Prepared to be swept away into these fascinating books you can’t put down. Just make sure you don’t have anything important going on the next day, because these are 19 gripping books that will keep you up all night long.
I’ve read more than my fair share of books that are hard to put down. Many a time I’ve stayed up way too late reading a captivating book. It’s like the author cast a spell on me. I can’t look away.
The mere fact that these books you can’t put down exist, teach you that they must be really good books. The author has done his job. He has made you completely invested in these characters and this story.
So if you are prepared to lose some sleep, here are 19 books you can’t put down once you begin.
The Best Page Turners
For some reason, I had low expectations for this Swedish thriller, so I was caught off guard when the entire series turned out to be the type of books you can’t put down. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist takes on the investigation into the 40 year old disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the teenage daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. He teams up with Lisbeth Slander, a pierced and tattooed hacker whose troubled past has left her with a capacity for ruthlessness. It really is a thrilling read, but, be warned, there is quite a lot of violence and language. Read more →
Truman Capote was the founder of narrative nonfiction with his thrilling look at an unspeakable crime. On November 15, 1959, in the small farming town of Holcomb, Kansas, two men brutally murder the Clutter family in their home for no apparent reason. Through extensive interviews from the first days following the events all the way to the execution of the murderers, Capote suspensefully unfolds the whole story of exactly what happened and more intriguing of all, why it happened. Make sure you set aside a chunk of time to read this one because, I promise, once you start you won’t be able to put this captivating book down. Read more →
A private jet flying from Martha’s Vineyard to New York City crashes into the ocean. The sole survivors are a young boy who is now the sole heir of his parents’ extensive fortune and Scott Burroughs, a down-and-out painter who just happened to catch a ride. The mystery of why the plane crashed unfolds masterfully and definitely keeps you engaged. But the beauty of this book is that it is more than just a thriller. It’s a commentary on the consequences of our 24-hour news cycle and the desperate need to know everything right away. With its suspenseful build, this is surely the perfect example for books you can’t put down. Read more →
Mysteries are the perfect books that keep you up all night, and Tana French’s debut thriller is no exception. In the summer of 1984, four children go out to the woods to play but only one returns. With no memory of what happened to the other children that day, the lone survivor Rob Roy grows up to become a detective, seeking to right what wrongs he can. When he and his partner investigate a case eerily similar to what happened to him so long ago, Rob’s memories start to return. Will this case lead him to solving his own mystery? Or will his memories blind him to the truth of this case?
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Really Good Books That Are Hard to Put Down
Set in 1970s Ohio, Celeste Ng’s debut novel starts with the drowning of Lydia, the beloved daughter of James and Marilyn Lee. As the family struggles with her death, the author takes you deeper into the cracks and flaws of this mixed race family. This captivating book is a poignant character study into the dynamics of a family where all the parents’ unfulfilled hopes are pinned on one child, to the detriment of all. The story unfolds masterfully and earns Ng her place among books you can’t put down. By the end, I was in tears for these poor children and the damage that had been done by their parents’ selfishness. Celeste Ng’s writing is exquisite, and I’m putting her second book, Little Fires Everywhere, at the top of my to-read list.
Our grandfather was a paraplegic, so this book hit close to home for me. I was in tears at the story of Will Traynor, a heartbroken man who felt he had nothing left to live for after being paralyzed, not fully understanding that there is always something more. Hired to help care for Will is a scared young lady who has settled for a very ordinary life. Through their friendship, Will brings meaning into Louisa’s life and gets her to reach beyond what she thought she was capable of. In return, Louisa tries to bring meaning back into Will’s life, before it’s too late. I promise, this one will definitely make you cry and is one of those memorable books that keep you up all night. Read more →
Really good books can take a diverse group of people and interconnect them together in completely unforseen ways. Dan Chaon exactly achieves this with three strangers in his captivating book: Miles on an endless search for his missing schizophrenic twin brother, Lucy who runs away with her former high school teacher, and Ryan who just decides to walk away from it all. How much is our identity tied into who we are and how easily can we change it? Await Your Reply is one of those books that are hard to put down because every chapter keeps you wanting more. Read more →
I was surprised that Paula Hawkins second book, Into the Water, was one of the most overhyped books I read last year because I absolutely loved The Girl on the Train. Taking the same train to work every day, Rachel is fascinated by a woman who lives along her route. Everyday, Rachel gets a glimpse into this woman’s “perfect” life. Until one day, when Rachel witnesses something shocking. I think unreliable narrators like Rachel make for the best page turners because you can never figure out what is true and what is not. Love it or hate it, The Girl on the Train is definitely one of those books you can’t put down no matter how hard you try. Read more →
Historical Fiction Books That Keep You Up All Night
I have loved every Kate Morton book I’ve read, and this one is simply brilliant. It all starts when sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses her mother Dorothy stab a man to death on a calm summer day. If that doesn’t get your interest piqued, I don’t know what will. Kate Morton beautifully unfolds the backstory of Dorothy’s life during World War II. The more you learn about Dorothy, the more you’ll keep wanting more. If you love figuring out the twists and turns of novels, you’ll love this book. I, for one, did not guess the ending.
If you want to find a list of books you can’t put down, then look no further. I read this book cover-to-cover on a 3-hour flight and absolutely loved it. Historical fiction can be so much fun to read when you feel immersed in the time period. In her stunning first novel, Sara Nović tells the story of Ana Jurić, a ten-year-old girl whose life is upended by the start of the Yugoslavian civil war. The glimpses of modern war from a child’s perspective were fascinating. Yet, Nović doesn’t just cover the tragedies of Ana’s childhood. She jumps ahead 10 years as Ana returns to Yugoslavia to confront the ghosts of her childhood. With beautiful observations and a riveting storyline, you’ll be glad you read this book.
Kristin Hannah’s novel is one that would make pretty much anyone fall in love with historical fiction. Also, I think World War II novels tend to naturally be the type of books you can’t put down. Set in a small village in occupied France, the story centers around two sisters. Forced to house a German officer in her home, the older sister Vianne Mauriac must decide, in order to protect her daughter, where exactly she should draw the line of being complicit with German demands. On the other hand, her younger sister Isabelle Rossignol feels committed to do anything she can to resist the German occupation. Just so you know, her latest novel, The Great Alone, is also amazing!
I can’t recommend this book enough. Actually, I even listed it as one of the top 10 World War 2 books out there. You’ll find yourself immersed in a world of intrigue with the story British spy, Agent “Verity.” Captured when her plane crashes in occupied France, Verity is interrogated by the Gestapo in an attempt to learn of her mission. As she confesses under torture, you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering what secrets she is willing to exchange for her life. How far is she willing to go for her mission? A brilliant and emotional read that you won’t want to miss. Just be prepared to lose some sleep because this is definitely a prime example of books you can’t put down once you begin.
Gripping Novels in Young Adult Fiction
When books that make you cry are the same books you can’t put down, you know you are in trouble. Originally, I saw this movie at a drive-in theater, and I immediately knew I had to read the book. In an moment, Mia’s world is turned upside down when her entire family is involved in a car accident. Mia’s emotions of watching her world change in an instance hit me particularly hard. As Mia decides whether life is worth living if her family might not be there with her, it made me wonder what I would do without my family. Of course, being a mother, just the thought of living without my family always brings me to tears. A great and emotional read.
You will have to settle for a vague description for this captivating book because I don’t dare risk spoiling it for you. A rich family vacations every summer on a private island. Four friends, known as the Liars, spend every summer together as their parents experience all the drama. After a terrible accident last summer, everything seems to be different. As the protagonist Cadence slowly starts regaining her memory and all the details of what happened start becoming clear, half the fun is in trying to figure out what is going on. I really enjoyed trying to piece the mystery of this book together. Besides informing you that once you begin this is one of those books you can’t put down, all I can say is that at some point, this becomes a book will make you cry. But that is all the spoiler you will get from me. Read more →
The seven books in the Harry Potter Series are the ultimate books you can’t put down. J. K. Rowling’s masterpiece about the boy wizard Harry brings the ultimate theme of literature – the battle of good versus evil – to life with vivid imagery and fantastic imagination. You get so caught up in Rowling’s fantasy world that the books are hard to put down. The series basically defines the millennial generation and will be around for generations to come.
In a future where humanity is at war with an alien enemy determined to destroy life on Earth, Ender Wiggin is a third child in a family of extraordinarily gifted children. Sent off to battle school at only six years old, Ender with his perfect mix of compassion and ruthlessness is forced to become the military genius humanity so desperately needs. Ender’s Game is an amazing novel – not only thrilling enough to intrigue teenage boys who never read but also so packed with layer upon layer of complex themes and deeper meanings to make you want to read it again and again.
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Sci Fi/Fantasy Books You Can’t Put Down
Astronaut Mark Watney wakes up to find himself marooned on the planet Mars, left for dead by the crew of the Ares 3 mission. Now, he must use all his ingenuity to overcome insurmountable odds for the chance to return back home to Earth. I love how Weir uses real science and technology in this captivating book. To be honest, I almost didn’t read this book because the strong language at the beginning of the book really turned me off. In fact, I’d have to say it’s one of the best sci fi books out there, and one of the most thrilling I’ve read in recent years – which is saying a lot considering how much I read.
If you like science fiction books you can’t put down, then Station Eleven will be just right for you. Just so you know, it’s not the aliens and space ship variety of science fiction, but a story set in a dystopian future. Though, it’s set after an apocalypse, it’s not really about the apocalypse, either. This captivating book grabs your attention not for its plot twists but for its themes. It’s hard to adequately describe to you its power and beauty. So you’ll just have to read it for yourself.
Do you like to read books you can’t put down? What books have kept you up all night?