The Top 30 TikTok Book Recommendations: 2023
Here are the top 30 TikTok book recommendations: 2023 edition. BookTok is known for its varied and vast book recommendations in any conceivable genre from a range of voices. Everyone from casual readers to professional reviewers to authors has the ability to promote books they love on BookTok.
Essentially, a lot of people talk about a lot of books with different levels of success. When discussing BookTok, it is important to acknowledge the bias toward white, cis, straight creators promoting white, cis, straight books. However, if you seek them out, you can find a vast resource of diverse Booktokers promoting equally diverse books. This is also the added lens the algorithm adds to the user experience. TikTok’s algorithm learns from your viewing history in the app, which also applies to BookTok.
The following list comes from compiling various BookTok comment sections on videos about TikTok book recommendations in 2023. Naturally, the list will have the natural bias of my personal algorithm. Nonetheless, backlist books and genre books remain popular in 2023 on BookTok. Similar to the top 25 TikTok book recommendations from 2022, YA, romance, and fantasy books remain popular. Additionally this year, the Trans Rights Readathon increased the recommendation of trans books on BookTok.
The following list of the top 30 TikTok book recommendations of 2023 is broken into fantasy, romance, other adult fiction (AKA literary fiction, horror, and science fiction), and YA books. I promise you will have plenty of new books to read!
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This high fantasy series from 2015 is receiving some serious love from BookTok. When the world ends, lives fall apart: Essun’s husband kills their son and kidnaps their daughter; the citizens of the empire of Sanze are murdered in the pursuit of vengeance; and enough ash erupts from a rift to cover the sky. Now Essun must retrieve her daughter amidst a battle for resources in the post-apocalyptic expanse.
Can’t Spell Treason Without Tea by Rebecca Thorne
The greatest mage of her generation convinces one of the Queen’s personal guards to run away with her and open a tea shop and bookstore. Now, Reyna and Kianthe are determined to protect their new life from the queen and anything else that wants to destroy them or their home. This sapphic cozy fantasy book has it all: animal companions, friendly neighbors, and dragons.
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
This high fantasy novel is inspired by Pre-Columbian America and filled to the brim with politics, magic, queer characters, and destiny. Xiala captains a ship with a reportedly harmless young blind man, Serapio. Naranpa is a sun priestess in her city who is trying to survive assassins on her trail, even the one that just might love her. But things like harm and morality are difficult to judge based on appearances, and when the gods descend, goodness is almost impossible to find. Will this wary group be able to save themselves as the world around them grows strange?
A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
If you are looking for a sapphic fantasy mystery set on an Edwardian cruise ship, boy do I have the book for you. After her brother uncovered the magical secrets at the heart of London society, Maud set out to make herself useful. But, when the magician she is supposed to protect dies on the first day, she must ally with a boisterous American actress and a grumpy magic-less duke if she wants to uncover what really happened without dying as well. Although book two in The Last Binding series does require reading A Marvellous Light first, this was all over BookTok in 2023.
The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow
What would you do if you were a servant girl spared by The Saint of War? Would you become a warrior your kingdom and Prince could be proud of? In this novella, that is exactly what happens. But as her victories make her prince an emperor and herself a legend, she begins to question when enough sacrifice is enough to secure your safety.
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
Four childhood friends win a magical war together as teens, but years later, their adult lives and friendships are very different things. With an apocalypse on the horizon, these witches will have to regain everything they wanted to forget over time if they want to protect a world that prioritizes care, friendship, feminism, and love. This witchy workplace fantasy book is for everyone who knows the gender essentialist, exclusionary practices of TERFs will always make them the villains.
The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten
From the time she escaped a cult hidden beneath the city at 13, Lore’s death magic has threatened her life and saved it in equal measure. These days, she runs poisons to keep herself fed, but when the warrior-monks catch her, King August hires her to solve the mysterious deaths that plague the countryside. But her new job and position in the court may turn out to be her most dangerous job yet.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen
If You’ve Got Mail had more zombies and morticians, you would have this fantasy romance book. Hart is a martial who kills the undead to protect the living from the magical wilds. When he does so, he often delivers them to Mercy, the daughter who has been working in all roles at Birdsall & Son Undertakers in the wake of her father’s death. Hart and Mercy do not get along, but when a bit of magical letter writing results in their anonymous correspondence, they find themselves falling for each other. And figuring out who they are writing to isn’t the only mystery on their plate as the dangers of the wilds grow around them.
A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall
After his best friend died in Waterloo, Justin, the Duke of Gracewood has never quite recovered. Adapting to life as a cane user was hard. but living with constant melancholy was harder. What he doesn’t know is that his best friend, Viola, faked her death in Waterloo to live her life as a lady. She was fine renouncing her claim to her title, wealth, and companion, but when she hears of Justin’s sad state, she decides to go help him — even if she will be a stranger. This is a tender queer historical romance with a trans woman finding happiness and love.
That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming
Stumbling into a life of adventure was never on Cinnamon’s bucket list. She was drinking in celebration of not being selected by the goddess as an adventurer when she accidentally saved a demon on her walk home. It turns out the demons of the land like Fallon were being enslaved by the goddess, and cinnamon (the spice) breaks the spell. Now Cinnamon will travel with Fallon to defeat the goddess and try her best to resist his charms and proposals along the way.
Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake
The sapphic small-town romance series Bright Falls never disappoints. In the wake of a failed marriage and a failing interior designing business, Astrid needs the renovation of the historic Everwood Inn to go well. The project is being filmed on a home improvement show that could change her life. She just has to get along with the Inn owner’s granddaughter, Jordan who is the stubborn lead carpenter on the job. The cameras love their tension, but as their arguments over design turn into discussions about their personal lives, they cannot help but secretly fall for each other.
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi
Feyi is ready to find joy again. Five years ago, the love of her life died in an accident. Now, she is an artist living with her best friend Joy, and she is ready to try dating this summer. A series of increasingly luxe trips, meals, and events coincide with a series of dates with the perfect guy who complements it all. Instead, she finds herself drawn to a forbidden person who would make her newly ordered life messy again.
Radiant Sin by Katee Robert
Apollo keeps the secrets of Olympus, and his right hand, Cassandra, is a vital part of his success. So, when an undercover mission comes his way, Apollo wants his best on the job. They will have to go undercover at a weeklong house party with some of the most powerful people in the city. As someone who has been ousted from the upper echelons of Olympus before, Cassandra is wary, but Apollo promises that if she pulls this off, she will be able to get out with her sister — so she says yes. Now they just have to pretend to be dating and like they haven’t secretly loved each other for years. Let me tell you, The Dark Olympus series is everywhere on TikTok for good reason.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
This is a cozy fantasy romance book set in the home of a uniquely magical English found family. As an orphan witch adopted from India, Mika has learned how to live with the witches’ curse that forces women to live apart from each other — including her adoptive guardian. Instead, she creates YouTube videos pretending to be a witch as she moves from job to job. That is, until a set of well-meaning caretakers reach out to her to ask if she can tutor three young witches. She says yes and finds herself falling for her new life and the librarian co-raising the children she now tutors.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
During a literary event in New York City, a bestselling erotica writer and single mother, Eva, meets a reclusive literary author, Shane, and they fall for each other instantly. Confused outsiders have no idea Eva and Shane spent a week in love as teens 20 years prior. They have seven days to fall for each other again, but trust is hard, and it would be much safer to leave their love on the pages of their respective books.
D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins
Six weeks after meeting, D’Vaughn and Kris will get married. At least, that’s what they want their families to believe. Individually, Kris is looking to grow her following as an influencer and D’Vaughn wants to come out to her mother. As contestants on Instant I Do, they know they must sell their relationship, but they grow closer over the course of wedding planning-related challenges, and every day their relationship feels more real.
Icebreaker by Hannah Grace
To prove she can make Team USA, competitive figure skater Anastasia has trained since she was five. Nathan, the captain of his college hockey team, knows how to keep his team in line, but when a scheduling mishap leads to the injury of a competitive figure skater, he has to fill in to make things right. Now, Anastasia must work with a guy who just swapped his hockey skates for figure skates and try not to get distracted by his infuriatingly cute protective instincts. Hockey romances are having a moment this year, and this book is one of the breakout hits.
Other Adult Fiction
Yellowface by R.F. Kuang
In a world where diversity is a marketable asset, June Hayward is convinced books about white girls like her do not sell. After all, her peer at Yale, Athena Liu, has found success where she has not. But, when Athena unexpectedly dies, June steals her unpublished manuscript about Chinese laborers working for the British and French armies in WWI and rebrands herself as ethnically ambiguous Juniper Song. Now, she is a New York Times bestselling author clamoring to keep the origins of her breakout hit a secret. Before the book was even out, early reviewers on TikTok were already singing the praises of Kuang’s book confronting cultural appropriation and racism in the publishing world.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
A pair of young Black British artists from similar backgrounds realize they are both trying to make a name for themselves in their respective fields when they meet at a South East London pub. As the dancer and the photographer keep finding each other at clubs and bars across London, they realize they may connect on a romantic level as well. This devastatingly intimate and literary novel poetically ruminates on what it means to take up space as Black artists within racist structures.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Sam Masur and Sadie Green develop a video game that takes the world by storm. They have been friends since childhood but never expected Ichago to have the success it did when they made the game at 25. Thirty years of tomorrows add up, and in a relationship as complicated as Sam and Sadie’s, there are plenty of ups and downs to follow. This is the book that is everywhere: on bookstore shelves, library waitlists, and yes, TikTok too.
Bunny by Mona Awad
Getting her MFA at Warren University was supposed to give her space to explore her craft. Instead, Samantha finds a preppy clique of girls who all respond to “Bunny” and have adopted the mannerisms to go along with the name. She expected to complete her degree with her friend Ava for company, but when the Bunnies invite Samantha to an exclusive writing workshop, she becomes a part of a group that conjures monsters. Lines of friendship and reality are equally fuzzy in a horror novel that makes you question how far imagination can take you.
The Blood Trials by N.E. Davenport
Ikenna is set on avenging her murdered grandfather, and so she enters the deadly Praetorian Trials to discover who killed him. All the while, as a woman with half-Khanaian heritage, she has to withstand racism and misogyny. It doesn’t help that she must hide a blood gift her grandfather secretly taught her to control. In this genre-bending, science fiction and fantasy duology, Ikenna will risk her life to take down the ones responsible for her grief, and nothing will stop her.
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
It all started with a deal with the devil. Shizuka Satomi avoids her damnation by luring seven violin prodigies to make a trade as a violin teacher: their souls for musical perfection. A young transgender runaway, Katrina Nguyen has an obvious musical talent and Shizuka has a feeling she is her seventh soul. Although she is close to her goal, a lovely starship captain and mother, Lan Tran, catches Shizuka’s eye, and she can’t help but fall for her. This science fiction novel lets you know sometimes, when fate feels inescapable, the bravest thing to do is hope for a way out.
The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
Every 10 years, Sol selects 10 teenagers to compete in the Sunbearer Trials with the understanding that the loser will be sacrificed. Teo is the trans son of the goddess of birds who is unexpectedly selected to participate in the notoriously deadly competition. There are five trials, 10 contestants, one winner, and one sacrifice in this Mexican-inspired fantasy world. The highly anticipated 2022 release from the author of Cemetery Boys remains a favorite on TikTok.
Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert
This childhood friends to academic rivals to lovers story has it all: camping, TikTok conspiracy videos, and secret birthday parties. Bradley is a football player who manages his OCD and maintains top marks in class, but he cannot understand his former best friend and current academic rival. Celine, the girl in question, is a dedicated student who maintains a conspiracy theory social media account, hoping it will be a good extracurricular for law school applications. The two will learn to trust each other again over the course of a survival camp that promises career success for the students who succeed. Hibbert’s YA debut is a wonderfully adorable must-read.
Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
In 1931 Shanghai, a pair of undercover spies pretend to be married to investigate a conspiracy that points toward the Japanese Imperial Army. Rosalind Lang wants to use her immortality to solve the recent slew of murders in Shanghai that are inciting panic. To do so, she will pose as the wife of the infuriatingly charming spy Orion Hong. In a life built on secrets, these spies will have to learn how to tell the truth if they want to unveil the heart of the problem at the center of the mystery in the city.
Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn
Book two in The Legendborn Cycle continues the Southern Black and Arthurian-inspired fantasy world that continues to take TikTok by storm. Bree always intended on discovering the truth behind the secret Order protecting the world from demons with the ancestors of the Knights of the round table. Originally, she wanted to know their involvement in her mother’s death, but it turns out the secret at the heart of the racist and misogynistic organization is more far-reaching and rotten than she once thought. Now she will have to work with the members of the order who are committed to change and unexpected outside allies if she wants to learn to control her power and survive.
Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White
A teenage trans boy escapes from the fundamentalist cult that caused Armageddon and infected him with a bioweapon and joins a group of queer teens surviving in a monster-filled post-apocalyptic world. Benji can’t help but trust Nick, the leader of the group who is autistic and a sharpshooter. As Benji’s infection slowly mutates into a monster that could destroy those who survived the first Armageddon, Nick is the only one who knows the truth. Trust, friendship, family, and power are all interconnected in this queer dystopian debut.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
In Huaxia, teen boys match with teen girls’ energy to successfully pilot transforming robot suits that fight a group of invading aliens. When the girls, or concubine-pilots, die in the process, nothing is done, but Zetian is determined to change that. After her sister’s death, she volunteers for the same program in the hopes of murdering the pilot who killed her sister. Zetian succeeds and unexpectedly survives the process of overpowering a male pilot through their psychic link. Too powerful a weapon to kill, the officials link her with Li Shimin, the only other pilot who’s as feared as she is. This is the polyamorous Chinese history-inspired, mecha-filled science fiction book that continues to enrapture TikTok for good reason.
The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
When his twin gruesomely dies, Mars decides to attend a conservative summer academy to uncover the truth. Although his genderfluidity created a distance between Mars and Caroline as well as his traditional family, he now endures her old-fashioned academy with her old friends, the Honeys to discover their connection to her death. But the longer he stays, the worse his memory gets, and if he doesn’t work fast enough, Mars may succumb to the mystery that killed his sister.
BookTok has a lot of excellent recommendations to offer. This list is just the top 30 TiktTok book recommendations of 2023. If you are looking for more BookTok recommendations, here are book recommendations for the soldiers, poets, and kings. Here are 10 spicy TikTok books. Also, here are 8 Mystery/Thriller TikTokers to follow. I hope you have a bookishly wonderful time with whatever you pick up. Happy reading!