The Books of #BookTok Reviewed IRL

The Books you've seen and heard about on TikTok reviewed by the Wordsworth Books team

25/02/2022
7 minutes to read
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Over the last 18 months, BookTok has taken the world by storm. This rapidly growing TikTok niche has seen books launch with more success than ever before, helped self-published authors sign with major publishing houses, and skyrocketed books onto bestseller lists years after their release.

Alecia, Kelly, and Liza from Wordsworth Books have put together their recommendations for the best BookTok picks. Whether you’re in the mood for gritty dark academia, angsty fantasy, or something that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, there’s something for you!

For Dark Academia fans…

The Atlas Six

If some of the hallmarks of dark academia are unreliable narrators, fierce competition, secret societies, danger, intrigue, and – of course – a strong emphasis on learning, The Atlas Six more than fits the bill. It also has magic!

We follow six talented young magicians brought together by the mysterious Atlas Blakely. They will spend the next year of their lives trying to qualify for initiation to The Alexandrian Society: the caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity, and the foremost secret society of magical academicians in the world. At the end of the year, five will be initiated; one will be eliminated. It will be the fight of their lives to prove themselves the best among their rivals.

In addition to the immaculate atmosphere and compelling characters, The Atlas Six has great writing, a fascinating magic system, and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Kelly Commaille, Wordsworth Assistant Marketing Manager 

The Atlas Six

by Olivie Blake

Book cover for The Atlas Six

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake is the runaway TikTok must-read fantasy novel of the year. If you loved Ninth House and A Deadly Education, you’ll love this. The book includes gorgeous new illustrations.

Secrets. Betrayal. Seduction.
Welcome to the Alexandrian Society.

When the world’s best magicians are offered an extraordinary opportunity, saying yes is easy. Each could join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places.

Contenders Libby Rhodes and Nico de Varona are inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds. Parisa Kamali is a telepath, who sees the mind’s deepest secrets. Reina Mori is a naturalist who can perceive and understand the flow of life itself. And Callum Nova is an empath, who can manipulate the desires of others. Finally there’s Tristan Caine, whose powers mystify even himself.

Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

The story continues in The Atlas Paradox, the heart-stopping sequel.

‘I don’t think anything will ever compare with this’ – Reader Review
‘To say I can't wait for the sequel is an understatement. Do yourself a favour and buy this immediately!’ – Reader Review
‘I had to convince myself magic isn’t real’ – Reader Review

Originally a self-published sensation, this edition has been fully edited and revised.

The Great Gatsby

If you’ve run through all of the contemporary dark academia tales and you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the classics pond, The Great Gatsby is a perfect place to start. At just over 200 pages, it’s a manageable length with clear writing and a plot that can be enjoyed at face value or read on a deeper level as a commentary on the moral failures of a post-War America obsessed with wealth and status.

As young writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of the elusive Jay Gatsby, he finds himself facing the mystery of Gatsby’s origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering façade of his Long Island mansion and indulgent parties lies a secret: a destructive obsession that could destroy his world.

In addition to the inherent link between dark academia and a love of classics, The Great Gatsby offers a perfect example of almost Dionysian-amounts of ecstasy and hedonism.

Kelly Commaille, Wordsworth Assistant Marketing Manager 

The Great Gatsby

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book cover for The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald captures the flamboyance, the carelessness and the cruelty of the wealthy during America's Jazz Age.

Part of the Macmillan Collector’s Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library edition features an afterword by David Stuart Davies.

The Great Gatsby lives mysteriously in a luxurious Long Island mansion, playing lavish host to hundreds of people. And yet no one seems to know him or how he became so rich. He is rumoured to be everything from a German spy to a war hero. People clamour for invitations to his wild parties. But Jay Gatsby doesn't heed them. He cares for one person alone - Daisy Buchanan, the woman he has waited for all his life. Little does he know that his infatuation will lead to tragedy and end in murder.

Hungry for slow burn enemies to lovers with a dash of angst?

Renegades

If you’ve ever watched a superhero movie and rooted for the villain (Loki fans, we’re looking at you) you should probably read Renegades.

The Renegades are a group of humans with extraordinary abilities dedicated to restoring their crumbled society and replacing chaos with peace and order. They are a symbol of hope, courage, and justice to all… except the villains they once overthrew. Now, a young villain called Nova is on a mission for vengeance. But as she gets closer to her target, a Renegade boy called Adrian may make it more difficult to stay true to her allegiance…

The world-building in Renegades is incredible: Gatlon City was brought vividly to life in my head, and while some traditional superpowers are employed, many of the heroes and villains had fascinating powers that I haven’t seen explored before. The characters are brilliantly crafted, with the perfect balance struck between those who stand firm in their convictions (for better or worse) and those whose morality sometimes wavers in shades of grey.

Kelly Commaille, Wordsworth Assistant Marketing Manager  

Renegades

by Marissa Meyer

Book cover for Renegades

Secret identities. Extraordinary powers.
She wants vengeance. He wants justice
.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities – who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone . . . except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

From Marissa Meyer, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Heartless, comes Renegades a high-stakes world of adventure, passion, danger, and betrayal.

We Hunt the Flame

In the land of Arawiya, the sands have begun to turn black, and the forest encroaches upon the people. Zafira - a Hunter disguised as a young man - and Nasir - the ‘Prince of Death’ who assassinates those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan -are sent on the same journey to retrieve a lost artifact. Zafira wants to restore magic to her suffering world; Nasir is tasked with killing the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds--and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine. 

With fake identities, found family, a slow burn enemies to lovers romance, and a healthy dose of angst, against a breath-taking backdrop inspired by ancient Arabian mythology, what’s not to love?

  • Alecia, Wordsworth Harbour Bay store manager

We Hunt the Flame

by Hafsah Faizal

Book cover for We Hunt the Flame

The bestselling TikTok sensation!

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, Hafsah Faizal's We Hunt the Flame is a breathtaking debut about discovery, conquering fear and taking identity into your own hands. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone series.

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter. Forced to disguise herself as a man, she risks everything to provide for her people.

Nasir is the Prince of Death. A feared assassin who is forever bound to the command of his father, the sultan.

Both are legends in their kingdom – but neither wants to be. And when Zafira embarks on a dangerous quest to return magic to their suffering land, Nasir is sent on a similar mission. But as their journey unfolds, an anvient evil begins to stir . . .

Don't miss the epic sequel and conclusion to the Sands of Arawiya duology, We Free The Stars.

*An instant New York Times bestseller*
*A BuzzFeed pick for 'YA Books You Absolutely Must Read This Spring'*

Wholesome & heart-warming

Red, White & Royal Blue

If all of that sounds just a bit too grim, a fluffy contemporary romance with a sprinkle of politics might be right up your street.

When photos of a confrontation between America’s First Son, Alex Claremont, and his English nemesis, Prince Henry, leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations, damage control must be done. The plan: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. But as their forced proximity leads to a secret relationship that could derail President Claremont’s campaign and upend two nations, Alex and Henry are forced to ask: what is worth the sacrifice?

Red, White & Royal Blue is one of my favourite romances, and I highly recommend not starting it right before bed, because you won’t be able to put it down until you finish it in the early hours of the morning. It has the perfect balance of humour, emotion, and both sweet and spicy romance. It also had incredible mental health rep that addressed some very specific aspects of anxiety that I haven’t seen depicted before, but resonated with me deeply.

Kelly Commaille, Wordsworth Assistant Marketing Manager 

Under the Whispering Door

When we meet Wallace Price, he is a successful lawyer with no time for other people’s feelings. He is also quite dead… and in complete denial about it.

When Wallace ends up at a strange tea shop and meets Hugo, the ferryman who will help him cross to the other side, he is livid about the whole situation. Enter a cast of quirky, colourful characters including Mei (the Reaper), Nelson (Hugo’s grandfather and a ghost) and Apollo the dog (also a ghost) along with lost souls, grieving relatives and the feared “Manager”. Slowly, Wallace’s outlook on life and death starts to change. He also finds himself annoyingly attracted to Hugo!

While Under the Whispering Door has a slower start, I am so glad I persevered with it because at some point it just GRABS your heart and does not let go. This is the most gentle and heart-warming book about death, life, love, second chances and belonging. I sobbed my way through the last third of this book and loved it!

  • Liza, Wordsworth Willowbridge store manager

Under the Whispering Door

by Travis Klune

Book cover for Under the Whispering Door

Witty, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is a gift for troubled times. TJ Klune brings us a warm hug of a story about a man who spent his life at the office - and his afterlife building a home.

From the author of joyous New York Times bestseller The House in the Cerulean Sea.

Welcome to Charons Crossing.
The tea is hot, the scones are fresh and the dead are just passing through.

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own sparsely-attended funeral, Wallace is outraged. But he begins to suspect she’s right, and he is in fact dead. Then when Hugo, owner of a most peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace reluctantly accepts the truth.

Yet even in death, he refuses to abandon his life – even though Wallace spent all of it working, correcting colleagues and hectoring employees. He’d had no time for frivolities like fun and friends. But as Wallace drinks tea with Hugo and talks to his customers, he wonders if he was missing something.

The feeling grows as he shares jokes with the resident ghost, manifests embarrassing footwear and notices the stars. So when he’s given one week to pass through the door to the other side, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in just seven days.

Fans of A Man Called Ove and The Good Place will fall for this queer love story by TJ Klune.

Praise for TJ Klune's The House in the Cerulean Sea:

'I loved it. It is like being wrapped up in a big gay blanket. Simply perfect.'
- V. E. Schwab, no.1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

'A modern fairy tale about learning your true nature and what you love and will protect. It's a beautiful book.'
- Charlaine Harris, no.1 New York Times bestselling author

'1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in. Touching, tender, and truly delightful.'
- Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of Soulless

'A witty, wholesome fantasy that’s likely to cause heart-swelling.'
- The Washington Post