By Richie Bowman
Y’all, I may be a bit late (or very, very early,) but I’m here to talk about gifts. Whether your beloved asks for your TBR or just hands you cash, books are definitely a tricky gift to buy off the top of your head. For us booklovers, the dreaded question “what do you want this year?” seems to have a simple answer. Obviously, it’s books, books, and more books. But this article isn’t just for us. (Okay, it definitely can help us to add to the ever-growing TBR.)
No, this article is mostly to send off to the friends, the relatives, the loved ones who’d love to buy you a new book but just have no clue where to begin. (Hey, relatives! Has your book-lover read this one before? Is this even the genre they like? I’m here to help!)
BookTok is one of the most popular ways that folks find new books these days. It can be an extremely helpful tool, but we know if you already love BookTok, you’ve probably made your way through quite a few of the titles on there. This article is to open your loved one up to some new ideas, with a higher chance that it’ll be new to you, too! (And if your favorite BookTok author is Colleen Hoover, don’t worry, I’m dedicating an article just to her since so many of her titles have exploded in popularity.)
All books talked about will be listed below for your adding-to-cart convenience.
If You Liked The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, you’ll love My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura!
I love a book that keeps me guessing till the final page, and these two fall into that category in spades! If you’re looking for suspense, chills, and a wild twist ending, this translated novel could be the perfect pick!
If You Liked A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, you’ll love Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi!
Tragedy, queerness, and a lead who can’t catch a break all tie together these two modern classics. Akwaeke Emezi writes about Ada, the host of multiple ogbanje, as she struggles to survive in a world where her body is up for grabs, no matter what she wants from it.
If You Liked Normal People by Sally Rooney, you’ll love Moshi Moshi by Banana Yoshimoto!
The world stopped turning for Rooney’s novel about two people finding love even in the most banal of circumstances. Yoshimoto follows the same intimate tone, following Yoshie as she recovers from the death of her father and learns to find love, peace, and a new start. You’ll feel like you’re reading about your best friend by the end.
If You Liked A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, you’ll love Golden Boys Beware by Hannah Capin!
While Jackson’s taut YA thriller follows a girl trying to solve a mystery, Golden Boys Beware is from the perspective of the criminal. A brilliantly funny modern day retelling of Macbeth, Golden Boys has all the thrills and spills that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
If You Liked Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, you’ll love I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson!
The same kinds of whimsical fun, enemies to lovers tropes, and charming main characters will suck you into this new Kosoko Jackson title. He’s primarily known for writing queer romance, and has dipped his toe in the YA genre just like McQuiston!
If You Liked The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, you’ll love Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi!
A special class of magic user fights for equality and equity in this YA fantasy that’ll be right up your alley! Did you cry having to leave Deka behind? Zelie might just become your new best friend, with the same strength and spitfire to offer.
If You Liked Know My Name by Chanel Miller, you’ll love Mean by Myriam Gurba!
Another heart-wrenching first person account of assault, Myriam Gurba’s Mean takes you through her life as a queer woman, and the assaults from men that shaped her into the tough-as-nails Chicana she is today. Mixed with humor and a lot of meanness, you’ll gasp in shock but love every minute of this memoir.
If You Liked Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, you’ll love Love in Color by Bolu Babalola!
A debut anthology collection from Babalola, you’ll be reading mythological love stories from around the world. Featuring queer representation, a heavy dose of female protagonists, and more representation for people of color, this is a can’t-miss collection that’s the perfect next step in your mythology journey!
If You Liked The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, you’ll love The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin!
I’m always a sucker for watching money make the worst of folks, and these are two prime examples. Whether it’s the ensemble cast, the wacky antics, or the race to the finish, The Westing Game gives all the fun that Barnes offers in her popular new trilogy.
If You Liked Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, you’ll love Fake it Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley!
Looking for low-stakes, high charm, and a strong, beautiful woman at the forefront? Both these books follow brilliant women who need to do a little growing up, but find humor and heart through life anyway… especially when they stumble on that special guy.
I hope these picks help you on your way, whether you're gift hunting for a loved one or trying to spend those Christmas gift cards!
**THE INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER**
"An unforgettable—and Hollywood-bound—new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion?
Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life.
With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A stunning “portrait of the enduring grace of friendship” (NPR) about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves. A masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century.
A National Book Foundation "5 Under 35" Honoree
Finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for a Debut Novel
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
A New York Times Notable Book
NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships” (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, “a master of the literary page-turner” (J. Courtney Sullivan).
"A beautiful translation . . . Yoshimoto deploys a magically Japanese light touch to emotionally and existentially tough subject matter: domestic disarray, loneliness, identity issues, lovesickness . . . [a] nimble narrative." ―ELLE
THE MUST-READ MULTIMILLION BESTSELLING MYSTERY SERIES• Everyone is talking about A Good Girl's Guide to Murder! With shades of Serial and Making a Murderer this is the story about an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you'll never expect.
Everyone in Fairview knows the story.
For the girls who have had enough – Hannah Capin’s Golden Boys Beware, originally published as Foul is Fair, is the bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy that reimagines Lady Macbeth’s story for the modern day.
* Instant NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestseller *
* GOODREADS CHOICE AWARD WINNER for BEST DEBUT and BEST ROMANCE of 2019 *
* BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR* for VOGUE, NPR, VANITY FAIR, and more! *
What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
"Shine[s] with a beautiful, blooming sense of wonder.”—New York Times Book Review
Entertainment Weekly's 10 Best LGBTQ+ Romance Novels of the Last Five Years
Essence's New Books We Can’t Wait To Read In 2022
Oprah Daily’s Most Anticipated Romance Novels of 2022
Buzzfeed’s Highly Anticipated LGBTQ Romance Novels in 2022
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TEEN VOGUE
"A dark feminist tale spun with blood and gold. Must read!" –Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
Instant New York Times Bestseller
TIME Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time
TIME Best YA Books of All Time
TIME 100: Most Influential People of 2020
New York Times Notable Children's Books of 2018
TIME Top 10 Best YA and Children's Books of 2018
NPR's Book Concierge 2018 Great Reads List
Buzzfeed's 24 Best YA Books of 2018
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
"Know My Name is a gut-punch, and in the end, somehow, also blessedly hopeful."
True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba's coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy.
A New York Times Bestseller
“At once a scholar’s homage to The Iliad and startlingly original work of art….A book I could not put down.” —Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House
"Love stories by and about marginalized women . . . The heroines are strong and sure . . . Babalola’s writing shines.” — New York Times Book Review
2 MILLION COPIES SOLD OF THE #1 BESTSELLING SERIES!
Don't miss this New York Times bestselling "impossible to put down" (Buzzfeed) novel with deadly stakes, thrilling twists, and juicy secrets -- perfect for fans of One of Us is Lying and Knives Out.
Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship
A Newbery Medal Winner
For over thirty-five years, Ellen Raskin's Newbery Medal-winning The Westing Game has been an enduring favorite.
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In Talia Hibbert’s newest rom-com, the flightiest Brown sister crashes into the life of an uptight B&B owner and has him falling hard—literally.
A reality star and a cupcake-baking football player pretend to be a couple in order to save his bakery in this sweet and sexy romance from Jamie Wesley, Fake It Till You Bake It.