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Books You Need To Read This Summer That Aren't From "BookTok"

by Nicole Iuzzolino

There is nothing better than a day of relaxation when it comes to summer. Whether you plan to sit by a pool, tan at the beach, or take on your next vacation adventure, a key part of your summer activities is likely the same: reading.

Opening up a brand new summer read on a sunny day is like heaven, and of course, in 2021, social media had a say in what books to read this year.

As everyone knows, TikTok has consumed many facets of our lives, from the music people listen to, to viral dances and “life hacks.” So, it was no surprise to book lovers that the social media platform would play a part in book trends as well.

The reader side of the platform became called “BookTok,” a hashtag including videos about all types of books, many with a “dark academia theme.” Books such as The Song of Achilles, We Were Liars, Six of Crows and They Both Die at the End are just a handful of the viral books that landed on the “BookTok” tables at Barnes and Noble.

However, there are many fascinating and eye-opening reads that are beyond the “BookTok” table that should not be ignored. If the trending books don’t interest you or you need something new, don’t let TikTok viral videos keep you stuck at the “BookTok” table. Here are five different non-BookTok books that will either warm your heart, break it in two or give you a shiver down your spine.

1. “In a Dark, Dark Wood” by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware, the author of “The Woman in Cabin 10” and “The Lying Game,” an instant New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller with a film adaptation in the works, Ruth is no stranger to creating impactful suspense.

The book follows 26-year-old Nora Shaw, a successful writer living in a flat in London after leaving her university suddenly 10 years ago, and never looking back, gets invited to the hen party of someone she has not seen in ten years. The hen party is to take place at a remote cottage, deep inside the woods so no one can interrupt the bridal festivities. Against Nora’s better judgment, she decides to go and possibly rekindle what she lost with the bride, Claire, after walking out on her old life years ago.

Unfortunately, the party plans and activities, so perfectly curated for a perfect bride, quickly fall apart, as the darkness of the woods takes over. As Reese Whitherspoon stated after reading the book,

“Prepare to be scared...really scared.”

This is a novel with many twists and turns, with a variety of ups and downs that the reader never sees coming.

2. “Atonement” by Ian McEwan

This book tells its story in three parts. The first part takes place in 1935 England, the second during the Second World War, and the third in present-day England.

The story revolves around Briony, a young and naive girl who witnessed a romantic incident between her older sister and the son of a servant. Not understanding what she saw, she makes a mistake that will ruin not only someone else’s life but also her own.

Atonement” brings to life class differences, money, power, and war, and their implications for one family. This English drama was also adapted into an Oscar-winning film, featuring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Saoirse Ronan.

3. “Flowers in the Attic” by V.C. Andrews

“Flowers in the Attic,” known to many for its TV movie series on Lifetime, is an incredible and truly twisted story that will leave you dying to pick up the next book in the series.

The first book in the five-book series follows four siblings — Cathy, Chris, and the younger twins Cory and Carrie. The four, along with their mother, were a perfect family until one tragic event altered their futures for the rest of their lives. The children are whisked away and must hide in the attic of their grandmother's mansion pretending as if they do not exist so their inheritance is ensured. What was supposed to last only a little while stretches into months and years of torment and agonizingly long days in a small, cramped attic. And one day, it all becomes too much.

4. “Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll

There is nothing better than a good mystery, and author Jessica Knoll takes this to the next level in this book. It follows the stunning Ani FaNelli, who lives in New York City with an incredible career as an editor for a magazine, a blue-blooded husband to be and an over-the-top wardrobe. However, no matter how many times FaNelli can dye her hair, get her nails done, or work out, there is no escape from her past.

This past goes back to her days at the Bradley School, where she faced incredible torment and horrific events that scarred her for life. There are secrets bubbling underneath her surface that are about to pop, and possibly expose everything she worked so hard to hide.

Full of twists and surprises at every corner, if you are a mystery fan, this book is calling your name.

5. “Paris for one and Other Stories” by JoJo Moyes

When you’re not in the mood for a mystery novel, sometimes a heart-warming romance is just what the soul needs.

After the incredible success of “Me Before You,” JoJo Moyes did not stop with the heart-wrenching stories. In 2015, Moyes released “Paris for One and Other Stories,” and it did not disappoint.

The book is a collection of nine stories, the main one following 26-year-old Neil. After her boyfriend fails to show up for their trip to Paris, she is alone in the city. While Neil has never been the spontaneous and adventurous type, she takes this opportunity as a sign to get out of her comfort zone and make the most of her vacation. During the course of her time alone, Neil learns much about herself through the people she meets and the new fire of adventure burning inside of her; she knows she will never be the same again. This heartwarming romance is one that will guarantee the butterflies.


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