How accurate is BookTok?


Olivia Howell

The book “Circe” by Madeline Miller is available for checkout at the Manchester Public Library.

Olivia Howell, Copy Editor and Opinion Editorial Writer

BookTok is considered one of the most wholesome and relaxing parts of TikTok. When I stumbled across it this summer, I wondered if the books were really as good as everyone was saying, so I decided to read some and see what the hype was all about. 

“One of Us Is Lying” by Karen McManus

This book started out as a twist on the “Breakfast Club” with five people entering detention and only four making it out. The murderee, Simon, has a gossip website and was about to post a topic on each of the students in the room. All of the students say that they did not murder Simon, hence the name, “One of Us is Lying.” 

Please note that in order to effectively review the book my review does contain spoilers for this book only.

The book’s writing style was not bad, but could’ve been more believable. The tropes in this book were so overused that I had trouble reading without cringing.

This book is honestly one of my least favorite books I’ve ever read. It wasn’t because it wasn’t well-written or the mystery wasn’t suspenseful enough; it was because of the ending.

Throughout the book, several of Simon’s actions and secrets are revealed. These actions painted a picture of Simon and who he was and some of his mental state. From these revelations, it is obvious that Simon had some form of mental illness culminating in his suicide and plan to take down the four in the room. 

The author could’ve used this amazing opportunity to talk about mental health in today’s schools and emphasize how, if Simon had gotten the help he needed, none of the issues in the book would’ve ever happened. Instead, Simon is villainized. 

I find this extremely damaging to the progress made on removing the stigma around mental health in the past couple of years.

My overall rating: 1/10

“The Recipe for a Perfect Wife” by Karma Brown

This book is about two women: one in the 1950s, and one in modern times. The woman in modern times is moving into a new house that previously belonged to the woman in the 1950s. It is supposed to be about these women taking control of their lives.

I was so ready to read a book that had a part in the 50s, but yet had a woman in control of her life. What I was not ready for was how depressed and disappointed in humanity that this book made me feel. I could not even finish this book because of how depressing it was.

My overall rating: 3/10

Let me just say that, after the previous two books, my hopes in BookTok were failing. I was so disappointed from the last two that my hopes for this book were basically on the floor.

“Circe” by Madeline Miller

This book takes on the myth of Circe in Greek mythology, but in a way that even people that are not familiar in the slightest with mythology can understand.

This book blew my socks off with the force of a nuclear bomb. 

This book was so well-written that, at some points, I felt like I was reading a Greek goddess’s autobiography. Miller perfectly captured how I imagine a divine entity would speak, think, and feel about the world.

Miller does use some vocabulary that most readers would find difficult to understand, but this is only a chance to expand your vocabulary. 

We love to see a powerful woman in literature, especially when it takes place in a time when that would’ve been considered rare, and we get just that in this book.

As someone who loves all things history and mythology, I felt that this book wonderfully encapsulated all the information that a reader would need to fully understand the story even if they had never heard any of the Greek myths.

The only bad thing I can say about this book is that I will have to deal with the nuclear winter that is trying to find another book that I will enjoy this much.

My overall rating: 8/10

Overall Thoughts on BookTok

Booktok made me feel some things. It was mostly depression and anger, and I would probably have completely given up on it if it wasn’t for “Circe” being such a good book. 

I have to wonder if some BookTokkers pick books based on the aesthetic of the covers and how they look on the shelves instead of their literary value. 

Still, I don’t regret reading these books as I feel it is important to read books that have ideas that you don’t agree with or that are not in a genre that you normally read. By reading these books, I also gained a new book that I like, and I think that is worth reading 50 bad books.