Ten Books That Live Up To Their Hype #toptentuesday

September 28, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books That Live Up To Their Hype

10 Books That Live Up to Their Hype (white text on blue background over a background pictures of pink balloons against a blue sky)

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top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl: Top Ten Tuesday: Freebie!

Hype. Does it affect your reading?

My name is Carol, and I suffer from FOMO!

As a consequence, I often read books that are highly hyped. Sometimes this works out OK and other times….well….it leads to disappointment. I wrote this post about Buzz, Hype, and High Expectations here.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is a freebie so I thought I’d revisit a topic I missed: Books That Live Up To Their Hype. All the books on this list I read because of the HYPE. They all lived up to their hype in my opinion. There are so many books I’ve read because of hype that I had to create a runners up list after I reached ten. So this post contains twenty recommendations! (and I could keep going!)

*Titles are Amazon affiliate links.

Ten Books That Live Up To Their Hype

(in no particular order)

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (cover) Image: an astronaut floats in space tethered to a gold and black object

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (audio version)

Genre: science fiction
Andy Weir’s new book has received a great deal of hype because of his previous hit, The Martian. I highly recommend the audio version of PHM. This lived up to the hype because of the story telling and narration. My review of Project Hail Mary here.

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: head shot of a young boy wearing a felt hat and a large feather lies horizontally across his eyes

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Genre: literary fiction, historical literary fiction
Maggie O’Farrell is a popular writer so her new releases receive a great deal of hype. Because this is historical fiction, I hopped aboard the hype train. My review of Hamnet here.

a Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (cover) Image: a young girl casts a sad downward look

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Genre: classic, historical fiction (YA)
This book continues to appear on list after list, so I decided to do a reread to see if it still lives up to the hype. Yes, it does. It’s my favorite book by Betty Smith.

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff (cover)

The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett M. Graff

Genre: nonfiction, U.S. historical event
I put off reading this book for a while because of the emotionally difficult content. However, I’m thankful to have read it and consider it an honor to hear the survivor stories. I’ve heard that the audio version is fabulous. My review of Only Plane in the Sky here. A wonderful companion read is The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede (review coming in November).

Beartown by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a small town set against the mountains and kids playing hockey in the foreground

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Genre: contemporary fiction, drama, sports
I doubt that I’ve created any list that Backman hasn’t been on! Beartown did live up to the hype for me, but the sequel (Us Against You) didn’t have the same appeal (although it was still good)….I’m looking forward to the third in the series (Winners) to be released in 2022. My review of Beartown here.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover) Image: a casual Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Genre: nonfiction, memoir
This was on my TBR quite a while before I read it because I typically avoid celebrity memoirs. By the time I read it, it had received so much hype that I became nervous that it wouldn’t meet my expectations. I love thoughtful memoir and it exceeded my expectations. I’ve heard that the audio version is fabulous. There’s also a YA version. My review of Born a Crime here.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Genre: historical biographical fiction
Despite the hype, this was a book I had to talk myself into reading because of the difficult subject matter. Although it was difficult to read at points (especially his capture), Unbroken exceeded my expectations and I am honored to hear his story. There is a YA version.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Genre: dystopian (YA)
This genre is completely out of my comfort zone, but I didn’t want to miss out on reading it because of all the buzz. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I devoured the three book series during my one week spring break!

eThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak (coer) Image: a sepia tone picture of a hand pushing over a line of dominoes

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Genre: historical fiction (YA)
I’m thrilled to participate in the buzz for this book. It’s on my lifetime favorites list.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Genre: historical fiction
I’m sure you’ve seen this book on a few lists, including some of mine. It’s worthy of the hype. In fact, it’s about time for a reread! My review of Invention of Wings here.

Bonus! Ten Runners Up

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
The River by Peter Heller
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson


What book have you read that lived up to the hype?

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  1. I tend to avoid books that are hyper hyped like the latest Sally Rooney. Good to see Girl With A Louding Voice on your list – was it hyped though? I’d not heard of it and bought it on a whim

    • Well… I admit I jumped on the band wagon early for that one….but it was a Read With Jenna pick and that National tv promotion in the states provided some hype at least for me because I tend to enjoy her picks…..and some of the accounts I follow on Instagram were hyping it. But truthfully I am probably more guilty of creating the hype than falling for it! 😂😂😂 …. it’s probably a book that deserves more hype!

    • Thank you! I’m happy we both enjoyed it! Are you eager for the third one releasing soon? I’m hopping over now to read your post. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Oh this is a good list yes! And agree with all of the ones I have read. I haven’t read Unbroken, but I did read Devil at my heels that was Louis Zamperini’s Memoir.

    I am going to take a look at the ones I haven’t read yet too.

    Happy TTT!

    Elza Reads

    • Thanks Adria! I’m happy to hear we share some favorites! I recently reread Joy in the Morning, Tomorrow Will Be Better, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn…..my fav remains Brooklyn! I’m hopping over to read your post!

  3. I stay away from hyped books, typically, but sometimes, under duress, I come back to them. I completely agree with all the books you have listed, though I still haven’t read Born a Crime or Beartown (really must read these).

    • I think it’s a good idea to wait a while to see if the buzzed books have some staying power! I usually don’t have the will power! 😂😂😂

  4. So many of these are still on my TBR and I’ve heard amazing things about them (especially Hamnet and Backman’s books) but I have read Born A Crime and absolutely loved it. It was my first audiobook and it’s what made me realise that I could actually get through one with a fantastic narrator! 😂Great list!

    • Thanks so much! A great narrator is essential for a good audio book experience! Project Hail Mary is also one with a fabulous narrator if you’re tempted! Happy reading!

  5. I have read all of these and agree with every one. Several are on my best of all time list – Hamnet, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Unbroken and The Only Plane in the Sky (audio version).

  6. Some great books there, Carol. Well chosen. I loved “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, “The Book Thief” and “The Invention of Wings”. “Hamnet” is on my wishlist.

    My TTT is about my favourite Nobel Prize Winners.

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  8. What a great list, Carol. I read 7 on your list, and have A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on my TBR. I have read 5 of your honourable mentions list so that means I have 7 more books to check out.

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