"Bookstagram made me do it" books are those that are not really your normal type of read but are so well rated by the book community on Instagram ("Bookstagram") that you are #influenced to read it. It really shows the power of the Bookstagram community!
For me, "Bookstagram made me do it" books have been hit or miss. It's always a decent possibility you won't actually like a book since it's generally not in your wheelhouse. (For me, romance and fantasy are not my usual genres.)
BUT, many "Bookstagram made me do it" books actually have lived up to the hype for me. And, to make the list even more fun and give you even more insight, I polled my Instagram audience to give their opinions as to whether each book lived up to the hype for them too, and I posted the results below.
"Bookstagram Made Me Do It" Books
- Every Summer After - Best for fans of modern romance novels
- The Guncle - Best for fans of heartwarming LGBTQ books
- The Happy Ever After Playlist - Best for fans of modern romantic comedies
- The House in the Cerulean Sea - Best for fans of Shrek and Harry Potter
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - Best for fans of time travel
- Hum If You Don't Know the Words - Best for fans of historical fiction
- The Simple Wild - Best for fans of modern romance fiction
- The Unhoneymooners - Best for fans of modern romantic comedies
- With the Fire on High - Best for fans of diverse YA books with a lovable protagonist
Every Summer After by Carley Fortune
Best for fans of modern romance novels
Instagram Poll: 89% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
- THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
- Named One of the Hottest Reads of Summer 2022 by Today, Parade, PopSugar, USA Today, SheReads, BuzzFeed, BookBub, Bustle, and more!
If you didn't hear about Every Summer After in Summer 2022, you must be living under a rock! I think it's the nostalgia of first love and second chances that really got everyone hooked.
Over the course of six Summers, teens Persephone and Sam go from friends to lovers. That is, until one momentous Thanksgiving changes everything. When Persephone returns years later for a funeral, she must face Sam again.
You will be rooting for the characters and their journeys, hoping they can get it right after all. And I think you will love it as much as everyone else does!
The Guncle by Steven Rowley
Best for fans of heartwarming LGBTQ books
Instagram Poll: 65% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
An NPR Book of the Year
Finalist for the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards
When I first heard people talking about The Guncle, I thought the cover was cute, but I didn't know if a cute cover translated to a good story. A few of my favorite Bookstagrammers swore by it as their favorite book of the year, so I decided to dig in, and I loved it!
It's about a former Hollywood star, "Gay Uncle Patrick" (aka "GUP") and how he becomes the caretaker for his young niece and nephew during one Palm Springs Summer after the death of their ill mother and while their father (his brother) manages addiction. Patrick is also coping with his own grief -- the tragic loss of his beloved boyfriend.
Despite the very heavy subject matter, the tone of this book remains playful and heartwarming, as the unlikely trio share downright funny experiences while also coping with their grief and growing as a family after difficult losses.
It's a unique way to convey a story about grief, and I think that's what makes it so beloved. It really captures the waves of emotions in grief and helps the reader feel not just sorrow but learn how others dealt with a range of emotions after losing someone, yet still having to navigate regular life: work, childcare, etc.
If you want to read a book that makes you feel something, I think you will love The Guncle too.
The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez
Best for fans of modern romantic comedies
Instagram Poll: 69% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
The Happy Ever After Playlist was a "Bookstagram made me do it book" because I don't often read rom-coms. They are generally plot-driven, whereas I prefer character-driven books. I found it to be one of the best beach reads and one of the easiest love stories to recommend as well. It's just SO enjoyable. Two years after Sloan's fiancé dies, she finds an adorable dog ... that just so happens to belong to a rock star on tour.
They speak via telephone about the dog, and as they do, their calls become increasingly more flirty and romance ensues. It's overflowing with song recommendations -- a "playlist" for their love story -- and, just when you think you know where it's headed, the story moves in a different direction. You simply won't be disappointed by this very "happy" book.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Best for fans of Shrek and Harry Potter
Instagram Poll: 72% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
- A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller
- A 2021 Alex Award Winner
- The 2021 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Winner
- An Indie Next Pick
- One of Publishers Weekly's "Most Anticipated Books of Spring 2020"
- One of Book Riot’s “20 Must-Read Feel-Good Fantasies”
The House in the Cerulean Sea is one of the best "Bookstagram made me do it" books that I often saw described as feeling like a "warm hug." I don't often read fantasy, but I was intrigued by this description!
40-year-old Linus leads a solitary life in a tiny house with a devious cat. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he oversees children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When he arrives at Marsyas Island Orphanage, he finds six "dangerous" children: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Their safekeeping caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur. As they unexpectedly grow closer, secrets are exposed, and Linus must choose between destroying a home or watching the world burn.
It's an enchanting story of family with loveable creatures and catchy dialogue reminiscent of Shrek. I also think fans of young adult fantasy books would enjoy it.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Best for fans of time travel
Instagram Poll: 70% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
- New York Times Bestseller
- USA TODAY Bestseller
- National Indie Bestseller
- The Washington Post Bestseller
- #1 Library Reads Pick―October 2020
- #1 Indie Next Pick―October 2020
- Book of the Year (2020) Finalist―Book of The Month Club
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was a "Bookstagram made me do it book" because I'm not big on time travel or fantasy-type books. I'm a realist! But, EVERYONE was talking about Addie as the book of the year, so it piqued my curiosity.
In France 1714, in an act of desperation, Addie bargains to live forever, but she will be forgotten by anyone and everyone she meets.
Thus begins her centuries-long invisible life across history and continents. But, her destiny may change 300 years after her bargain, when she meets a young man in a New York bookstore who remembers her name.
It's exquisitely and lyrically written, complete with artistic illustrations that explore how one "invisible" woman can still leave her mark on the world, making both Addie and this book unforgettable. It definitely lived up to the hype for me.
Hum if You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais
Best for fans of historical fiction
Instagram Poll: 64% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
If it weren't for Bookstagram, I never would have heard of the unforgettable Hum If You Don't Know the Words, nor do I think it would have caught my attention as it did when SO many people were giving it ALL THE STARS.
I thought it was excellent! It takes place in Apartheid South Africa, of which I don't know much and was worried I wouldn't fully understand it, which actually made it a perfect selection for my Around the World reading challenge. I did feel like I learned about that time and place.
A charming ten-year-old White orphaned girl befriends a fifty-year-old Black woman searching for her daughter, amidst a backdrop of violence, loss and severe racial tensions that may tear them apart. These characters are so memorable, with dialogue as nuanced as that of Truman Capote, and a beautiful story of diverse friendship tugs at your heart.
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Best for fans of modern romance fiction
Instagram Poll: 81% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
The Simple Wild was a "Bookstagram made me do it" book because I don't usually enjoy romance novels. I'm very logical and a realist, and they can often feel too idealistic to me. But, I do love books set in Alaska, so I gave it a shot and ended up enjoying it! There was just enough "real life" drama to feel believable to me.
Calla is a single Toronto twentysomething reconnecting with her estranged, and very sick, father in Alaska. While braving the Alaskan wilderness, she meets Jonah, the quiet, brooding Alaskan pilot who runs her father's charter plane company.
Skeptical Jonah doesn't think Calla can "handle" Alaska, but she becomes set on proving him wrong. And as time passes, they develop a bond. But Calla's heart is still in Toronto and Jonah's is in Alaska. Calla also knows her parents' relationship failed in these exact circumstances years prior.
And just like that, the wild is not so simple after all. This book will leave you wanting to read the next books in this beloved series!
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Best for fans of modern romantic comedies
Instagram Poll: 76% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
The Unhoneymooners is another of the "Bookstagram made me do it" books that I normally would not have picked since I generally don't read (or enjoy) rom-coms. I prefer heavier, character-driven novels. But, this one reminded me of everything that was best about the late 90s / early 2000s romantic comedy movies. It's one of the top books I most often recommend because it gets such rave reviews universally.
Olive is an unlucky identical twin sister. Her sister is about to have her dream wedding -- for free. But while Olive spends the wedding day with her enemy, the best man, Ethan, the remainder of the wedding party gets food poisoning, in a truly hilarious sequence of events. What remains is an all-expenses-paid honeymoon the couple cannot attend.
Since it's a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head to Hawaii with each other, planning to spend as little time together as possible. But when Olive runs into her future boss, she tells a white lie and ends up needing Ethan after all -- to pretend to be her new husband. The time they spend together ends up being no so bad. Can you guess where this is headed?
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Best for fans of diverse YA books with a lovable protagonist
Instagram Poll: 83% of voters believed it lived up to the hype
From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award-winning title The Poet X
With the Fire on High was a "Bookstagram Made Me Do It" book simply because it hadn't been on my radar and I wasn't yet familiar with Acevedo (I have now read ALL her books). But, everyone was loving it, and I tend to really enjoy YA books about diverse teens too, so I gave it a shot.
Emoni is a Philadelphia-based teen mom dealing with motherhood and the life-altering decision between college and her cooking passion, all amidst the backdrop of a diverse neighborhood and a trip to Spain. As with many young adult books, her voice is unique, engrossing and refreshing.
With the Fire on High makes you really think about the options available to Emoni and whether she made the right choice. And, for the record, when I posted my own review of With the Fire on High on Instagram, I never saw so many people comment consistently that they either loved the book or were adding it to their list.
For even more, read my full review of With the Fire on High.
Those are the best "Bookstagram made me do it" books that live up to the hype! Do you agree? Would you add anything?