Young Adult Reads
May 19, 2021
A popular trend among people on the internet today is, believe it or not, reading. The popular social media site TikTok is a hub for reading recommendations in a slew of different genres. Dubbed ‘BookTok’ by many individuals on the site, readers of all different ages make short videos reviewing and sharing their favorite books. BookTok has garnered mass popularity, with 8.6 billion views under the #BookTok hashtag. Even popular bookstores like Barnes and Noble have seen this corner of the internet and have their own special BookTok book tables designated throughout their stores. A select number of book titles are ‘famous’ for how much they are discussed on TikTok, and being a person on this side of TikTok, I have read many of these books. I will share the honest truth about these popular reads, as well as whether or not I recommend them.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Song of Achilles is one of the most talked-about, if not the most talked about, book on BookTok today. Set in Greece in the age of heroes, the story centers around Patroclus, the son of the lesser-known king Menoetius. He is punished for committing an unforgivable act, and banished from his kingdom, where he is taken in at the kingdom Phthia. There, he meets the charismatic Achilles, who is prophesied to be the greatest hero that ever lived. Patroclus and Achilles become close friends and eventually lovers. Their companionship training under the centaur Chiron brought them closer together than ever, until the Mycenaean king Agamemnon calls upon the Achaeans to fight, after his brother’s wife Helen has been kidnapped. This sends the two to war, where a haunting prophecy hangs over Achilles’ head. The Song of Achilles is a novel chock full of stunning detail, heart-stopping chapters, and a tear-jerking ending. After I finished The Song of Achilles, I sat in a stunned silence at what I had just finished, tears running down my cheeks. This book was something that I couldn’t put down; it was so genuinely moving and beautiful. Some may believe that the book is overhyped, but I think it is deserving of its mass popularity on TikTok.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is a newer read, having only been published in 2020! However, the popularity it has seen on TikTok is enormous. Centered around a young girl named Addie LaRue in 18th century France, she wishes constantly to see the world around her and to make her mark on the world. Addie only gets out of her small town of Villon once a year to accompany her father to the market. Her mother prompts her to live a traditional lifestyle and forces her to marry a man whose wife has just passed away. However, after learning of old gods as opposed to new ones from her neighbor Estele, she does the one thing she was warned never to do: prays to the gods who answer after dark. She pleads for a life of freedom, and he obliges, but it comes with a catch. She can live forever, but no one will remember her. One closed door, one night of sleep, and her memory is erased from another person’s mind. This is until she meets the boy with kind eyes named Henry Strauss, who works in a quaint bookshop in present day New York who remembers her name the following day. This book was a page-turner; instantly from the first chapter, the reader is sucked into the world of Addie LaRue. V.E. Schwab can write a stunning twist, which sends the reader into a whirlwind as the plot continues to mold like a clay sculpture. This book is also deserving of the hype; the development of the characters, as well as each story of Addie’s life, is masterfully crafted and will instantly capture your attention.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a novel that, upon first read, you may think is a true story. Monique Grant is a struggling up and coming journalist, looking for her first breakout story under a magazine company that she believes doesn’t use her to her potential. This is until glamorous movie star Evelyn Hugo, who hasn’t spoken to any newspaper or magazine in decades, breaks her silence to do an interview with the company that Monique works for. The scenario grows stranger when Evelyn requests to speak with Monique specifically for the interview, and she reveals that she doesn’t actually want a magazine interview at all: she requests that Monique pens her entire autobiography. Thus, Monique Grant dives into the world of Evelyn Hugo, which presents never before heard insight on her upbringing, rise to stardom, and lavish career. However, perhaps the most intriguing detail about Evelyn Hugo’s extensive life is the seven husbands she has had and the fact that she has outlived all of them. This book is, yet again, a huge tearjerker. Threading between Monique Grant’s own life and Evelyn Hugo’s, it brings about many fresh stories that are emotional, elating, and oftentimes exhilarating. Anyone who wants to read a book unlike anything they’ve ever read before needs to pick up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.