Popular Books That Lived Up To the Hype

July 31, 2018 Top Ten Tuesday 20

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The meme was originally the brainchild of The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Popular Books That Lived Up To the Hype.


It’s hard to know where to draw the line between run-of-the-mill advance publicity and hype. For this post, I decided to define “hype” as a combination of heavy promotion by the publisher, plus high praise from advance reviewers. I also looked for a “broad appeal” factor: books that were promoted to and/or appealed to a wide audience. This knocked a lot of genre-specific books out of contention, but it definitely helped narrow the field to a manageable number.

The following are books that I really felt live up to the hype they received. Most of them remain popular; one didn’t do as well as I think it deserved. The list is limited because I haven’t been reading very many of the heavily-hyped books recently. For one thing, I’ve gotten rather tired of all the hype surrounding YA fantasy series that sound very similar. For another, there are whole genres I don’t generally read, like thrillers or horror. And in other cases, I’m either waiting for a series to be complete before starting it, or the book or series on my TBR list and I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

If you click on an image, it will take you to my review; if I haven’t yet reviewed the book, it will take you to the book’s Goodreads page. The Harry Potter link takes you to Robin’s 2011 post about the series, written at the age of 16.

In no particular order:



What books would be on your list?

20 Responses to “Popular Books That Lived Up To the Hype”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It’s not that I avoid them because they’re hyped, just… well, maybe that is a teeny part of it, after all. But mostly it’s for the reasons I stated.

  1. Angela

    I LOVE The Night Circus, I never really noticed that much hype around it, though. I’m so glad I finally got over myself and read Harry Potter; those books are among my favorites now.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It got a fair bit of publisher publicity, but much of the hype (if you can call it that) was in the reviews, which were overwhelmingly glowing. I’m glad you read the HP books, too—they’re some of my favorites as well.

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    How did I forget Cinder?? It definitely lived up to the hype! I’m really looking forward to The Night Circus and Uprooted. My library has The Night Circus on audio. I’m thinking about going that route so I’ll actually get to it.

  3. Lark

    I loved Uprooted and the Night Circus, but I think I read them before all the hype. 😀

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I read Uprooted before it came out, but didn’t read the Night Circus (or rather, listen to it) until it had been out for a year or two. Loved them both, though!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I hope you get a chance to read one or two of them. If nothing else, try the Harry Potter books. At this point, they’ve practically become part of the overall culture.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed those. I have to say that besides living up to the hype, most of these rank among my favorite books.

  4. Northwoman

    Uprooted is an all-time favorite. Of course, the Harry Potter series is also. I’ve read the Discovery of Witches. I’m interested in the others but haven’t fit them into my reading yet. Anne – Books of My Heart

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I think I’ve read the All Souls trilogy at least twice, and the first and second book probably four times. (Not because I don’t like the third one as much; it just came out later.) I’m looking forward to her Marcus book coming out in a month or two: Time’s Convert.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It’s an amazing series. It will be interesting to see if it becomes a classic over time, or falls out of favor at some point. For now, 20+ years in, it’s still going strong, and I’m pretty sure the kids who grew up on it will share it with their kids.

  5. Charlie @ Girl of 1000 Wonders

    I didn’t participate in this week’s topic because I avoid hype 1000%. The reasons you listed for moving away from YA fantasy is how I feel about all YA. So I don’t really read it. I did read Harry Potter – after I graduated college. I will say that is my one big reading regret, as the books were published as I was growing up.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I still read read some YA fantasy, but I’ve become more selective, and tend (with some exceptions) to wait until a series is well-established and has lots of reviews to help me judge whether I want to read it, rather than just going by the initial hype. There are exceptions, most of them authors I’ve read before. I’ll read anything written by Naomi Novik, for example—and I wish I knew what name she writes fanfic under, because I’d read that, too. Tamora Pierce is another author I’ll read without question.

      I was an adult when the Harry Potter books were published, but I loved them, and got to see what it was like to grow up with them through Robin. I think they have a pretty universal appeal!