TikTok’s most controversial author

TikToks most controversial author

For years, the book publishing industry looked as though it was on the verge of going under, with bookstores closing in waves and printed novels slowing in production. In an unexpected turn of events, reading and book buying has recently made its comeback due in part to TikTok, an entertainment app, popularizing reading amongst teenagers and pushing certain books into the spotlight. Author Colleen Hoover’s novels are possibly the most successful on the app; however, Hoover has recently received much criticism from readers claiming that her stories glorify toxic relationships. 

“The formerly self-published American author has more than 20 books that feature abuse, or toxic men, at the center of their plot lines. In most stories, such behavior is overlooked and depicted as romantic or desirable,” The Straits Times said. 

Hoover’s books gained their initial popularity on TikTok for being heartbreaking yet addicting romance stories that were well-known primarily amongst teenage girls. The biggest draw is seemingly the stories’ easy readability that allows for a larger audience to consume them. For this reason, many credit Hoover’s novels for sparking their interests in reading. However, the simple, easy-to-read writing style caused the books to often be marketed and shelved as young adult (age range 12–18) novels despite being categorized as adult and containing mature themes. The issue many take with this marketing mishap is the fear that the often-controversial relationships within the books are being distributed to an impressionable audience and possibly giving harmful relationship expectations. 

“Her books sparked my love for reading, and I will always love them for that,” Sami Noyes, senior, said.  

From being developed into a movie to spending weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, “It Ends with Us” is undoubtedly Hoover’s most popular novel. While it is often considered one of her better-written and more ‘serious’ works, the bestselling novel is not without its own controversy. Many readers are quick to point out that, despite the story being a commentary on domestic violence, it is often placed in the young adult or romance section, giving many buyers the wrong impression of the central relationship in the story. The dispute got even more heated after Hoover and her publisher announced that scenes from the novel were to be made into a coloring book. Though the production on the coloring book was quickly halted and Hoover issued a swift apology, many still claim that Hoover and the marketing team behind her novels do not take the content of her books seriously.  

“The constant abuse she puts in her books [is] really unsettling. Not to mention in every book it is presented differently, and she uses her own experience to justify it. Abuse does not equal character development,” Kirsten Effner, junior, said.  

Regardless of the discourse, Hoover continues to dominate the book publishing industry, with her novels taking up four out of the top five spots on the New York Times bestseller list.