Young Adult on BookTok

Catherine Coles
Coles’ Notes

Back in the late 2000s/early 2010s, Young Adult novels were having a moment. From the shocking success of paranormal romances like Twilight and dystopian fiction like The Hunger Games to the enduring popularity of realistic teenage dramedies (think anything John Green), it seemed like everyone (including many adults) was keen to dabble in YA. While the YA craze has since cooled, TikTok seems to be bringing it back. The bookish side of TikTok, affectionately dubbed BookTok, currently has a significant influence over book popularity. When an older, under the radar book suddenly receives a massive surge in library holds, we can usually blame TikTok. Like it or not, it has changed the way the general public reads and talks about books.

The YA books that BookTok is loving right now cover a wide range of genres and topics. While there are some new books that are popular, the majority of YA books getting buzz on BookTok are older titles finding a second life and a new audience.

Adam Silvera’s emotional 2017 novel They Both Die at the End, for example, has a death grip on BookTok. It is back on the bestsellers list as a result. This book imagines a future where Death-Cast can tell people the exact time they are going to die. When Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both get the call on September 5 a little after midnight, their final day together will change everything.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, a 2014 thriller, follows the story of the Sinclairs, a wealthy and seemingly perfect family who spend their summers on their private island. However, not everything is as perfect as it seems, and the private island is home to many secrets. This book is another older title that has found new life, and this year the author has released a prequel, Family of Liars.

While Leigh Bardugo’s YA fantasy novels are all BookTok favourites, Six of Crows seems to get the most attention. It’s an epic adventure centered around a band of misfits who set out to take on an impossible heist in Ketterdam, a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber lands somewhere between a mystery and a fantasy novel. It follows Scarlett and her sister Tella, who live with their father on a tiny, remote island. Scarlett dreams of one day seeing Caraval, an annual magical performance where the audience participates in the show. When Tella is kidnapped to become the centre of the season’s Caraval, and whoever finds her first will be declared the winner, Scarlett knows she must race against time to find her sister.

Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is also a Star, has been a YA hit since its 2016 release and even spawned a movie adaptation, but it continues to be a popular feature on BookTok because of its endlessly quotable narrative and compelling characters. To summarize, it’s a love story about two teens who fall for each other over the course of a day while under threat of deportation.

Whether you are an avid BookTok purveyor, or someone who is interested in giving YA another shot, these books (and plenty of others) can be reserved from your branch of the County of L&A Libraries or online at

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