Books Always Off the Shelf

The most popular books on social media, reviewed.

By Hayley Withrow '23

With the integration of social media into society came large amounts of people coming together all around the world due to their shared interest. TikTok, for example, has a myriad of these groups, like MarvelTok, CrystalTok, PetTok, and BookTok. In these last few years, BookTok has soared and thousands of people have posted their favorite books with the hashtag. This has helped certain books and authors gain immense popularity and increased book sales all over. I have read almost all of these books, but here are my reviews on my favorites and some of the most popular ones:

1) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 5/5 stars

I would not be exaggerating when I say that Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of the greatest authors of all time. Every single book she writes is pure gold wrapped in a beautiful cover. Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was an experience I won’t soon forget. Reid immediately immerses you into 1950s Hollywood with the glitz and glam of golden Oscars and black and white screens. The reader falls in love with Evelyn right away. Her charm and determination are so admirable as she navigates a male dominated Hollywood and personally struggles with internalized stigma that is still so relatable today. The back and forth from the current interview Image courtesy of Amazon to when Evelyn was younger can be confusing at times, but

adds a wonderful level of depth and it is vital to the end of the story. There are so many plot twists and shocks throughout this book and I found myself wishing there were two hundred more pages when I finished it. I want to write page after page about this book, but that would spoil the magic of the unknown that is the center of this novel. This book, while fun and romantic, also depicts serious issues within Hollywood and society as a whole. Evelyn becomes a symbol of not just women battling sexism in Hollywood, but an ongoing fight between previous notions and stigma surrounding love of all kinds. This book allowed a deeper insight into the not so glitzy elements of Hollywood and the struggles our favorite female stars have had to go through.

2) It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, 4.5/5 stars

This book is the definition of a plot twist. When I got to the middle of the book, I was so shocked that I almost threw my book across the room. Hoover makes you embarrassed with yourself for how you viewed characters in the beginning versus how you view them in the end, but in a good way. She carefully foreshadows events in the first few chapters that are so subtle I had to go back to see them and understand them. Lily Bloom, despite the colorful name, has a permanent air of sadness around her that is slowly revealed, and explains her attraction to Ryle, a doctor with a second personality that is near terrifying. I immediately fell in love with Atlas, her previous lover and best friend. His personality is similar to Lily’s and he, even after years of Image courtesy of Amazon them not talking, will put down everything to protect her. The only thing that prevented this book from getting five stars was that the ending seemed rushed, and there were many loose ends that I wish were tied. However, this could be Hoover setting up for a sequel, as the prequel, It Starts with Us, is set to come out mid-October of this year. Slight warning though, for readers who have seen or dealt with abuse of any kind, this book might be especially hard to read at certain parts. The scenes can be a little graphic at times, but are important to the novel as a whole. This book is perfect for those looking for an intense but loving read.

3) The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, 5/5 stars

This has been and will always be my favorite book. I have yet to read something so beautiful and pure, so elegant, and so heartbreaking. You immediately fall in love with Achilles and Patrocleus and become obsessed with their story. Miller creates a flawless image of the Greek islands and countryside; it is so easy to picture yourself walking around with the characters in the fig vineyards and the thick forests. Even months after reading it, I still find myself learning more about the clues and allusions in the book. Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, is symbolized through figs which becomes a major element of the relationship between Achilles and Patrocleus. As someone who does not know much about Greek Mythology, I was expecting this book to be confusing but she does a great job of explaining all the Kings, Gods and Goddesses. Image courtesy of Amazon

I felt like I was next to the characters the entire time;

like I knew them in real life. For something that seems so foreign and long ago, it really felt familiar to me. Even though some of the characters are otherworldly (literally), the experiences they go through like identity struggles are incredibly relatable. The ending was so far off from what I expected it to be that I still can’t believe it months after I read it. The writing at the end is so beautiful and ties perfectly back to elements shown in the beginning. I wish I could write down every thought I have about that book, but every element is so essential to the plot that even slightly spoiling it would change the entire thing. This book contains every genre: romance, action, nonfiction elements, darker fiction. I recommend it to everyone who knows how to read; this book took me out of a reading slump I had been in for weeks.

4) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, 4.5/5 stars

Sally Thorne always writes incredible books like Second First Impressions, and this book is no exception. In fact, it’s so good that a movie adaptation just came out with actress Lucy Hale playing Lucy (how fitting) and actor Austin Stowell playing Josh. The book is extremely eventful and at no point did anything really slow down. The chemistry between Lucy and Josh is there right from the start and a perfect example of how enemies to lovers should look. It was so easy to picture every part of Lucy’s cluttered apartment to their shared office at B+G Publishing. It is adorable how Josh acts around Lucy and how she is always flamboyant and always herself. The banter between Josh and Lucy is hilarious and just flirtatious enough to give you butterflies, but not too overbearing. The only few things that prevent this book from getting five stars is that the Image courtesy of Amazon

ending with the promotion felt very rushed, considering

it played such a major part throughout the book. Lucy also always seemed to easily be able to fix complicated issues, which made certain elements seem too unrealistic. However, this book was almost impossible to put down and I adored reading it. It is perfect for those craving a fun read and for those who love all sorts of popular tropes.

5) People we Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry, 5/5 stars

For those looking for a fun, attention grabbing read, this book is perfect. Emily Henry in all her books throws you into the story and soon, it becomes all you think about. The characters in this book are extremely well thought out and the banter between Poppy and Alex is perfect and extremely natural. The idea of getting to travel around the world with your best friend for work is a dream come true. The way Henry describes the vacation itself is realistic and far from perfect; a refreshing break from the usual too-good-to-be-true stories. The way she writes about their broken friendship is beautiful and heartbreaking and it is intended to be relatable to many. Following the last trip Image courtesy of Amazon they took, which ended up being a disaster, she invites him to go on one more for old time’s sake, creating tension between them and anxiety for me that fueled late night reading. The feelings between them are so painfully obvious but it takes almost two-thirds of the book for them to find out, and it creates this obsession from the reader to find out when they will finally be together. It is the pinnacle of romance for those hopeless romantic readers who adore the iconic friends-lovers trope.

6) The UnHoneymooners by Christina Lauren, 4.5/5 stars

This book has many mixed reviews on social media, but I adored it. Christina Lauren never misses; I’ve read almost all of their stories and this is definitely in my top three. It combines so many of the most adored tropes into a hilarious, beautifully written story. I easily could picture myself with the characters on the cruise. Christina Lauren does a wonderful job of creating vivid imagery that makes me wish I was tanning by the ocean instead of here in the snow. The chemistry, much like in The Hating Game, is apparent from the start, yet the two of them do not realize it until later in the book. Olive is incredibly relatable and funny and Ethan seems gloomy and grumpy at first, but as the book went on I Image courtesy of Amazon fell in love with him and Olive even more. Christina Lauren has mastered realistic dialogue and the conversations were relatable and easy to follow. However, the ending after the trip seemed a little too unrealistic and rushed, and I wish their relationship was more developed when they returned. This story is great for romance lovers and adorers of the enemies to lovers' writings.