BookTok Reads that aren’t Goodreads

Saving readers from a disappointing story

These novels aren’t worth the hype.

This article discusses domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.

Avid readers are likely familiar with BookTok: a subcommunity on TikTok that discusses, recommends, and completely bashes popular books for the reading community.

While most books on TikTok are a positive escape from reality, others leave readers extremely disappointed—they’re not all worth the hype.

Here are two novels that don’t live up to their popularity, and two that deserve all the Goodreads reviews, so you don’t leave here empty-handed. 

People We Meet on Vacation

Though People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry is an easy, quick read, it didn’t live up to my expectations at all.

After seeing countless rave reviews on TikTok about how sweet, charming, and wholesome this book was, I assumed it would be as good as Beach Read, another popular novel by Henry. What I didn’t expect was a predictable storyline, an immature main character, and a consistent lack of communication.

I love novels with a dual POV, but this one missed the mark. Switches in timeline should expand and build on the relationship between the two characters, but in this book, they made the story confusing. They only informed me of inconsequential, minute-long interactions between Alex and Poppy, and gave me irrelevant details of a vacation that happened seven years prior.

I was left feeling unsatisfied with the two leads’ personalities and, frankly, their chemistry—or lack thereof. The banter was witty at times, but by no means made up for the rest of the novel.

Emily Henry is a wonderful author, but People We Meet on Vacation is only worth your time if you forgot your vacation book and it’s the only option at the airport bookstore.

—Michaela Li, ConEd ’24

It Ends with Us

I’ve read five Colleen Hoover books over the past four months, with It Ends with Us being the first. I picked it up because of all the buzz it was producing, but said buzz was undeserved.

While the storyline is important—it discusses the harm and difficulties women face navigating domestic violence—it was badly executed. The story was choppy, terribly transitioning between the past and the present.

At times, the story lost me due to its inconsistency, which also led me to disconnect from the characters.

When we finally see improvement in the story—once the main character decides to leave her abusive husband—we find out she’s still friends with him. Then after a 20-second-long interaction with her childhood boyfriend, Atlas, she starts dating him. Their conversation was a cliché overload, and actually made me cringe.

I love Colleen Hoover, but I can say with confidence this book was my least favorite of hers. It does not deserve the hype.

—Emily Miller, ConEd ’24

Six of Crows

One of my favourites reads of all time is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Frankly, one of the main characters, Matthias Helvar, is reason alone to pick it up—once you read it, you’ll understand.

The plot’s enough to keep you hooked, but it was the novel’s intersection of multiple storylines and multiple perspectives that piqued my interest. Bardugo gives readers a direct lens into the eyes of each character, inviting you to connect and empathize with each of their tragic backstories.

This book has something for everyone: the enemies to lovers trope, the pining, the “if-anyone-touches-her-they’re-dead” trope, a comedic main character, and a thrilling plot that really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

I grew emotionally attached to the characters and their struggles. As I reached the end, I was fully aware that, for the next month to follow, no other book would be able to compare.

Six of Crows is 100 per cent worth all the hype it received and, even better, it’s a series.

—Maddie Hunt, Senior Lifestyle Editor

The Hating Game

While some people criticize “trendy” books for feeling more like Wattpad stories than actual literature, I think these light reads are exactly what you want to read after a long day of classes.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne delivers. It follows co-workers Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman as they compete for the same promotion at a publishing company. The two recreate what I consider the best romance trope: enemies to lovers.

The story includes a relatable female protagonist, lots of witty banter, and a perfect amount of tension between the two lead characters. These elements came together to hold my attention through each page.

It may not be the most sophisticated book on the BookTok list, but nevertheless, I highly recommend it—especially to unwind and decompress during the school year. 

—Caitlin Elrick, ArtSci ’24

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