Life at UCB through the eyes of our international student bloggers

I Read Books That BookTok Recommended to Me

I Read Books That BookTok Recommended to Me

At this point, I think I should consider my love for books as a personality trait. (LOL!) TikTok is probably one of the biggest and most used platforms in the world right now, and it is the app that I mostly waste my time on. Seriously. A lot of people underestimate the app, and I used to be that type of person… And guess where it led me: to become addicted to it. Anyway, just like other platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, TikTok is also a home for a lot of communities and one of them happens to be BookTok. 

It is where avid readers and writers alike gather and share their love for books. It is so prevalent to the point that Waterstones has added a section dedicated solely to BookTok, recommending books that are widely discussed in the app. Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t indulge myself in any of the books that I’ve seen from TikTok. Out of a thousand books being suggested on my For You pageI have read at least six. First on my list is… 

1. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven 

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Not to be that type of person, but I had read this book long before TikTok and its motion picture release. This book was released in 2015, about seven years ago. I was 13 and all I could remember was crying as soon as I finished the book. I haven’t read it ever since then. But as far as I can remember though, without relying on our trusted Google, All The Bright Places is about a girl named Violet, who learns to live from a boy named Theo, who wants to die.

It’s a compelling story, and extremely heart-breaking. I remember when I finished the book, I closed it, put it in front of me, and all I could feel was the deep hollow spreading on my chest. It was really sad. It was also around the time where books (alongside this) like The Fault In Our Stars and Extraordinary Means were popular. They all follow the same plotline: about two people falling in love, but the other dies, and it’s all sad but also peaceful because they learn something meaningful from it. 

Looking back on it now, I don’t know how my 13-year-old pea brain handled all that sadness and despair. Nevertheless, I’d 10/10 recommend. Next on my list is… 

2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt | Goodreads

I don’t think I need an explanation for this. 

This is, by far, one of my favourite books to ever exist. It’s satirical, and it’s a heavy book but it’s also very fun to read. The places and emotions are descriptive, and my favourite part is probably the snowstorm. (Read the book if you want to understand this reference. *Wink, wink*) That scene from the book was just… haunting and incredibly stressful. I was panicking throughout the whole time that was happening. This is also the book that inspired me to write and publish my own book. It’s just an amazing book overall, but if you want to read my review about it, you can find it here

I 1000/10 recommend! 

3. Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-lyímídé

Similar to book no. 2, this is a mystery-thriller campus novel. It revolves around students that tackle sex, lies and fighting back against racism. It’s a gripping story, like literally. You wouldn’t be able to put the book down, because from my experience, I finished this book in a day… It was just that good. 1000/10 recommend! 

4. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

Okay. I 100% can tell that I am going to get hated for this, but this book is not it for me. I don’t know if it was the wrong place-wrong time type of situation, but I just didn’t like it at all. In fact, I dropped it mid-way. I really couldn’t bring myself to finish it, no matter how hard I tried.

I remember I bought this from the famous Notting Hill Bookshop. It was summer, and it was hot. My mum had just gotten her fifth tattoo, I think, and we decided to stop by the shop. The book caught my eye because I remembered seeing it from TikTok. Firstly, I didn’t know what it was about but the excerpt I got from the back of the book was enough to inform me. Secondly, a lot of people loved it and everyone hyped it so much, so I thought it was going to be worth it. Sadly though, I didn’t enjoy it as much as other people did. However, I haven’t given up hope yet. I might pick it back up again in the future, and who knows, I might enjoy it then. 

5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles: Miller, Madeline: 9781408891384: Books

As someone who loves Greek myths and their re-telling, this book sold it for me instantly. Although I do admit that it did take me quite a while to purchase this book because I’m already familiar with Achilles’ story and I didn’t want to buy a book that I already know the ending to. So, I put it off for a bit, then I started seeing more and more videos about it on TikTok. Naturally, my impulsiveness grew alongside it, so when I was window-shopping at Waterstones (which is a very bad idea, by the way!), I saw the book and I purchased it straight away. 

A lot of people cried at the end, and I was hesitant about that. I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be sobbing like the rest because I knew how it ended, but boy was I wrong… I cried the whole night when I finished the book. 100000/10 recommend if you love Greek myth and are up to a good crying sesh. 

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

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Tiktok made me buy it! : Reid, Taylor  Jenkins: Books

Just wow. This book… I can’t even put it into words. Other than Donna Tartt, Taylor Jenkins Reid’s writing style is probably my second favourite! I just love how she wrote this book. I. Love. It. Just like The Cruel Prince, I was equally as nervous about buying a book that TikTok had recommended to me. I was scared that people overhyped it too much, and I’ll end up regretting it and not enjoying it. I was wrong. Terribly. 

The main reason why I wanted to read this (other than TikTok) is because I’m in love with the aesthetics of Old Hollywood. I love the glamour of the ’50s. Let me explain to you the plot of the book, so you’ll understand… This novel follows the story of Evelyn Hugo, a (fictional) Old Hollywood star, who at age 79, gives a final interview to a journalist named Monique. She shares the story about why she had gotten divorced seven times from seven different men. Oh, the plot twist is insane! I really wasn’t expecting that turn. 100000000000000000/10 recommend!!! 

Anyways, that’s it for today’s blog! I hope you enjoyed it, and see you next Tuesday! <3

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