5 Popular Books Totally Worth the Hype

BookTok and Bookstagram’s most popular recommendations dissected and reviewed.

5 Popular Books Totally Worth the Hype
Photo by Taylor Wright on Unsplash

There was a time when The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein was all over Instagram.

No matter which book reviewer’s profile I clicked, pictures of this book were splashed all over their profiles, making my fear of missing out worse.

And then, one day, I gave in and started reading.

To say that I was disappointed would be a gross understatement. I just couldn’t understand what the hype was about. And worst of all, I couldn’t even abandon the book mid-way because what if something interesting happened towards the end that made it worth the hype?

(Spoiler alert: nothing did)

If you’re an avid reader, I’m sure you’ve had the experience where you pick up a book you’ve heard a lot about, and when you start reading, you’re let down.

However, there are some rare books that are totally worth the hype, and no matter when you read them, you end up loving them just as much as the reviews claim.

For the past few weeks, I read a lot of books that were insanely hyped over BookTok and Bookstagram. Turns out, some of them were a pleasant surprise.

If you’ve heard about these books and are unsure whether or not to pick them up, I’d say go ahead and do it. You won’t regret starting these five popular books on BookTok and Bookstagram that are totally worth the hype.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Romance, Psychological Fiction, Period Drama (1940–50s)

Image: Goodreads

Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood actress famous for her stunning looks and her Academy award-winning performances.

But most of all, she is notoriously well-known for her scandalous private life, with her seven failed marriages.

As someone who’s been highly secretive about her personal affairs all her life, the world is shaken when Evelyn agrees to write a reveal-all biography. Everyone hopes it will answer the burning question in their minds: she had seven husbands, but who was her one true love?

Why’s this book worth the hype

Taylor Jenkins Reid does a fabulous job of showing the struggles of being a woman in Hollywood in the 80s, of the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations, and the toll it takes on one’s mental health and personal relationships.

The book is a brilliant portrayal of a strong female character and stays true to its premise. While the final reveal didn’t come as too much of a shocker, I believe everyone should read this book for the brilliant portrayal of the travails of everyday life and the miracles love can bring about.

Purchase the book here.

2. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Dark Academia

Image: Goodreads

This book follows Alex Stern who’s been invited to go to Yale because she has the magical ability to see ghosts. In a highly intriguing world created by Bardugo, all of Yale’s secret societies have elements of magic to them. Alex’s job is to make sure the dead people are kept away from these societies.

There’s also a secondary plot of a murder mystery, which didn’t really catch my fancy in the beginning. But in the end, all the threads tie up so well, making the book completely worth the journey.

Why’s this book worth the hype

I was certainly in two minds about reading this, especially because I hadn’t enjoyed Bardugo’s writing in Shadow and Bone. But this dark and delicious adult fantasy blew my mind.

This book isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if you’re interested in dark academia and fantasy, you’ll definitely love reading it.

Purchase the book here.

3. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Queer Romance

Image: Goodreads

The premise is a cliche that’s been used over and over again in romance novels — two people need to be seen together for whatever reasons and they pretend to be in a relationship. During the course of their fake relationship, they start developing feelings for each other, and before they know it, the lines between what’s fake and what’s real blur, and they realize even deeper feelings might be involved than what they had bargained for in the beginning.

Tried and tested, but Alexis Hall executes it in a way that makes you smile and cry and fall in “Wuv” along the way.

Luc is the paparazzi’s favorite celebrity — the failed son of an 80s rockstar couple (now divorced): unabashedly flamboyant, always inebriated, always making a fool of himself in social places. He can’t keep a job or a relationship, his house is a mess, and most nights, he ends up on the bathroom floor, crying to himself after yet another night of someone walking all over his self-esteem.

Oliver is a well-educated, well-respected barrister who works hard, loves his job, and has his life together. He lives in a pretty, organized house in one of the posh localities and has perfect parents with whom he talks regularly ad has a functional relationship.

On paper, these two are polar opposites with Oliver seeming to be that unattainable dream-boyfriend Luc thought he would never deserve. But things aren’t always rosy for Oliver as well. When Luc discovers what he hides behind his veneer of professionalism, he feels more drawn than ever. And as these two broken souls fight to find a way to each other through their imperfections, insecurities, and mental health issues, we readers get one hell of an emotional roller coaster.

Why’s this book worth the hype

I read this book because of the hype it generated on Bookstagram. Every reader was talking about it, which, to be completely honest, lowered my expectations. I thought this would be a light breezy YA romance with all fluff and no substance.

But damn, did this book surprise me!

To say I loved this book would be an understatement. But of late, I’ve read so many great books, that I feel I end up saying this on almost every review. Whichever way you look at it — there’s a whole bunch of amazing authors I have not yet come across, and Alexis Hall might well have been on the top of that list for his outstanding talent!

Purchase the book here.

4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: YA Fantasy, Romance

Image: Goodreads

This is the first book to a fantasy YA quartet which also happens to be one of the most popular YA fantasies out there. With good reason.

This is a Roman-inspired dual perspective fantasy story about two people: Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

They live in an authoritative Empire where even the smallest defiance is met with death. The story begins when Laia’s brother is arrested. To earn his freedom back, she makes a deal to become a spy within the Empire’s greatest military academy. There, she meets Elias who’s an officer within the academy and also one of its finest soldiers.

These two should hate each other, but are inexplicably drawn to one another, marking the start of one of the most well-narrated enemies-to-lovers stories of our time.

Why’s this book worth the hype

Sabaa Tahir creates one of the most dramatic, drawn-out, angsty romance of two characters you want to be together so bad, you almost wish you could be transported to their world so you could tell them how they’re perfect together and how much they belong with each other.

Even if you don’t enjoy YA romance fantasy, you’ll enjoy the magic, the plot, the pacing, the politics, and the intricacies of this world. And you’ll definitely love the sparks that fly between the characters in one of the most well-written books I recently read.

Purchase the book here.

5. Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Adult fantasy

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of a young girl, Vin, who lost her family and learned the skills of survival on the streets.

Her “normal” life is ripped apart when the suave and ambitious Kelsier finds her and tells her she is an Allomancer — someone who can “burn” metals to fight, fly, run great distances quickly, and influence the decisions of other people.

Vin refuses to believe him, but when Kelsier offers to take her in his “crew” and tutor her, she learns of her abilities and takes great pleasure in leaving the hardships of her life on the streets behind.

But what she doesn’t know is that Kelsier is planning the greatest insurrection of all time — by overthrowing the Lord Ruler who has been the king of the world for more than a thousand years. The story of Vin, Kelsier, and their crew as they go along with their plan that threatens to upturn the entire planet makes up the story of Mistborn Era One. The ending is one of the most satisfying climaxes you would have ever read in fantasy — with Sanderson tying up some ends you didn’t even realize were loose.

Why’s this book worth the hype

Mistborn is probably the most talked-about book on BookTube. But it’s so good, that it’s one of the first few books I recommend whenever someone asks me for fantasy book recommendations.

Special mention to the delicious logic in the “magic” and the edge-of-the-seat action sequences. The author specializes in them and throws in just enough of them to make the book a treat.

Purchase the book here.

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