Technically, this month’s topic is supposed to be books that you picked up because of BookTube, but I found many of these books through blogs and Goodreads groups as well. Also, I have a completely irrational hatred of the word “Booktube,” and I have no idea why. Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle to come up with this list because many of the books that immediately came to mind were books that I’ve already recommended many times before. In fact, the majority of them were part of my first every Monthly Recommendations post (here) and it was tough to think of others. Many of the channels I follow are much more up-to-date than I am with new releases, so I would have a much easier time with “books I added to my TBR because of the internet” than books I actually read! Here are just a few of the books I discovered online, and I’m so glad I gave them the chance.
1) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This was a series that the internet initially put me off, but eventually persuaded me to read. This series was absolutely everywhere, and every channel I watched or blog I read was raving about how amazing it was. I first heard about it when I was in a phase where I was still pretty burnt out on dystopians, and this one was definitely more sci-fi than I usually read. It finally got to the point where I broke down and just had to see what all the hype was about, and I’m so glad I did! The series features retellings of classic fairy tales with a sci-fi/fantasy twist. I found Cinder a tiny bit predictable but it still managed to get me hooked and this was one of the first series that I really prioritized finishing. I haven’t read any of the “between the numbers” stories from this one yet, but I would highly recommend the main series at least.
2) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I have yet to find a John Green book that I loved enough to give a full 5 stars, but this one definitely came the closest. I started hearing about this book a lot around the time that the movie came out, and I think I actually ended up seeing the movie version first. For those who don’t know, this book is about two teenagers, Hazel and Augustus, who meet at a support group for teens who have cancer, and the relationship that develops between them. It’s a pretty sappy story, and it is one I might not have picked up without all the hype. Like most John Green books, the characters do not really seem like typical teenagers, but in this case I think it worked. It wouldn’t surprise me for people going through a major medical condition like cancer to grow up quickly and come across more mature than would be expected for their age. I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to.
3) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
While the Fault in Our Stars was sad, this book genuinely made me cry! I was literally in tears by the end of this book, and it is one of the books that has stuck with me the most out of everything I’ve read for my reading challenges so far. This book is about a 13-year-old boy named Conor who wakes up every night to find a monster outside his window, who will tell Conor three stories in exchange for the one secret that Conor refuses to tell anyone. This book is absolutely heartbreaking, and much too intense for children! The original copy that I read had amazingly dark and creepy illustrations that added so much to the story, and I was shocked to find that not all editions of the book have them! I have yet to buy a copy of my own because I can’t find the right edition anywhere. This is by far one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read, and I devoured the entire thing in one sitting.
4) I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This is another book that I might have overlooked if it wasn’t for all the online hype. It is about Jude and Noah, fraternal twins who are now barely speaking to each other after an event that has changed them both. The story is told from the perspectives of both twins, with Jude narrating the present and Noah narrating the past. I went into this one not necessarily expecting very much, and I ended up loving it. The writing style does take a bit of getting used to, especially in Noah’s sections since he tends to use a lot of odd metaphors (ie. “Jude barfs bright blue fluorescent barf all over the table, but I’m the only one who notices”) which can be a little off-putting. The book definitely felt a lot more complex and deeper than your average YA story, and there was also quite a focus on art since both twins are artist. It’s been just over 2 years since I read this so it’s hard to discuss it in detail, but I remember loving it a lot more than I expected and I wouldn’t have even picked it up if it wasn’t for the online hype.
5) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I have only read the first book in this series so far, but I was absolutely blown away by it! This was one of several series that seemed to be absolutely everywhere, and that I avoided for a long time because I thought it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. I was very impressed to find that when I finally did give it a chance, it drew me in almost the same way that Harry Potter did. More than anything, it was the character dynamics that drew me in. The plot is a little complicated to explain without going into too much detail, and although it was a tiny bit confusing at first, the writing style and the characters immediately won me over. I am eagerly looking forward to reading the rest of this series, which I’m currently saving for the upcoming months when my library is closing for renovations! Along with the Lunar Chronicles, this was the book that convinced me that I might need to start listening to the online hype a little more.
6) A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
This is another series that I avoided for a long time but finally decided to try because of all the online hype. I’ve only read the first book so far, but I’m looking forward to reading the rest. This series is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling, about a girl named Feyre who is taken away to live in a magical kingdom as punishment for accidentally killing a faerie. Honestly, when I first started this book I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy it. I liked the writing style but I found it a little slow to get started, but once it took off (especially after Rhysand was introduced) it was amazing! This quickly became one of my favourite books of the year, and I thought it was a very interesting story with some great characters. Once the book took off in the second half, I knew I had to continue with the series! I’m so glad I decided to listen to the hype and give this a fair chance.
7) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I was absolutely convinced that this book could not possibly live up to all the hype, and I was worried that most of the attention had to do with the subject matter than the story itself. As soon as I picked it up, I was drawn into the story. This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Starr Carter whose childhood best friend, Khalil, is killed at the hands of a police officer. What was most interesting for me about this book was how it explored how Khalil was treated after his death, including attempts to blame him for what happened. Starr is one of the strongest YA protagonists I’ve read in the past few years, and this is such a powerful story. I was very impressed with the writing style and the depth of the characters, and I really think this book deserved the hype that it got!