Unparalleled and unprecedented, the rise of TikTok has caught the world by storm, herding millions of followers to the app gradually until it became a global success. It has in all ways surpassed its predecessor, "Musical.ly," offering young minds an opportunity to tap into their creativity, use their voice to raise awareness, and display their talents.
Albeit contributing to some widespread controversies; leading the media and some administrations to invest in discussions regarding its termination, the app has extended some advantages. TikTok has birthed many rising talents, such as teenage creator Charli Damelio, while also accommodating some well-known celebrities, with the likes of singing sensations, Justin Bieber and Jason Derulo allowing viewers some personal glimpses into their carefully hidden lifestyles.
What Is Booktok?
Distancing further away from the mainstream dancing and music content, there is a sanctuary where many book enthusiasts come to seek refuge with fellow literature lovers. 'BookTok' is the label that young readers have titled their haven- a fragment of TikTok so unique and inspiring, where a love of words is the only necessity.
Creators hold the power to influence their followers into reading novels they are fond of, contemporaneously posting some critical reviews of ones they have not enjoyed as much. By watching many become captivated by the same book series, a viewer may feel encouraged to delve into it with them and share in the experience. It is evident that this ‘division’ of ardent bibliophiles has stimulated a colossal reaction from adolescents who seek comfort in a community of shared adoration towards literature.
The Words of a Creator
Passionate reader, ‘Abbysbooks’ believes this unanticipated success “initially spiked from lockdown and the resurgence of reading as a way to pass the time,” allowing young minds to unite as a community as well as “discover new books of all the different genres”. As increased weariness was inevitable, many turned to their own forms of enjoyment, and for 'BookTokers' reading was just that.
The 20-year-old ‘BookToker’ was “overwhelmed by the number of people who seemed to love the recommendations and want her to discuss even more books,” as she had originally planned for no more than a few friends and fellow readers to come across her account. Accumulating almost one hundred and forty thousand followers, ‘Abbysbooks’ is now one of the most recognized names on ‘BookTok’ amassing over four and a half million likes across her entertaining videos.
"The enthusiasm has been extremely genuine and I feel so grateful to be able to share my love for reading with so many people".
‘Abbysbooks’ has noticed that numerous ‘BookTokers’ have been highly affected by their reading that it has resulted in many young people undertaking their own writing projects which they hope may one day be favoured and reviewed amongst the app’s users. Such intriguing characters and enthralling settings will surely encourage any reader to pursue imaginative writing, especially with the additional time on their hands during quarantine which they might use to attempt at creativity. Determined creators have even used the app to share hints and ideas regarding their stories, to interpret the reaction of their viewers, as though they have a direct insight into the market.
"I think a passion for reading will ultimately result in the desire to write something that will inspire people the way countless stories have inspired you."
Follow 'Abbysbooks' for exciting new recommendations: 'Abbysbooks' TikTok
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Fortunately, ‘BookTok’ always has a place that any reader may fill. From novel fanatics to those who have not picked up a book since they walked out of their final exam, the community continues to develop and extend a range of different texts for readers of any level. Talented ‘BookToker’, 'Maddyreads', notes that "there are many recommendations for everyone on the app from contemporary to mystery to high fantasy,". Before the known title ‘Maddyreads’, Maddy the teenager's appetite for fiction originated from Cassandra Clare’s “The Shadowhunter Chronicles” which is highly regarded not only amongst ‘BookTokers’ but also many non-readers, as the novels have been adapted into film, manga and a television series.
"Whether you are frustrated, distheartened, or elated, books can make you feel something."
Being a part of ‘BookTok’ not only entails the creation of reviews and recommendations for viewers, but there are also countless opportunities for followers to discuss with creators regarding their own opinions as “they would strike up a conversation with you almost instantly!”. The community has mixed opinions regarding popular characters and novels which allows for many comedic videos to be made where ‘BookTokers’ are encouraged to light-heartedly argue and debate with each other in the comment section, leading to major fan bases of young readers on the app.
Of course, there are those with minimal reading experience, who have only recently joined the app or taken an interest in novels. Many of these members also take to the comment section to voice their desire to further their reading and many TikTokers rush to advise them on which books they should begin with. Creators are also careful not to reveal too many spoilers in their videos, but the occasional slip-up is merely the result of unreleased, vigorous fanaticism towards their favourite reads.
"In such unprecedented times, its nice to have something constant like books!"
For those who have yet to immerse themselves in the world of reading:
The way to begin a literary journey is to encounter your first source of written admiration- something that urges you to turn the next page. Your age and gender do not define which books you ought to read; a feminist novel may be stereotypically considered to empower only females, but the words within it hold the capacity to impact any reader. From the hopelessness and struggle of recent times, many have returned to reading to escape from boredom and loneliness. For those who yearn for something new and impactful, the best place to start with would be a good book!
Follow 'Maddyreads' to share in her reading experience: 'Maddyreads' TikTok
What Are People Reading?
Fantasy is currently dominating amongst Young Adult readers, offering a form of escapism from the mundanities of the world in which they live. It enables readers to envision alternate realities or societies that do not compare to their own, fascinated by the idea of an otherworldly experience- mental teleportation. Book-lovers have repeatedly voiced their support for series such as “The Folk of the Air” and “A Court of Thorns and Roses”, with most ‘BookTokers’ discussing them across the app.
Specifically, the Dystopian sub-genre seems to have a certain appeal: literature detailing an undesirable, anti-utopia world, characterized by global disasters or tyrannical, totalitarian regimes. Younger minds likely prefer this form of fiction because the protagonist is always a sign of hope and ambition. If this fictional young teenager can create such a monumental change, then why can’t they? Young people wish to have a purpose- reading is providing them with that and more.
"When I was younger, many superhero movies focused only on male heroes and sidelined the women. With many YA books surrounding powerful women, it made me feel empowered." - 'Maddyreads'
It has often been said that this generation will change the world. While this reality may not be as miserable and destructive as the ones that are read about, it is undeniable that there are many flaws in the system and society. Those who find strength in the characters and stories they read about have the potential to fashion their own story and be their own character. To read is not just to understand someone else’s story, but to prepare yourself for your own.
As Harriet Tubman once said:
"You have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world".