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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hodgson

5 Books I Read Because of Bookstagram

One of the things I love the most about the bookstagram community is that it makes me so much more aware of books that I might not otherwise hear about. Over the last year, I’ve read such a wide variety of books and I do love getting recommendations from fellow bookstagrammers.

‘Bookstagram made me do it’ posts are fairly frequent, but I prefer to think of it as ‘bookstagram inspired me to do it’ because that sounds a little less aggressive! I always take it as a good omen when a lot of the accounts I follow post positive reviews on books I want to read, but, at the same time, I hope no one ever feels pressure to read a particular book at a particular time. Remember there are people reading Dickens, Hardy, and Austen for the first time every day and they were published a long time ago!

So, here are 5 books that I have been inspired to pick up and read because I’ve seen them on bookstagram:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This was one of my first ‘bookstagram made me inspired me to do it’ books when I joined the community. It felt like everyone was talking about it! I loved the idea of reading a book that was so topical as it is set in the election year of 2020. It is really a classic enemies to lovers story between our principal characters First Son of the United States Alex and the English Prince Henry, and the writing style was slick, funny and easy to read.

As a huge fan of our royal family, I found the portrayal of the story’s royals less than flattering and a little on the nose in places , but the parallels are generally playful so I didn’t let that get in the way of my enjoyment!

This is a story full of hope, joy and dreams for a better future society and my absolute FAVOURITE part (minor spoiler alert!) was the moment with the Star Wars graffiti.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I am a fan of the fantasy genre but have never really come across the Grishaverse before bookstagram. I had seen the collector’s editions of the Six of Crows duology all over and picked up the Shadow and Bone collector’s edition when it came out last year to finally dip my toe into this world I had read so much about. It has sat on my shelf for a little while but the news that the Netflix adaptation was starting in April inspired me to actually pick it up and WOW. I loved it. I read it in about 2 days and have immediately ordered the rest of the trilogy. (I am already stressed about the fact that they do not match the edition of Shadow and Bone I have though. Yes, I like my covers to match.)

This book is a masterclass in world-building and I was drawn into the realm of Ravka and its First and Second (magical) Armies very quickly. We follow the story of Alina, who is a cartographer in the First Army before a confrontation with a terrifying beast ensures no one will ever look at her in quite the same way ever again…

I am honestly grateful for everyone on bookstagram who told me I should read this book!

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

This was one of the most talked about books on bookstagram last year, and possibly one of the most controversial. It follows the story of Vanessa who, at 15, had a relationship with a teacher almost 30 years her senior.

There are some very distressing themes in this book, and I urge all readers to really consider the content warnings before reading it. That being said, if you do read it, the writing is powerful and thought-provoking and I do consider it a very worthwhile read. I actually wrote a longer review on this book a couple of weeks ago on the blog. The book came out in paperback in the UK about a month ago so it has been all over bookstagram again! If you want to read my thoughts on My Dark Vanessa in more depth, then please do go back and check out the post.

Witch by Finbar Hawkins

Whilst this book may not have been splashed wall to wall across bookstagram when it came out last year, a few of my favourite accounts did post about it which planted it firmly on my radar.

I picked up a copy and it was the perfect read for the autumnal spooky season! The story takes place during the English Civil War and we follow Evey who, along with her younger sister, Dill, watched their mother be taken and killed by witch hunters.

This is a story of witchcraft, sisterhood and revenge, and it was one of the most beautiful books I read last year. The writing style is free-flowing and lyrical and the story unfolds at quite a pace; I was gripped by it throughout. I read Witch very quickly and I can see it becoming a classic and a firm favourite for young and old readers alike.

Wonderland by Juno Dawson

This was one of the trippiest books I’ve read in a long time! Juno Dawson’s Alice in Wonderland retelling brings the story right into the twenty-first century and it works very well.

Alice is looking for her missing friend Bunny and her search brings her to the wild and exclusive party weekender Wonderland which is strictly for the rich elite.

Some of the references to the original story were a little in your face, but overall the original themes of growing up, social standing and identity are all still present and explored here in a thoroughly modern way. And it works. The frantic madness of Carroll’s original is not lost either, and I was very thankful for that as it is one of my favourite stories from childhood.

I would include some content warnings including self-harm, drug abuse and attempted sexual assault so please be aware but this is another book I would really recommend you try, especially if you love Alice re-tellings!

So there we have it: 5 books I read because of bookstagram. Which books have you been inspired to pick up because you saw them on social media?


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