BookTok-Inspired Summer Reading List 2023

Trying to find your perfect summer holiday read? Here are some of the top summer 2023 books as recommended by BookTok...

Written byHolly Barrow
Published on
Read time7 min read

Bookworm or not, you may have stumbled upon the wonderful corner of the internet known as BookTok - a community of users on TikTok who post book-related content and discuss all things literature. 

From book recommendations based on star signs to debates about literary prizes, you can find it all. 

The community has become such a popular part of the social platform that the hashtag alone now has over 160 billion views, and earlier this year TikTok even launched its own TikTok Book Awards to celebrate the books, independent book shops, authors and creators that have made the #BookTok community what it is today. 


And it’s not only the online world that has been impacted by the growing community; book sales have rocketed as a result. 

So to celebrate all things BookTok, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently recommended summer reads for 2023 - so whether you’re an avid reader or you’re just looking for an engrossing book to dive into on holiday, here are some of the top summer reads for 2023 as recommended by BookTokers across the globe… 

Remember, as a TOTUM member you can enjoy 10% off selected books at Amazon and a free 30-day Audible trial if audiobooks are more your thing! 

1. Yellowface - R.F. Kuang


The bestselling author of Babel is back with another sensational novel, cementing her status as a literary sensation. 

R.F. Kuang’s Yellowface follows authors June Hayward and Athena Liu - two Yale graduates expected to be twin rising stars, but only Athena makes her name as a literary star while June fails to get her book released. 

When June witnesses Athena's death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse, stealing Athena's just-finished masterpiece and sending it to her agent as her own work before rebranding herself as Juniper Song.

Taking on questions of diversity, racism, white privilege, and cultural appropriation not only in the publishing industry but the wider world, Yellowface has been described as a ‘remarkable and incendiary’ powerhouse of a novel. 

What BookTokers say about Yellowface: 

Moly from @molysbookclub says: “It’s like reading a Hollywood scandal but from a publishing point of view [...] If you are looking for a read that you can’t put down, that’s literally like watching a trainwreck, then I would totally recommend that you read this. 

“It gives you really interesting moments of self-reflection; your jaw drops, you cringe, you have secondhand embarrassment, and I usually don’t read books just in a couple of sittings but this one was a quick one for me.”

2. Talking At Night - Claire Daverley 


Talking At Night is the brand new debut novel from Claire Daverley and is already being hailed one of the best summer reads of 2023. 

This generation-spanning romance follows opposites Will and Rosie who meet as teenagers and fall in love over secret walks home and late night talks, until tragedy strikes and the pair go their separate ways. 

But as the years pass by, the pair continue to find their way back to one another and struggle to let go of what could have been… 

Talking At Night has been compared to Sally Rooney’s Normal People and David Nicholls’ One Day, exploring the all-consuming nature of first love as well as hope, heartbreak and grief. 

What BookTokers say about Talking At Night:

Lauren from @laurens.little.library says: “You know there’s something special about a book if I want to talk about it when I’m only on page 22. If you are a Sally Rooney fan, if you are a lit fic fan: Talking At Night. I think this is exactly what I have been looking for.”

3. The List - Yomi Adegoke


Looking for a novel that explores the dark intricacies of social media and its influence on our closest relationships?

Yomi Adegoke’s incredible debut novel The List is the ultimate page turner. 

The List follows Ola Olajide, a high-profile journalist who is due to marry her fiancé Michael in a month’s time, with the young, beautiful couple seeming to be the power couple that has it all - that is, if social media is to be believed. 

One morning, the pair wake up to the same message: ‘Oh my god, have you seen The List?’ 

Soon discovering that Michael has been named on a list shared by an anonymous social media making serious allegations, the couple’s lives are upheaved and they experience firsthand the rise and fall of having social media status. 

Paula Hawkins - author of the best-selling psychological thriller The Girl On The Train - describes The List as 'the perfect summer read: intelligent, funny, topical and impossible to put down'. 

What BookTokers say about The List:

@booksthatmatter says: “The List is the most incredible, thrilling book I have read in the past couple of months [...] I literally could not put this book down, it was so gripping and literally had you until the very last page."

4. Small Worlds - Caleb Azumah Nelson


From the acclaimed author of Open Water, Small Worlds is Caleb Azumah Nelson’s exhilarating and expansive second novel set in London and Ghana across three summers and exploring a son-father relationship along with the power of music, dance and love. 

An official synopsis reads: ‘The one thing that can solve Stephen's problems is dancing. Dancing at Church, with his parents and brother, the shimmer of Black hands raised in praise; he might have lost his faith, but he does believe in rhythm. Dancing with his friends, somewhere in a basement with the drums about to drop, while the DJ spins garage cuts.

'Dancing with his band, making music which speaks not just to the hardships of their lives, but the joys too. Dancing with his best friend Adeline, two-stepping around the living room, crooning and grooving, so close their heads might touch. Dancing alone, at home, to his father's records, uncovering parts of a man he has never truly known.

‘Stephen has only ever known himself in song. But what becomes of him when the music fades? When his father begins to speak of shame and sacrifice, when his home is no longer his own? How will he find space for himself: a place where he can feel beautiful, a place he might feel free?’

What BookTokers say about Small Worlds:


@jpreads6 says: “I gave this an 11/10. It’s just a profound book and what I love about Caleb is the fact that he can actually just take something so small, something everyday, and make it into something so profound that you’re sat there thinking about it for three to four days afterwards.”

5. The Silent Patient - Alex Michaelides


Alex Michaelides’ 2019 psychological thriller The Silent Patient is an extremely popular summer read across the Booktok community thanks to its unputdownable nature. 

It follows Alicia Berenson, a former famous painter whose seemingly perfect life quickly unravels when she shoots her husband Gabriel five times one evening when he arrives home from work late. 

Refusing to speak from that day forward and admitted to a psychiatric unit, Alicia becomes somewhat of a phenomenon, with criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber tasked with solving the mystery of why she shot her husband.

What BookTokers say about The Silent Patient:


Whitney from @onewhitwonder_ says: “This book was phenomenal. Definitely one of my best reads of the year so far. [...] There’s no guessing how this is going to end. That for me was the most satisfying part of the book, that I thought I knew but I really didn’t know.”

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