Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

QUIZ: Which Sub-Genre Should You Tackle Next?

Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

If you are like me, picking a new genre to read can be intimidating, especially as creatures of habit. I fully admit to not broadening my horizons even within the “basic” genres we think of or use at most bookstores and libraries. When I have taken the plunge to try something new, though, it almost always ends with me being surprisingly pleased with the outcome. So this is my challenge to all of you, dear readers, today: to try a new sub-genre for your next read.

This quiz will help narrow down the next sub-genre you should read. I won’t make any promises, but at the very least, you will have added something different to your reading journey. And what isn’t better than a little spice in our lives?

Yeah, you’ve got your sci-fi and your thrillers and your steampunk. But have you heard of biopunk? Or dieselpunk? There are so many niche sub-genres out there now that you can decide what to read next. And if you’re not pleased with your quiz results (it’s okay, I can take an L), all sub-genres are listed at the bottom of this post so you can choose on your own.

Sound good? Let’s find you a new genre to read.


Can’t get enough new sub-genres to explore? Here are all the possible options you could have have gotten.

Magical Realism

Although many loop magical realism in with speculative fiction, this genre originated with Latine authors. These books have stories rooted in our world but include magical elements, generally accepted as everyday occurrences within these worlds. Check out our Fantasy Sub-genres Primer for more.

Paranormal Romance

These books follow characters falling in love with creatures like vampires, werewolves, witches, and more. You get all the best parts of a love story and a supernatural read! Here are some recommendations to get you started.

Cozy Mystery

These mysteries have no graphic violence and often no profanity or sexual scenes, focusing instead on the sleuthing process and uncovering clues. Please take a look at all of our posts under the Cozy Mystery tag.

Locked room mystery

These books center around a seemingly impossible crime or a closed-off location that feels impenetrable. The detective crew often must solve an intricate puzzle to resolve the crime. For more, check out our Mystery Sub-genres Primer.

Grimdark Fantasy

Here’s where your morally grey characters and morally grey plotlines come to roost. These books have a dark (duh) and gritty tone, often including brutal violence and intense conflict. We’ve got a good list here of titles to check out.

Urban Fantasy

This is a fantasy novel set in a contemporary, everyday setting. Sometimes, but not always, these elements coexist and work together. Check out all of these different sub-genres of fantasy.


A sub-genre of cyberpunk, biopunk books are often set in dystopian worlds that deal with manipulating living organisms and often fight moral and ethical dilemmas as a result.


Short for climate fiction, cli-fi is self-explanatory. These books focus on the impact of climate change on our world and our lives, and these books also often have a speculative feel. Here is a beginner’s guide to the genre.

Domestic Horror

Defined as “horror that comes within the family,” this horror sub-genre takes place within familiar, everyday settings and explores the horrors (both supernatural and psychological) that can occur within personal relationships and familial environments.


Often incorporating elements of mythology, this genre is all about gods/goddesses manipulating humans or about them coming to earth to deal with some sort of problem. We’ve got a guide for you.