It’s one thing to write a popular novel, but it’s another thing for a novel to hit ‘trending’ status. Whether it’s due to a scandal or strong word-of-mouth, these are the books that create so much online buzz that it drives readers straight to the bookstore. We’re definitely interested in what makes something trend, which is why we’ve rounded up 8 of our favorite ‘trending’ books from 2017:
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman
With 2.6 million follows on Twitter, Gaiman certainly has a large fanbase. So when he announced that he was releasing a new book that dealt with the Norse gods and their stories, his readers went wild. It doesn’t hurt that the book has echoes of American Gods, Gaiman’s modern classic that was turned into a hit 2017 TV adaptation for Starz. On top of all that buzz, Norse Mythology itself is the kind of book you can’t put down: magical and extremely human, despite the god-like stories that fill the pages.
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
Famous for his short stories, Lincoln in the Bardo is Saunders’ very first novel. Fans have been waiting years for Saunders to branch into longer fiction, and it was clearly worth the wait. The Civil War-set story about President Lincoln mourning the death of his son is a No. 1 bestseller and has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
Thomas’ young adult novel about a teen who witnesses a police shooting is vivid, heartbreaking, and topical. It’s also the YA book of the year, remaining in the No. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list for months. It was recently (and very briefly) toppled in a scandal that rocked the YA community, and helped make Thomas’ thoughtful novel trend once again.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan
Despite being published only 5 months ago, Sullivan’s book already has over 10,000 reviews on Amazon and has topped the charts of several different bestseller lists. There’s crazy word-of-mouth buzz around this fictionalized true story about an Italian teen during WWII who ends up spying for the Allies from inside Hitler’s inner circle.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
Award-winning astrophysicist Tyson has become our go-to scientist when it comes to rational thinking and clever tweets. And with 9.8 million Twitter followers, he certainly has a wide audience. His nonfiction book was a huge hit this year, explaining information about the universe in a clear and accessible way.
Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
If Girl on the Train was the biggest thriller of 2015, then Hawkins only topped herself with Into the Water, the obvious thriller hit of 2017. About a series of women who drown in the local river, and an aunt and a teenage girl who find themselves caught up in the mystery of it all, Hawkins’ latest novel definitely delivers on her signature brand of suspense.
Hunger, Roxane Gay
Gay is no stranger to trending books. Her collection of essays, Bad Feminist, was a favorite among readers and critics. Hunger – the story of Gay’s relationship with her body – had the same response, instantly landing on the New York Times bestseller list and resonating with fans everywhere.
Hillbilly Elegy, J. D. Vance
Vance’s politically driven memoir may have come out last year, but it became one of the biggest books of 2017 when readers scooped it up after the shocking presidential election – and started recommending it on Twitter and Facebook. Touted as a way for people to understand how a candidate like Trump could have won, Hillbilly Elegy is a close look at the reality of America’s rural working class. Told through the lens of his own family history, Vance examines what it means both personally and politically to straddle the line between middle and working class.