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Over the past few years, TikTok has become an excellent place for finding book recommendations. It’s helped build excitement for newer releases and bring a larger audience to under-the-radar reads. My younger sister, who was not a big reader growing up, devoured Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us because of BookTok and has since been able to find more books that she enjoys.
Sometimes, however, TikTok falls into the same trap as many other social media platforms: it recommends the same set of books to the point where others get overlooked. This can make it hard to find more recs that fit what you personally look for in a story once you have found a book you really click with. The TikTok algorithm limits this to some extent, but especially if you are new to BookTok, it can be hard to find recommendations that really fit what you like to read.
In this list, I’ve rounded up nine of the most popular books on TikTok and paired each one with a recommendation. Each one touches on themes or settings that are reminiscent of its readalike pairing while standing out with a story that is wholly unique.
New to BookTok but not sure where to start? After you’ve found your next book recommendation, check out this overview of bookish TikTok challenges and trends you can join.
Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell
If you’re in the mood to read a travel-themed romance like People We Meet on Vacation, this one’s for you! When museum courier Charlotte Hilaire finds herself stranded in Spain during a business trip, she invites her grad school crush Adrianna Coates (who is now a renowned art historian) out for a drink. Sparks reignite, and when they decide to try a long-distance relationship, the two must navigate the difficulties that come with dating someone who lives far away while reaching for their career aspirations.
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Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
Although Siren Queen is a historical fantasy while Evelyn Hugo is historical fiction, both focus on the lives of queer women in 20th century Hollywood. Luli Wei is determined to become a film star, though she knows that racism within the industry will limit the roles available to her as a queer Chinese American woman. But Hollywood is far more sinister than it appears, and Luli soon discovers that its (and her own) success relies on sacrifices to the monsters who run the industry off-screen.
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
For a bookish fantasy that touches on similar themes of loss and hope as The Midnight Library, try The Cat Who Saved Books. After his grandfather passes away, high school student Rintaro Natsuki inherits the family bookshop. Just as Rintaro makes the decision to close the shop, a talking cat appears with a shared mission: to rescue unloved books from their owners.
Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery
If enemies-to-lovers romcoms like Red, White & Royal Blue are your jam, you’ll want to check out Love, Hate & Clickbait next. After political staffers Thom Morgan and Clay Parker are photographed arguing, they’re horrified to discover that not only does the photo go viral but the angling makes them look like they’re kissing. Now they’ll have to fake date to save face for the campaign they’re working for. Thank goodness no real feelings are bubbling just under the surface… right?
Life of Melody by Mari Costa
The House in the Cerulean Sea and Life of Melody have a lot in common: whimsy, found family, and a queer love story at its heart. When fairy godfather Razzmatazz and shapeshifting beast Bon find a human baby in the woods, they decide with some reluctance to become co-parents. Over the course of many years, Bon and Razzmatazz form an unlikely bond and slowly fall for one another.
Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki
At the heart of Addie LaRue and Light from Uncommon Stars is a woman who, after making a Faustian bargain, fights to regain control of her destiny. Shizuka Satomi is a violinist who takes on musical prodigies as her students until she can persuade them to make the same choice she once did: sell their souls to the devil for fame. If she can condemn seven souls, she will be freed.
But when she takes on her seventh student, a transgender runaway with a talent unlike anything Shizuka has encountered, she must make a choice about both of their fates that — no matter what — must end in sacrifice.
If you love Verity, read…
LONG BLACK VEIL BY JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN
Looking for a twisty psychological thriller like Verity that will leave you up at night because a) you’re invested and b) you’re too afraid to go to sleep? You’ll want to put Long Black Veil on your TBR.
Thirty-five years after a college student goes missing, a found body brings a group of friends back together to confront what really happened. Only one of them has the power to uncover the truth and clear an innocent person’s name, but doing so may destroy the perfect family and career she’s built in the meantime.
Love, Comment, Subscribe by Cathy Yardley
Like The Love Hypothesis, Love, Comment, and Subscribe is an enemies-to-lovers workplace romance with tons of chemistry. In high school, Lily Wang and Tobin Bui were part of a tight-knit friend group called the Nerd Herd. Ten years and a falling out later, both are successful YouTubers. When Lily reaches out to Tobin and his agent about a collaboration to boost both of their channels, he reluctantly agrees. But old feelings soon resurface, giving both a chance to rekindle their relationship.
The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye
With a lyrical voice that is reminiscent of The Song of Achilles, The King of Infinite Space is a queer Hamlet retelling that brings a thoughtful and intimate eye to the relationship between Hamlet and Horatio. It is made all the more bittersweet by the knowledge that, because of the play’s nature, their story can only end in tragedy. When his theater baron father dies unexpectedly, Ben Dane is reunited with his close friend Horatio Patel and his ex-fiancé Lia in a meeting that will change all three of their destinies.
Looking for more read-alikes for popular TikTok books? Check out these witty and heartwarming romcom recommendations for fans of Red, White, & Royal Blue.