back.*
Truth be told, I knew precious little of this series prior to actually sitting down to read it. I’d heard more about Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom (the continuation of Bardugo’s “Grishaverse”) than I had about the Shadow & Bone trilogy, but once I realized I had just seven weeks to get through them all before the entire thing was spoiled for me thanks to the Netflix show and the internet’s painful inability to keep its mouth shut for more than twelve hours at a time, I devoured them all in the space of a week.
This was enchantingly unique. I recognized a great deal of the Russian lore that inspired some of this world, but I also appreciated the intricacies that were borne entirely of Bardugo’s imagination. Main character Alina Starkov discovers the extent of her unique and powerful abilities as well as the truth behind the myths of Ravka, a country torn apart by the dangerous and mystical “shadow fold”.
House of Salt & Sorrows
By Erin Craig
A somewhat gothic, seaside take on the “Twelve Dancing Princesses” tale, this book follows the supposed “curse” placed on main character Annaleigh’s family.
I’ll admit this was not my favorite, but if you enjoy an almost-spooky atmospheric writing style and don’t mind feeling plunged from one reality to another fairly quickly, give it a read.
No, I still have not read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I have the first book, and I will get to them when I feel emotionally prepared to dunk myself into an eight book binge, mmkay?
Lore by Alexandra Bracken was released earlier this year, and you’re damn right I preordered it the moment I could. Mercifully, not too many spoilers have made their way onto my corner of TikTok yet, but I’m keen to finish this Greek mythology retelling (yes, another one — shut up) before they do.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong was my Book of the Month Club pick several months ago, and considering the author herself has popped up on my for you page more than once, it’s past time I caught up and dove into this 1920’s Shanghai reimagining of Romeo and Juliet.