10+ YA Books I’d Curate for my #Booktok Table

#Booktok tables are often a source of publicity (both good & bad) for bookstores like Barnes & Noble where readers see at a glance, what titles (mainly adult & YA) are seen / promoted most by those across the booktok community. Though rightfully, articles such as that from The Cut are critiquing the algorithm and “racial bias” that further illustrates the lack of diversity not only in publishing but in the recommendations that are mainly being pushed by the algorithm and book lovers.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m browsing at the store, I’ve often thought if I had the time to curate my own #Booktok table with my favorite recommendations (either by authors of color or more underrated titles) that deserve the spotlight too alongside the more mainstream ones ― I’d do that no questions asked!

That’s why on the blog, I’ve put together a list of a few Young Adult books (mostly backlist, couple newer titles etc.) that would be featured on a 24hr.YABookBlog #Booktok table, alongside a couple words as to why. While the bookish side of TikTok definitely has its own pockets and creators that highlight authors of color, this is more in response to the white, mainstream face of Booktok that is often seen or the lack of variety in terms of plot, etc. or how I often tire of seeing the same books over & over.

YA Romance Books

Romance books are huge on #Booktok with the hashtag at currently 5.8B views, readers can’t get enough of these stories from fantasy to contemporary, featuring *so many different tropes & pairings (enemies-to-lovers, friends-to-lovers, obsessed hero, etc.) which inspired me to highlight these YA romances that I’m utterly shocked don’t have more views on the app

When it comes to romances it’s quite obvious that reader’s are here for the trope between the main leads which is why Janelle Milanes’s Analee, In Real Life is a book I will never stop screaming about― fake dating, the shy x popular pairing, cute “fake” dates & lots of banter! Readers would simply adore the banter between Seb and Analee as they try to keep up a fake relationship while also learning so much about each other! Next, Kristina Forest writes the most charming characters you root for every time + with a perfect dash of adventure written into her novels, Now That I’ve Found You would be my addition to the romance section. Lastly, Salt And Sugar from Rebecca Carvalho became my newest obsession during the year of 2022. This Brazilian-set romcom follows bakers from feuding families who find themselves working together to save their family businesses. The Lari x Pedro dynamic will leave you giggling & screaming at all the fun romantic moments between the bickering couple.

Another book that comes to mind especially when it comes to the #Booktok YA romcom fave Better Than The Movies from Lynn Painter, would be a book I’m still currently reading & enjoying lots, Keep My Heart In San Francisco by Amelia Diane Coombs. Its about two ex-best friends, Caroline (aka Chuck) and her ex-bff Beckett Porter, who team up to save Chuck’s family bowling alley before the end of spring break! From the banter between them to the mental health discussions & fun romcom adventure around San Francisco, I think this would make a great read-alike from what I’ve seen with BTTM!

Lastly, one of my all-time favorite YA romcoms I’d love to more of on the app, which would be on my bookish table for sure, Fat Chance Charlie Vega from Crystal Maldonado, the most charming YA about self-love/confidence & has the cutest friends to lovers romance!

YA Mystery Books

With the A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder hashtag at 129.6M views, readers are obsessed with Pip, her clever detective skills, the twists and the dynamic between Pip + Ravi! If I were to name titles of books to get to better understand me & how this book would effortlessly fit into the popular genres on the app I’d for sure say The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky is one of them! Rachel is a bit of an outcast at her new prep school but with her obsession for the horror genre, she attracts the attention of a mysterious club that loves to pull pranks on fellow students. The dark academia vibes, fusion of horror and general mystery makes this novel a love-letter to the genre I believe so many more people should be picking up!

Next is such an underrated book that gives major AGGGTM vibes― Holly Hernandez And The Death Of Disco by Richie Narvaez. While I haven’t finished reading this one quite yet, set during the 70’s in NYC this book follows Holly, a sunshine overly enthusiastic overachiever who tries to solve the case of a murdered teacher after a fellow classmate becomes the prime suspect. The two race against the clock & each other to solve the case first! Holly’s sunshine energy and enthusiasm in solving the case reminded me a lot of Pip, but what makes Narvaez novel such a compelling read that deserves all the hype is unique plot that hooked me in from page 1! Lastly is a newer release that also sounds perfect for readers of Holly Jackson and that’s This Book Kills from Ravena Guron. Set at an elite boarding school, Jess Choudhary becomes entangled in the murder of popular student Hugh Henry, whose mysteriously killed in a way eerily similar to a short story she wrote and to make matters worse, the anonymous killer thanks her for the inspiration.

Fantasy with a dash of romance

Booktok users love to read and recommend not just romance, but also fantasy romance― quite a huge sub-genre that’s made waves with the popular titles I’m sure we’re all aware of, from YA titles like Kingdom Of The Wicked to Once Upon A Broken Heart. However, there’s a lot of phenomenal YA fantasy / fantasy romances that have occupied a special place in my heart with the fascinating leads growing together in a fantastical, magical setting, which to me have not received the love they deserve. Firstly, Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones set during 19th century Bavaria Liesl is an innkeeper’s daughter who dreams of becoming a composer. But when her younger sister is taken by the Goblin King, she enters his underground domain, taking her sister’s place as she works to complete her compositions, while falling in love with her art & the enigmatic Goblin King. From Jae-Jones’s wondrous descriptions that transport you to the world in addition to her melodic balance between romance, music, themes of sisterhood and self, I wouldn’t be surprised if this superb duology is rediscovered on the app sometime again soon. One of the most underrated series I’ve come across in recent years is without a doubt the Dark Of The West novels from Joanna Hathaway! It has the recipe for a new Booktok fave: dual POV, generational enemies falling in love, the faint Rome and Juliet-esque love story, secrets, the romance that elevates the deeper, grander themes about war, and the poetic prose! Athan is a pilot and Ali, a princess who live in entirely different worlds but when they find themselves falling for each other amid a brewing war. For those who love ensemble casts, sweeping romance and books that emotionally ruin you, Joanna’s books would absolutely fit the kind of romance that YA readers are looking for! Lastly, you know it wouldn’t be complete without sharing my love for Nocturna by Maya Motayne, while the series is still not yet complete (Lucero should be releasing sometime this year though!), I think Booktok is sleeping on many books + series, Maya’s being one of them. Set in a Dominican-inspired world, the story follows Finn, a face-changing theif and Alfie, the crown prince who have to team up and stop an evil force that breaks free. The romance develops so perfectly because in the first book you truly get an understanding of who they are, yet in Oculta (the sequel) you can’t help but find yourself rooting for them with each chapter as they get roped into another saving-their-world scenario where they’ve each got their own new problems to face but still find themselves growing together, despite being from seemingly different worlds.

Latinx YA Gems

We all know the platform’s algorithm often uplifts white books & stories more than those from BIPOC writers. According to this well-known 2018 graphic from Reading Spark, despite making up around 20% of the US population, roughly about 5% of books childrens books published feature Latina, Latino or Latine/x characters. Which is why I’d love to highlight 3 wonderful books from Latina authors that I’d love to see on the #Booktok tables, because frankly I need to see further appreciation for Latine books on the app! Each of these titles are either contemporary or romances which I believe deserve much more love on the platform: Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, Color Me In by Natasha Diaz and Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika & Maritza Moulite.

❀ For Don’t Date Rosa Santos, it would fit perfectly because lots of users love romance books (its got the cozy small-town setting, characters you’ll love & a cute romance ofc), Color Me In would be another perfect fit on my bookish table because from what I’ve read so far from Diaz’s novel, its all about coming-of-age and the platform is all about connecting with our favorite fictional characters, Navaeh’s a protagonist whose voice instantly leaped off the page & I think this book would make for an incredible addition to the table. Lastly, Dear Haiti, Love Alaine from the Moulite writer duo is an underrated gem― not only is it written through mixed media (which so many readers on the platform love), its also just a fantastic contemporary story about family & self, which I’d love to see on my bookish table!

Which YA Books would you like to put together for a #Booktok table? What are some YA authors or sub-genres you’d like to see get more popular on the app? & Do we have any similar books in common? Let’s discuss in the comments! 📚📝

♡ looking for great discussions on Booktok displays, do read TK from @Genieinanovel’s post, which partly inspired my creative post! 📖💕

4 thoughts on “10+ YA Books I’d Curate for my #Booktok Table

    1. Absolutely YES, TMSC is a book I recommend to anyone who needs a clever, twisty thriller & I think you’d have fun with it Raji! Wintersong’s so GOOD, both books have different vibes to them from what I remember but ahh so amazing!! 😭 Thanks so much for reading! 😍

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