As a well-read person, it’s a good idea to expand your repertoire and try reading books from different genres.
Since joining Bookstagram I’ve been introduced to many new authors and genres I wouldn’t naturally gravitate towards. Mind you, I still prefer my Nordic Noir over any other sub-genre, but it’s nice to step out of your comfort zone every now and then.
For this article, I had to think about which books lived up to the hype. Seems an easy task, but it’s actually more complex than it seems. Not that I’m complaining, as I’m always up for a challenge. And these types of challenges bring me lots of joy!
Just as a side note, I will not review or give a short synopsis of these books, since I’ve already mentioned them in previous posts. I will, however, link my previous articles if you’re interested in reading both a short summary and my actual reviews.
Without further ado, let’s see which books you should definitely give a chance.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jennings Reid
This is the second book I’ve read by the author, and I enjoyed it a lot. Although she really made a name for herself with Daisy Jones and the Six, I think the writing format is not for everyone. It is still a very enjoyable read that you should consider. I think The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a better choice if you’re not a fan of the interview-type style of Daisy Jones and the Six. That being said, I find the author has an easy way of getting you to really get entwined in the characters’ lives.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Written as a work of fiction, this book is about the behind-the-scenes of a therapist’s world and all that it entails. It is a book that is worth reading, even if you never considered therapy. The book isn’t meant to entice anyone to enter therapy, but rather about what therapists go through themselves. The fact that they have needs just like everyone else, and they seek help themselves on a daily basis is an eye opener. Her style of writing is so clever and filled with humor, that you cannot put it down. An exquisite book that everyone should read. It definitely lives up to the hype. In my opinion, it isn’t hyped enough.
The Crow Girl by Erik Axl Sund
This Swedish writing duo is simply one to keep in mind, although I haven’t heard of anything new from them since this book came out. The Crow Girl is as dark as you would expect from a Nordic Noir book. Originally written as a three-part tome, the book is extremely long. But don’t let that be a deterrent. With a great plot, well-developed characters, and a shocking ending, it is Nordic noir at its best. It is quite gruesome, so for those of you who get triggered easily, maybe you should skip it. But for those readers that love gory details and hard subjects such as abuse, you will definitely want to pick it up.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
This is a contemporary fiction/romance/chick-lit that was an unexpectedly great read. Yes, it’s way overhyped on all platforms, but I think it’s worth reading it. This was my first book by Colleen Hoover, and I will definitely pick up another one of her books in the same style.
I did also read Verity, and although the styles are very different and her writing equally good, it did not make any of my favorite lists. I didn’t hate it, but if you’re on the fence about it, you can skip it, in my opinion.
It Ends with Us, on the other hand, is one of those types of books that just make you feel good until they tear you apart. The subject matter is a bit difficult to broach, but Hoover does it in a way that makes it bearable to read.
Should I go on? Or have I convinced you to pick it up yet? Give it a chance, and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.
The Ballerinas by Rachel Kapelke-Dale
Although not as overhyped as other books on this list, The Ballerinas is worth reading, especially for ballet lovers. As soon as I heard about it, I knew it was a book I would love. And I was right, I love it. A lot.
This book marries two of my favorite things: classical ballet and reading. So, yes, it goes without saying that it made my top ten favorite books of the year so far. Plus the cover is absolutely gorgeous.
The author delves into the world of classical ballet dancers, and she develops her characters with a keen eye for detail. Well structured and with a great overall storyline, the ending was shocking as well. Not gruesome, just disturbing enough for those of you who enjoy an element of suspense. I won’t say any more, because you should go pick it up and read it for yourself. Read this book!
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
Every now and then, a new author comes out of nowhere and brings a breath of fresh air to the literature world. This is what happened with Sally Rooney. Born in 1991, the author is one of the youngest to make such an impact with her very sharp and clever observations of millennial relationships.
In 2017, at the time it came out, this book took the world by surprise.
Although most people loved Normal People, which came out a couple of years later, Conversations with Friends is my favorite work by this author. It is raw yet fresh and written by a millennial who sees things differently than people of my generation. For a first novel, it deserves all the hype and more. If you haven’t read any Rooney yet and want to give her a try, definitely pick up this one.
Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
As one of my favorite books of the year, I simply had to include it on this list. It is a great work of fiction that will appeal to those who love family sagas and a bit of historical fiction.
The author is great at going back and forth in time, and she develops her characters with finesse and a very perceptive eye. You will enjoy the references to some Caribbean traditions that you may not be familiar with, and learn about different cultures all while reading this novel. I enjoyed this book tremendously, and if Obama has it on his summer reading list, so should you. It is a book that is definitely worth the hype.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Let me start by saying that since I joined Instagram, I’ve discovered some books that I would not normally gravitate toward, this one is one of those books. Although it became one of my favorite books over the last couple of years, I would never have picked it up on my own. That being said, you should definitely give this book a chance, even if you normally don’t go for overhyped books.
In this case, the book deserves all the praise it gets. I will not review it again, but I can’t stress enough that the book is great. If you don’t know what to read next, maybe this one will make you get in the mood to read again.
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
A couple of years ago, when this book came out in Canada, it was all I could talk about. I first read it in French, borrowed from my public library. Then I borrowed the English version they received, read it, then immediately purchased my own copy. I love it so much, I was overjoyed when Netflix made a series based on the book.
Needless to say, it also became one of my favorite series. As far as I’m concerned, anything that man touches is gold in my eyes. As a side note, he is the man behind the Danish TV series The Killing, which was also remade in the US in 2011. So yes, the book is definitely worth the hype. If you are trying to get into Nordic Noir, this book is as good as it gets. I’m just hoping he will write another book soon. I, for one, cannot wait.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
What is there more to say about this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime book? It is heart-wrenching yet so gripping, you need to find out how things evolve in the characters’ lives. The intertwined relationships and their progress throughout the years are described in such detail, that you feel as if you know them personally. The author’s aptitude to come and rip your heart right out of your chest makes this book a must-read.
Yes, it is also one of the saddest, hardest books to read, but one that surpasses any expectations. Speaking for myself, I had to read other lighter books alongside it. It is just that powerful, even though the subject matter is very hard to digest. A word of warning though, as I’m reading some fellow readers’ reviews. It does contain some heavy subjects such as abusive childhoods and self-harming behaviors. Hence it may not be for everyone, or at least not at a particular time, especially if struggling mentally.
All that is to say that the book does live up to the hype, one way or another. Love it or hate it, it’s a great work of fiction that I highly recommend.
Here’s my version of books that live up to the hype. I will continue with this series as I go along, and as books keep getting hyped on any social media platform. As long as there are writers, there will be readers. And some books will just become must-reads, while others flop, unfortunately. Bring them on, I’ll be here waiting to be wowed, along with all of you, fellow bookworms.