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Finding the best books you can’t put down is perhaps the biggest quest of any reader, and, based on my own reading experience, these are these are the most utterly unputdownable books that will fuel your reading habit.

They’re all page-turners simply bound to completely immerse you!

woman peeking out from behind a book.

For each of the best books you can’t put down, I tell you exactly why I couldn’t put them down and what they are about, so you can decide if they sound like unputdownable books to you too. The list is varied, and not just thrillers! It also includes historical fiction, Young Adult novels, rom-coms, and more.

Top 3

TOP PICKS

The Hate U Give: The characters are utterly realistic and unforgettable, and you get completely immersed in their lives.

The Last Thing He Told Me: It starts right in the middle of things, and then keeps your heart pounding throughout the chase for the truth.

Verity: All of Hoover’s books move quickly, but this one in particular is so shocking in nature that it’s one of the best books you can’t put down. I read it over the course of one plane ride!

Quick List

First, if you’re extra curious or in a rush, below is a quick, shoppable list of all the books that made the list.

  1. And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton
  2. Cover Story by Susan Rigetti
  3. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
  4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  6. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  7. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
  8. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
  9. Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
  10. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  11. Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank
  12. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  13. The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
  14. When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff
  15. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

Best Books You Can’t Put Down (Unputdownable Books)

And They Called It Camelot by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s an extremely salacious look into the private lives of political celebrities. You’ll want to pair it with popcorn! At one point I texted my sister, “I can’t stop reading this!”

You thought you knew Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. So did I. And They Called It Camelot is a deep dive narrative that offers a much more intimate portrait into her life, from her meeting with JFK and their wedding to their family, medical, and marital problems, as well as his assassination and beyond. And it’s as juicy as a soap opera.


Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a fast-paced story of a fraudulent con woman and the hunt to stop her, with a jaw-dropping ending.

I read Cover Story because it was advertised as a mix of Inventing Anna, The Dropout, and Catch Me If You Can — three things I loved! It follows the diary entries of a naive young woman who becomes a ghostwriter for a glamorous daughter of a foreign mogul living at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

But behind all the money is a trail of lies, fraud, and stolen identities. I flew through it in 24 hours and was left questioning everything I just read.

Related Post: Best Books About Con Artists


Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a short play, and the Audible version is exquisitely narrated by the incomparable James Earl Jones and Angela Lansbury.

Driving Miss Daisy is the story of the complicated, yet beautiful friendship between an elderly Jewish woman and her Black driver in mid-century Atlanta over the course of two decades. It’s on the Rory Gilmore book list as well!


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • USA Today Book of the Year

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a suspenseful thriller in which you don’t know whether you can trust the narrator. I still remember sitting on the edge of my seat with thing one.

In The Girl on the Train, an alcoholic woman sees a perfect young couple on their porch, outside the train windows, each day. Then, she sees something shocking and becomes entangled in their lives.


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

  • #1 New York Times bestseller
  • Named one of the most influential books of the decade by CNN
  • Named one of Time’s ten best fiction books of the decade
  • Named one of Entertainment Weekly’s best books of the decade
  • Named one of the ten best books of the year by The New York Times, People, Entertainment Weekly, O: The Oprah Magazine, Slate, Kansas City Star, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s the original of the best books you can’t put down, a shocking thriller, with chapter endings that leave you gasping and wanting more.

If you haven’t already read Gone Girl, it is one wild ride, unlike any other book you’ve read. Beloved Amy has gone missing, and her husband is the prime suspect. As the evidence comes in, it all points to him… or does it? There are shocking twists and depravity the likes of which you haven’t seen before in this shocking thriller book.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  • 8 starred reviews
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best
  • William C. Morris Award Winner
  • National Book Award Longlist
  • Printz Honor Book
  • Coretta Scott King Honor Book
  • #1 New York Times bestseller

Why I couldn’t put this book down: The characters are utterly realistic and unforgettable, and you get completely immersed in their lives.

The Hate U Give exquisitely explores the death of a young unarmed Black man at the hands of a cop through the eyes of the charming teenager Starr, who lives in two worlds — her diverse neighborhood and her cookie-cutter private school. She comes of age as she relies on her family to cope with witnessing the tragedy.

The dialogue is so riveting and the characters so multi-dimensional that I actually felt like I was watching a movie while reading this “Black Lives Matter” book.


The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It starts right in the middle of things, and then keeps your heart pounding throughout the chase for the truth.

The Last Thing He Told Me is a book I read in one day and ranks amongst the best of Reese’s selections!

A seemingly loving husband disappears into thin air one day with but a short note to his new wife: “Protect her” — his 16-year-old, unfriendly teenage daughter. Then, his boss is arrested very publicly for fraud, and the FBI arrives at their home with questions.

At this moment, she begins to question whether her husband is who he claims to be. As she and her stepdaughter head across the country, they face both uncovering the past and creating a very different future for themselves.

It’s chock full of intrigue and suspense, while also sharing the meaning of family, and you will never guess what’s behind the mystery. What more could you want from an unputdownable read?!

Related Post: Discussion Questions for The Last Thing He Told Me


The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a tearjerker in which you become invested in the couple and yearn to know what becomes of them after years apart. I remember listening in my car in tears just hoping to get to the end before I got to my destination.

In The Light We Lost, Lucy and Gabe meet in college on September 11, 2001, and share a memorable love, but life ultimately pulls them in different directions. Yet, their story continues for over a decade as space cannot keep them out of each other’s hearts. And how it all ends is surprising and unforgettable.


Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostPeopleEntertainment WeeklyUSA TodayTIME, The A.V. Club, Buzzfeed, and PopSugar
  • Read with Jenna book club pick

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a really unique premise, but it’s written in a very contemporary way that makes you want to binge-read it. (I did — in one day!)

In Nothing to See Here, Lillian gets a letter from an old college friend begging her to care for her twin stepchildren. There’s a very unlikely catch — the twins burst into flames whenever they are agitated. Lillian learns to form bonds with the twins and meet their needs in this humorous, powerful, and unique story about parenting.


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award!

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s a Young Adult book and it’s a novel written in lyrical form, so it keeps you moving fast and turning the pages.

In The Poet X, Xiomara feels unheard in her Harlem neighborhood since she became a teen. So, she pours her heart onto the pages of a notebook and recites the words.

Her Mami pressures her to obey the laws of the church, but she refuses to be silent when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club.


Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank

Why I couldn’t put this book down: It’s extremely light and engaging, with Southern charm that makes you smile and want more. It’s like a Hallmark movie!

Beekeeper Holly lives on Sullivans Island with her mother, “Queen Bee.” She escapes by spending time with the two young boys next door and their widowed father, Archie.

When her flamboyant sister returns home, they fixate on the handsome neighbor, and what results is a hilarious and theatrical spiral downward. What’s left at the end of the day is the love of family.


Verity by Colleen Hoover

Why I couldn’t put this book down: All of Hoover’s books move quickly, but this one in particular is so shocking in nature that it’s one of the best books you can’t put down. I read it over the course of one plane ride!

Verity is an author injured in a car accident, and struggling writer Lowen agrees to finish her books. But when she begins to sift through Verity’s notes and study her demeanor, something feels…off.

Trust me, that’s only the beginning of this jaw-dropping roller coaster ride. The most common reaction to this book I hear is simply, “OMG!”

Related Post: Books Like Verity | Book Club Questions for Verity


The Villa by Rachel Hawkins

Instant New York Times bestseller

Why I couldn’t put this book down: Like I did with Verity, I read this book in one day! It’s quick, yet fully developed and extremely twisty, both in the past and present storylines, making you want to keep reading.

In The Villa, Emily and Chess are thirtysomething writers with a strained friendship, who reunite for a trip to Italy.

Back in 1974, their villa was rented by a famous rockstar, who invited a musician to stay there with his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s stepsister. One ended up writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, one composed a platinum album, and one was brutally murdered.

As Emily dives into the villa’s storied past, she also finds herself at odds with Emily. When secrets and betrayals are revealed, the past threatens to repeat itself.

Interestingly, this book is inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the famous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle, where Frankenstein was born.


When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff

Why I couldn’t put this book down: The courtroom trial setting, mixed with the way more disturbing secrets are slowly revealed like the layer of an onion keep you guessing and wanting more.

When We Were Bright and Beautiful is a dark family drama I picked up after hearing so many people say they couldn’t put it down. And… neither could I.

When the college student son of a well-to-do family is put on trial for rape, his adopted sibling Cassie narrates the courtroom drama, as confusing questions about whether her brother did it permeate her mind.

(Please note this may be triggering given its sexual assault content.)

In the suspenseful process of learning whether he will be found guilty or not guilty, extremely dark family secrets are also revealed, putting everything into perspective and leaving the reader with A LOT to unpack about the storyline and the characters.


The Woman in Me by Britney Spears

Why I couldn’t put this book down: Fans of Britney Spears like myself have waited decades to hear her version of the events of her tumultuous life, so I couldn’t help but binge-read all of Britney’s shocking revelations in one sitting.

The Woman in Me is pop star Britney Spears’s memoir revealing the impact that fame and generation trauma had on her life. She gets extremely candid about many topics, most notably her relationship with Justin Timberlake (who’s referenced nearly as much as her family), as well as her conservatorship and every other notorious moment of her very public life.

Is it worth it? 100%. Even if you already know the most shocking details she reveals, there’s definitely a lot more to the massively bestselling book, and reading it in full makes a lot of things “make sense” about her life.

Related Post: Book Club Questions for The Woman in Me

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a book you can’t put down?

Readers commonly call books you can’t put down “unputdownable” and/or “page-turners.”

What makes a book hard to put down?

Some common components that make books hard to put down are being plot-driven, suspenseful, shocking, short in length, and having many cliffhangers.

Conclusion

The best books you can’t put down are exactly that. All of these unputdownable books will keep you turning the pages as fast as possible and indulging in an immersive escape.

SHOP THE POST

To recap and help you decide what to read first or next, my top picks are:

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3 Comments

  1. thank you for the quick list. While I can go through and see books I like the list for when I am shopping. thanks for all your recommendations.