Finding the best books you can't put down is perhaps the biggest quest of any reader, and these are utterly unputdownable books that are page-turners bound to completely immerse you.
For each of the best books you can't put down, I tell you exactly why I couldn't put them down and what they are about, so you can decide if they sound like unputdownable books to you too. The list is varied, and not just thrillers! It also includes historical fiction, Young Adult novels, rom-coms, and more.
Best Books You Can't Put Down (Unputdownable Books)
And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's an extremely salacious look into the private lives of political celebrities. You'll want to pair it with popcorn! At one point I texted my sister, "I can't stop reading this!"
You thought you knew Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. So did I. And They Called It Camelot is a deep dive narrative that offers a much more intimate portrait into her life, from her meeting with JFK and their wedding to their family, medical, and marital problems, as well as his assassination and beyond. And it's as juicy as a soap opera.
For more, read my full review of And They Called It Camelot.
Cover Story by Susan Rigetti
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a fast-paced story of a fraudulent con woman and the hunt to stop her, with a jaw-dropping ending.
I read Cover Story because it was advertised as a mix of Inventing Anna, The Dropout, and Catch Me If You Can -- three things I loved! It follows the diary entries of a naive young woman who becomes a ghostwriter for a glamorous daughter of a foreign mogul living at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
But behind all the money is a trail of lies, fraud, and stolen identities. I flew through it in 24 hours and was left questioning everything I just read.
Related Post: Best Books About Con Artists
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a short play, and the Audible version is exquisitely narrated by the incomparable James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury.
Driving Miss Daisy is the story of the complicated, yet beautiful friendship between an elderly Jewish woman and her Black driver in mid-century Atlanta over the course of two decades. It's on the Rory Gilmore book list as well!
Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- #1 New York Times Bestseller
- USA Today Book of the Year
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a suspenseful thriller in which you don't know whether you can trust the narrator. I still remember sitting on the edge of my seat with thing one.
In Girl on the Train, an alcoholic woman sees a perfect young couple on their porch, outside the train windows, each day. Then, she sees something shocking and becomes entangled in their lives.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
- NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN • NAMED ONE OF TIME’S TEN BEST FICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE AND ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE
- NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Janet Maslin, The New York Times • People • Entertainment Weekly • O: The Oprah Magazine • Slate • Kansas City Star • USA Today • Christian Science Monitor
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's the original of the best books you can't put down, a shocking thriller, with chapter endings that leave you gasping and wanting more.
If you haven't already read Gone Girl, it is one wild ride, unlike any other book you've read. Beloved Amy has gone missing, and her husband is the prime suspect. As the evidence comes in, it all points to him... or does it? There are shocking twists and depravity the likes of which you haven't seen before in this shocking thriller book.
The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a really well-drawn mystery, as all of Hepworth's novels are, so that keeps you extremely intrigued. I read it in one day!
In The Good Sister, Fern is an introverted librarian who has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. When Rose learns she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees a chance to pay her sister back by having a baby for her. But, this "simple" mission ends up stirring up the darkest of family secrets that leave you questioning what's good and what's evil.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- 8 starred reviews
- Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best
- William C. Morris Award Winner
- National Book Award Longlist
- Printz Honor Book
- Coretta Scott King Honor Book
- #1 New York Times Bestseller
Why I couldn't put this book down: The characters are utterly realistic and unforgettable, and you get completely immersed in their lives.
The Hate U Give exquisitely explores the death of a young unarmed Black man at the hands of a cop through the eyes of the charming teenager Starr, who lives in two worlds -- her diverse neighborhood and her cookie-cutter private school. She comes of age as she relies on her family to cope with witnessing the tragedy. The dialogue is so riveting and the characters so multi-dimensional that I actually felt like I was watching a movie while reading this Black Lives Matter book.
The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
#1 Instant New York Times Bestseller
Why I couldn't put this book down: It starts right in the middle of things, then keeps your heart pounding throughout the chase for the truth.
A seemingly loving husband disappears into thin air one day with but a short note to his new wife: "Protect her" -- his 16-year-old, unfriendly teenage daughter. Then, his boss is arrested very publicly for fraud, and the FBI arrives at their home with questions.
At this moment, she begins to question whether her husband is who he claimed to be. As she and her stepdaughter head across the country, they face both uncovering the past and creating a very different future for themselves.
It's chock full of intrigue and suspense, while also sharing the meaning of family, and you will never guess what's behind the mystery. What more could you want from an unputdownable read?!
For more, read my full review of The Last Thing He Told Me.
The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
New York Times bestseller
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a tearjerker in which you become invested in the couple and yearn to know what becomes of them after years apart. I remember listening in my car in tears just hoping to get to the end before I got to my destination.
The Light We Lost is a Reese's book club pick that's also one of the bestselling books on this blog! Lucy and Gabe meet in college on September 11, 2001, and share a memorable love, but life ultimately pulls them in different directions. Yet, their story continues for over a decade as space cannot keep them out of each other's hearts. And how it all ends is surprising and unforgettable.
Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
- New York Times Bestseller
- Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, People, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, TIME, The A.V. Club, Buzzfeed, and PopSugar
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a really unique premise, but it's written in a very contemporary way that makes you want to binge-read it.
Nothing to See Here is a Read with Jenna book club pick that I binged in one day! Lillian gets a letter from an old college friend begging her to care for her twin stepchildren. There's a very unlikely catch -- the twins burst into flames whenever they are agitated. Lillian learns to form bonds with the twins and meet their needs in this humorous, powerful, and unique story about parenting.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- New York Times-bestseller
- Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award!
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's a Young Adult book and it's a novel written in lyrical form, so it keeps you moving fast and turning the pages.
In The Poet X, Xiomara feels unheard in her Harlem neighborhood since becoming a teen. So, she pours her heart onto the pages of a notebook and recites the words.
Her Mami pressures her to obey the laws of the church, but she refuses to be silent when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club.
Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank
Why I couldn't put this book down: It's extremely light and engaging, with Southern charm that makes you smile and want more. It's like a Hallmark movie!
Beekeeper Holly lives on Sullivans Island with her mother, "Queen Bee." She escapes by spending time with the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.
When her flamboyant sister returns home, they fixate on the handsome neighbor, and what results is a hilarious and theatrical spiral downwards. What's left at the end of the day is the love of family.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
Why I couldn't put this book down: All of Hoover's books move quickly, but this one in particular is so shocking in nature that it's one of the best books you can't put down. I read it over the course of one plane ride!
Verity is an author injured in a car accident, and struggling writer Lowen agrees to finish her books. But when she begins to sift through Verity's notes and study her demeanor, something feels...off. Trust me, that's only the beginning of this jaw-dropping roller coaster ride. The most common reaction to this book I hear is simply, "OMG!"
Those are my personal best books you can't put down. I hope you find them to be unputdownable books as well!