If you’re looking for a sign to break your book ban, here it is.
Make way for books so good, they’ll actually get you to put your phone down. No mean feat when you’ve got Wordles and Heardles to do. From the romance reads you’ll need a week to recover from (because you’re vibing with your new boyfriend: Atlas) to the books that will cause emotional damage in the best possible way, here are the trending tomes that have the internet in a chokehold.
*Please always check trigger warnings before reading*
1. It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover
The hold that pink cover has on us! It Ends With Us is CoHo at her finest and if you’ve yet to experience her exquisite writing, this one’s sure to suck you right into the Hooververse and break your heart from the very first rooftop encounter. Check the blurb:
Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
Stand-out quote: “In the future . . . if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again . . . fall in love with me.”
2. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous – Ocean Vuong
Written in epistolary form, OEWBG is a letter to a mother who cannot read. It follows a narrator known as Little Dog, a young Vietnamese immigrant in America, as he unearths his family history and tries to find a place in his country.
Lusciously written with lyrical prose and stirring imagery that’ll stop you in your tracks, this shattering portrait of family and the relationship between mother and son will move you to your core. Visceral, raw and as achingly gorgeous as its title would suggest, it’s one of those books that’ll remind you exactly why you read.
Stand-out quote: You once told me that the human eye is god’s loneliest creation. How so much of the world passes through the pupil and still it holds nothing. The eye, alone in its socket, doesn’t even know there’s another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty.
3. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
For fans of a character-driven story, Crawdads will make your soul levitate.
A reclusive girl who raises herself on the marshes of the deep South becomes the suspect in the murder of a man she was once involved with. Part-murder mystery, part-coming-of-age narrative and an ode to the natural world, it’s got a little bit of everything, allowing you to get lost in the atmosphere of its pages. Hauntingly beautiful, poignant and ethereal, it’s a fine example of storytelling.
It hits the big screens in July, so crack that spine and get to it!
Stand-out quote: “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot.”
4. Stolen – Lucy Christopher
This prize-winning psychological thriller will pull you in and flip you over in one creepy unputdownable sitting.
Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?
The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist—almost.
Stand-out quote: “And it’s hard to hate someone once you understand them.”
5. Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
A sweet cheesy romance set in Paris? Take all our money *Le sigh*
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her co-worker at the movie theatre, who is just starting to return her attention. So, she’s less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s taken—and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she’s been waiting for?
Stand-out quote: “I wish friends held hands more often, like the children I see on the streets sometimes. I’m not sure why we have to grow up and get embarrassed about it.”
6. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V.E. Schwab
For fans of The Time Traveller’s Wife and Life After Life, V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of book you won’t forget in a hurry. With phenomenal world building, complex character dynamics and lyrical writing, you needn’t be a fantasy lover to appreciate why this book is a veritable TikTok phenomenon.
When Addie LaRue makes a deal with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.
Addie flees her tiny hometown in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.
Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.
Until one day, in a second-hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can’t escape her fate forever.
Stand-out quote: “I remember you.”
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Gorgeous, gorgeous girls buy new books even though they’ve got a living library at home. But for what it’s worth, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a *need* not a want.
From the author of Daisy Jones & The Six – a fast-paced intoxicating read full of Hollywood glamour, in which an iconic film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
Ageing and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Stand-out quote: “I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.”
8. Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi
Stranger Things meets Shadow and Bone, the first instalment of this YA dystopian thriller fantasy series (or a romance with a dystopian sub-plot, if you will) follows a fragile young teenage girl held captive. Locked in a cell by The Reestablishment – a harsh dictatorship in charge of a crumbling world. This is no ordinary teenager. Juliette is a threat to The Reestablishment’s power. A touch from her can kill – one touch is all it takes. But not only is she a threat, she is potentially the most powerful weapon they could have. Juliette has never fought for herself before but when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, the depth of the emotion and the power within her become explosive …
Stand-out quote: Warner. That’s it, that’s the quote.
9. Love and other Words – Christina Lauren
Second chance love and friends to lovers – need we say more? The tropes speak for themselves.
Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new paediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.
But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.
Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favourite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
Prepare for Elliot to jump straight into your top 5 fictional boyfriends of all time list.
Stand-out quote: “Favorite word?” he whispers. I don’t even hesitate: “You.”
10. The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
The amount of people who claim they would sell their soul to read this for the first time suggests it’s a big bookish deal. Released in 2011 but revived by TikTok, it’s a captivating retelling of the siege of Troy and the life of Achilles, told from the perspective of his lover, best friend and brother in arms, Patroclus. It took ten years to write and revolutionised the YA genre, proving that books beyond the cisnormative heterosexual realm of boy meets girl are indeed very capable of winning awards and topping bestseller charts.
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles.
Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.
But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfil his destiny.
Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Stand-out quote: “We were like gods at the dawning of the world. And our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”
11. The Love Hypothesis – Ali Hazelwood
We pray that the world lets you read your smut in peace because chapter 16 will leave you too stunned to deal with people. It’s the ‘please’ for us.
When a fake relationship between scientists meets the irresistible force of attraction, it throws one woman’s carefully calculated theories on love into chaos.
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive on her way to a happily ever after was always going to be tough, scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting woman, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.
That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when he agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire and Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support (and his unyielding abs), their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion.
Olive soon discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
Stand-out quote: “You can take it.”
12. All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
Consider your book slump era well and truly over.
For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
Stand-out quote: “open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
13 Legendborn – Tracy Deonn
A bad opinion about Legendborn is simply an invalid one. Black girl magic, a King Arthur retelling, bomb worldbuilding and everyone is queer – Tracy Deonn is here to threaten you with a good time.
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape – until Bree witnesses a magical attack, her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
Stand-out quote: “Don’t make your life about the loss. Make it about the love.”
14. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
SOC will be the catalyst for your reading addiction. Once you’re past the first information heavy 100 pages. With diversity baked into the narrative and extraordinary writing, there’s only one way this can end: Savage. Book. Hangover.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price – and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Stand-out quote: “Better terrible truths than kind lies.”
15. Legend – Marie Lu
Category is: books that’ll make you forget you’re reading.
Slow burn – check. Enemies to lovers – check. BIPOC and LGBT representation – check. An opening line that will steal your breath – check.
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbours. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’ death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
Stand-out quote: “You’re brilliant,”he says.”But you’re a fool to stay with someone like me.” I close my eyes at the touch of his hand.” Then we are both fools.”