My entry to the online bookish community was through BookTube, and since then I’ve read a lot of books because I’ve heard some of my favorite booktubers talking about them. So I figure it’s time to put together a post about what some of those books are and what I thought of them!
This post is essentially a spin on the popular “Youtube Made Me Buy It” videos that I frequently see in the makeup community, though I’m sure I’m not the first to adapt this idea to books. It was a lot of fun to put together!
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
I think everyone and their mother talks about Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn books on BookTube, and I don’t think I’ve heard a single bad thing about them, so of course I had to check them out. Set in an oppressive world under the iron fist of the Lord Ruler, the original trilogy follows Vin as she discovers and masters her allomantic powers, or supernatural powers that she can access when consuming and burning metals, and uses them to overthrow the Lord Ruler.
While I enjoyed the first book, The Final Empire, I thought it was a slow read and had to force myself to get through parts of it, so I was far from blown away like everyone else has been. I’m not sure if this series gets better as it continues as everyone seems to love it all the way through, so I’m a bit hesitant to continue reading it, but Sanderson is such an iconic fantasy author that I’m planning to continue reading this series.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Marissa Meyer is incredibly popular on BookTube and in the YA community in general, and I was excited to read this series because it had an interesting premise. The first book, Cinder, is a scifi Cinderella retelling in which the protagonist is a cyborg mechanic who finds herself caught up in the Moon country’s attempt to overtake Earth. Each subsequent book in the series focuses on a different protagonist with a different fairy tale retelling.
I enjoyed Cinder well enough when I finished it, but I predicted the big plot twist pretty early in the book. And I never fully understood what problems this society had with cyborgs and why they were so discriminated against, which prevented me from getting caught up in the society of this world. I wound up reading the entire series, but I honestly can’t say I enjoyed it that much. I think the scope got too big for Meyer to handle and the later books really faltered. Actually, this series is the one that made me start actively DNFing series when finding the first book rather lackluster so that I don’t sink a bunch of time into reading books that I ultimately don’t feel are worth it. I know this series is beloved by many, but it’s just not for me.
The Martian by Andy Weir
I was a little late to the game in reading this one, as it came out in 2014, but I still hear people talking about this book a lot and know many BookTubers count it among their top favorites. In case you haven’t heard of this book yet, The Martian is a survivor story following Mark Watney’s attempt to return to Earth after being accidentally left behind on Mars.
Unfortunately, I did not love it nearly as much as everyone else, though I did think it was worth the read and I really enjoyed it. Even though I knew Watney was going to have some sort of difficulty every so often to keep things interesting, I was still incredibly invested in finding out what happened to him and how he handled all of the different obstacles. Plus it’s a funny book.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali
People rave about this book on BookTube even several years after it’s been published, so of course I had to check it out for myself (this was before I even knew there was a movie adaptation coming, which would have really pushed me to read the book). Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda tells the story of Simon, a gay high schooler whose anonymous emails with another closeted student are used to blackmail Simon.
Again, I found myself not loving this book as much as everyone else seems to, though I did think it was cute and enjoyable. I really liked Simon and his family, and of course I loved watching his relationship develop with Blue, which is the pen name for the boy he’s emailing. It was a really sweet story that I read in one sitting, but it just didn’t blow my mind. It’s definitely worth a read, though.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This is another series that I’ve seen a lot of people talk about on BookTube, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. A Darker Shade of Magic is an adult fantasy trilogy set in a world in which there are four Londons with varying degrees of magic. Kell is an Antari with the power to travel between the Londons, a power he uses to smuggle items to people willing to pay for things from a world they’ll never see, until one day an exchange goes awry and Kell finds himself caught up with Delilah Bard, a thief from another London.
I think this series might be a little overhyped, as I’d hardly consider it one of my favorite series of all time like a lot of BookTubers I’ve seen do, but it was a solid trilogy that I enjoyed a lot. It’s a really unique premise and I got pretty attached to some of the characters, plus it had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. My husband even read this trilogy, and he doesn’t read a ton. I’m really excited that Schwab will be writing more books set in this world.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
So many people hyped this book up so much on BookTube that I actually went out and bought a copy since my library didn’t have a kindle edition, and then proceeded to read immediately. A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a historical fiction story following Monty in eighteenth century Europe as he embarks on his Grand Tour. Only Monty’s trip is complicated because he’s in love with his best friend, Percy, and this is their last chance to live it up before Monty is forced to take over his father’s estate and Percy attends law school.
I think this book is overhyped, but I also really enjoyed it and thought it was a lot of fun. Lee does a great job of making this book diverse and bringing the characters to life, as well as teaching you about history that you might not already know (I loved the historical facts section at the end!). It’s a really cute story and I’m excited for the sequel to come out! So overhyped, but worth the read.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandya Menon
This book was sooooo hyped on BookTube before it even came out, which was super frustrating because I really wanted to read it but had to wait months to do so. When Dimple Met Rishi, as the title suggests, is a contemporary romance about Dimple and Rishi, whose parents are trying to set them up in an arranged marriage. Only Dimple doesn’t know about this (and Rishi does) when she meets Rishi at a programming camp, which makes for an adorable meet cute and a rocky beginning to their relationship.
When my library copy finally came in for this book, I finished it in one sitting. Again, I think this book is overhyped, but it was still a really sweet contemporary that I enjoyed a lot. It’s a unique story and I really liked Dimple and Rishi and watching them get to know each other and fall in love. I’m really excited to read Menon’s next book, as well as the sequel to this book.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
I think I can attribute my reading of this book directly to Margot from Epic Reads, though I have heard about it from other BookTubers as well. My Lady Jane tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was on the throne of England for nine days before being beheaded. Only in this fantastical retelling, people can turn into animals and not everything is quite as it seems.
This book has a cute premise and some pretty funny pop culture jokes (there was a Game of Thrones reference that literally had me laughing out loud), but overall I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t care for Edward and his point of view, and I really wasn’t that invested in Jane and Gifford’s story, either, plus the whole book seemed a little juvenile to me. It was a fun enough read and I love the idea of these books, but I’m not sure I liked My Lady Jane enough to continue the series.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
So this book was hyped specifically by two BookTubers I enjoy watching: Piera from Piera Forde and Caz from Little Book Owl. Nevernight follows the story of Mia Corvere, who saw her father executed and her mother thrown in prison at the age of 10. On her own, Mia decides to do everything in her power to avenge her family. The story opens with her joining a school for assassins at the age of 16 in order to learn what she needs to in order to take down the men responsible for her father’s death.
Again, I really enjoyed this book, but I just don’t love it as much as Piera and Caz do. I didn’t connect all that much with Mia and found her a little too morally gray for my preferences, plus the book itself was pretty violent and crude. But I really liked the world that was created and I’m invested in Mia’s story and seeing if she’ll get her revenge, since I suspect there’s a lot more to the story of her father’s execution than Mia knows. So this was a solid read for me that I really enjoyed, but I’m not to the level of freaking out about it that Piera and Caz are.
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Nicola Yoon gets so much hype on BookTube that I felt like I was seriously missing out by not reading any of her books. I decided to go for The Sun Is Also a Star since I love the cover so much (it’s so gorgeous!). It follows the story of Natasha, who faces deportation after her father is arrested, and Daniel, who is battling his Korean American parents’ expectations that he become a doctor rather than a poet. The two meet by chance one day in New York City and eventually decide to use Natasha’s remaining 12 hours in the United States to see if a set of questions designed to make people fall in love actually work.
I was not a fan of this book. It’s not even that I think it’s overhyped; I actually didn’t like it and probably would have DNFed it if it weren’t so hyped (plus it was a fast read that I was planning to use for my Read Harder challenge). I didn’t think Natasha and Daniel had very unique voices and instead were the stereotypical firm believer in science and hopeless romantic. Plus I kept getting distracted by the random other perspectives that were thrown in there. I did wind up liking how a lot of the threads came together in the end, but I ultimately thought this was way overhyped and not worth the read.
It’s interesting to see how my tastes line up with those of the general YA BookTube community and what I think of some of the most popular YA books. I have a ton more books I could potentially include in this post, as a lot of the books I’ve read since discovering the online bookish community have been because of BookTube, but I’m going to cut it off here so it doesn’t get too long.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see another round of this post! And share what some of your favorite books are that you’ve read because of BookTube or book blogs!