What's the "It" Book of 2014?

Posted by Suzanne on October 30, 2014
In 2013, it was arguably The Goldfinch.

In 2012? Gone Girl, for sure.

"It" books. They're the ones that we pass along, that we hope our friends have read so that we can discuss and debate. Love them or hate them, we can't stop talking about them!

So we had to find out: What is this year's "It" book?

The best part of being book nerds here at Goodreads is that we have the data to answer these sorts of questions!

We set a few limitations:

  • To account for the fact that interest statistically skews high in the first couple of months after publication, we only looked at books published between January and August.
  • To ensure that we identified the books with the most sustained buzz, we looked at the average number of searches per month.
  • To ensure that we weren't just seeing books that were benefiting from being part of a popular series, we only looked at standalone titles.

From there, we looked at the most-searched books on Goodreads and, after much number crunching, here's the top "It" book candidate for 2014 … so far!

We Were Liars by 2008 National Book Award finalist, E. Lockhart, reminds us a little of Gone Girl (the "It" book for 2012). With an unreliable narrator and a story full of secrets, it's a book that you can only discuss with people who have already read it! Goodreads member, Giselle, describes it as "an incredible, heartbreaking read that really messes with your mind until the very end."

Of course, the year is not yet over and there are several other contenders for the crown!

Fresh off her success with Best Young Adult Fiction in last year's Goodreads Choice Awards, Rainbow Rowell switched to a more adult theme for Landline – a story about a marriage in trouble. Goodreads member, Ariel, says "This was a really different read, and I realized when finishing it that a big part of that is because it is NOT Young Adult. The cover looks it, Rainbow Rowell writes young adult, but this is adult and it shows. It's darker, it's more realistic, and it's less idealistic. And that's not bad at all, but it's sadder. The book started off harsher and the pay off wasn't as extravagant. All of that in mind, this book was wonderful."

According to Anthony Doerr, the title of his book, All the Light We Cannot See, "is a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried in World War II." Shortlisted for the 2014 National Book Awards, it follows the lives of a young, blind French girl and a young German soldier. Goodreads member, LeeAnne, says, "This book has the most hauntingly beautiful prose I've ever read. It is brimming with rich details that fill all five senses simultaneously. It is full of beautiful metaphors that paint gorgeous images. I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down."

Continuing with the theme of lies that runs through several of the other contenders this year, Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty somehow manages to make you laugh out loud while dealing with some very serious issues. Goodreads member, Nancy, says "Liane Moriarty has done it again – written a book that kept me up way too late because I couldn't put it down. She has a knack for creating characters who are so believable they could easily be someone you know. Big Little Lies is a story of parents acting badly. It is also a smart and witty story about the real lives of children, teens, friends, husbands, wives, second wives, and exes. … Along the way you discover some of the dangerous little lies that people tell just to be able to face the day."

And, finally, a shout out goes to a book that came out in January but just keeps on going strong in searches on Goodreads:

Being selected as an Oprah's Book Club pick clearly gave The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd a major push early on, but this book has continued to stay in our top searches month after month thanks to a high average rating of 4.23 stars. In some ways, this has the makings of another The Help, which stayed on the bestseller lists for years. Goodreads member, Britany, says "I was not expecting this book to grab my heartstrings and pull the way it did. It was unexpected, fresh, and interesting. I literally read this book in two sittings and wasn't ready for it to end when it did."

Any other contenders? We're so glad you asked. Out of the books published in September, these four are off to an amazing start in searches on Goodreads:

Looking for more ideas? We'll get an even clearer answer about the best books of 2014 with this year's Goodreads Choice Awards. Voting opens on Monday, November 3rd and we're looking forward to seeing which books you loved the most this year!

Which book is the "It" book of 2014 for you and your friends?

Comments Showing 1-50 of 346 (346 new)

message 1: by Claudia (new)

Claudia The Goldfinch won a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction!

message 2: by Aryan (new)

Aryan Rebecca ♥ Matrim, Kishan, Warner ♥ wrote: "Never even heard of The Goldfish till now, and of my 800 friends only 2 have read it. So I would say that is quite arguable."

I too have never heard of a book called 'The Goldfish.' A Nursery rhyme book, maybe? /s

message 3: by Aryan (new)

Aryan Vicki wrote: "The Goldfinch is good, but it certainly is not epic, apart from the length. There is a very pretentious undertone in that book which stopped me from rating it."

I guess that's a problem that every book has to go through. Though not epic, it was certainly of epic proportions.

message 4: by Wafa (new)

Wafa why I haven't heard about The Goldfinch ?

message 5: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Andrew's Bookish Rule of Thumb: If Oprah or Richard & Judy recommend it highly...avoid

message 6: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey Divergent or The fault in out stars

message 7: by Lotte (new)

Lotte The Fault in our Stars

message 8: by John (new)

John Tejas wrote: "I have only read Gone Girl and I think it is pretty "it.""

Gone Girl is the only book I've ever read, where I finished it not caring what happened to any of the characters, and thought they got what was coming to them. I'm still not entirely sure of why it's so popular.

message 9: by Patsy (new)

Patsy Read Goodreads once in a while and the best seller list and you will hesr of these books.

message 10: by Jo (new)

Jo Rushby Big Little Lies by author:Liane Moriarty

message 11: by Nachiketa (new)

Nachiketa According to me, "All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr"

message 12: by Jo (new)

Jo Rushby THE INVENTION OF WINGs by Sue Monk Kidd

message 13: by Lee (last edited Oct 30, 2014 05:45AM) (new)

Lee Patsy wrote: "Read Goodreads once in a while and the best seller list and you will hesr of these books."

Not trying to be in any way insulting, but I agree, it's hard to believe a fiction reader who is a member of goodreads has no awareness at all of the Goldfinch. It was prominently featured on Amazon and any number of reading/book sites and publications, won the Pulitzer for fiction as someone mentioned, etc. I don't know about the "it" book of 2013, but certainly one of the more prominent titles. And in my opinion, an absolute masterpiece.

message 14: by Daryl (new)

Daryl Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas.

message 15: by Sparrowlicious (new)

Sparrowlicious Never heard of any of these books.

message 16: by Natalia (new)

Natalia Whar about the published more recently? I thin Patrick Ruthfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things could be an option...

message 17: by Iset (new)

Iset I heard The Luminaries was the "It" book of 2013.

message 18: by Em (new)

Em We Were Liars is definitely an "It" book! I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! It's definitely nice to see two YA books (that I recognise anyway) on this list :)

message 19: by Mel (new)

Mel I've read 3 of the 5 "it" books -- Landline, We Were Liars, and Invention of Wings -- they were all excellent! I have Big Little Lies and All the Light we Cannot See on my TBR shelf.

message 20: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey My guesses:

"All the Light We Cannot See"

"The Bone Clocks"

"The Enchanted"

"In the Kingdom of Ice"

"The Back of the Turtle"

"Red Rising"

message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna I read Gone Girl and I think it was pretty stupid.

message 22: by Branden (new)

Branden Meyers You're missing Snow Like Ashes.

message 23: by Grace (new)

Grace Hertz Curse Girl By Kate Avery Ellison

message 24: by irene (last edited Oct 30, 2014 06:13AM) (new)

irene I have such a large list of TBR books and all of these are on my list...sadly so far i have only read Big Little Liars....which was a great, compacted and convoluted read....anything by liane moriarity is guaranteed a wonderful literary escape......I have to say I have read Ihe Vacationers by Emma Straub and am surprised it did not make the list.....i am hoping to get through this list before 2015......

message 25: by Grace (new)

Grace Hertz Skinny By Donna Cooner

message 26: by Grace (last edited Oct 30, 2014 06:12AM) (new)

Grace Hertz The Originals By Cat Patrick

message 27: by Steffi (new)

Steffi I have only read "We were liars", found it pretty boring.

message 28: by Grace (new)

Grace Hertz Deep and Dark and Dangerous By Mary Downing Hahn

message 29: by Emily (new)

Emily As I was reading this I was thinking We Were Liars and then I scroll down and see it's first on the list!

message 30: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Huether I have only read Sue Monk Kidd's book " The invention of Wings" It was my favorite book of 2014 By Sharon

message 31: by Becca (new)

Becca I am not a big fan of "it" books. But I have read We Were Liars, which was overhyped. There's no reason not to know anything about it. Gone Girl I was not a fan of either. From what I hear, Landline was a disappointment. So I am not sure what the "it" book would be.

message 32: by Noura (new)

Noura "We Were Liars", in my review I wrote that I couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it, but for sure I won't forget this book ever. I cried the whole time and that made me hate it, and I was dying to know if my guesses were right.

but I won't read it again, NEVER :'(

message 33: by Donna (new)

Donna Bijas Personally, All the Light You Cannot See is the best of those I read that you posted (all but one). Have to say that I also loved The Invention of Wings. I have also recommended to friends We Are Not Ourselves.

message 34: by MarcellineCazz (new)

MarcellineCazz Aryan wrote: "Rebecca ♥ Matrim, Kishan, Warner ♥ wrote: "Never even heard of The Goldfish till now, and of my 800 friends only 2 have read it. So I would say that is quite arguable."

I too have never heard of a..."

GoldFINCH, not Fish.

message 35: by Patsy (new)

Patsy Becca wrote: "I am not a big fan of "it" books. But I have read We Were Liars, which was overhyped. There's no reason not to know anything about it. Gone Girl I was not a fan of either. From what I hear, Lan..."

I am not a big fan of "it books" myself. Many are over hyped, but I do read the lists and check to see if an sound interesting. Hated Gone Girl.

message 36: by angee (new)

angee Not really a fan of We Were Liars. Gone Girl is a well-written book but the characters are horrible in personality. I never felt any sympathy for both of them

message 37: by Noorilhuda (last edited Oct 30, 2014 06:54AM) (new)

Noorilhuda Suzanne couldn't you ask a more difficult question?

A toss-up between:

invention of wings
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

all the light we cannot see
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

the accidental universe
The Accidental Universe The World You Thought You Knew by Alan Lightman

can't we talk about something more pleasant?
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

They were all good in their own way.

message 38: by Cora (new)

Cora My choice is Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

message 39: by Sophie (new)

Sophie The problem with limiting this list to books published in 2014 is that books take a while to build buzz. The "it" book of 2014 might well be something published in 2013.

message 40: by Stewart (new)

Stewart so, if a book is published Sept-Dec... it's never be considered for this?

I understand only looking at books that have had so many months on the clock so that you get reliable data, but it's a tad unfair to forever rule out books published Sept-Dec. I'm presuming that the same rules were used the previous two years, so anything published Sept-Dec 2013 will NEVER be counted towards this.

message 41: by Radvile (new)

Radvile Skrinskaite The book thief by Markus Zusak is a wonderful book and I think it is worth much.

message 42: by Charles (last edited Oct 30, 2014 07:21AM) (new)

Charles Shepherd I love this topic, not because establishing the 'It' book is important, but because the declaration of the "It" book is emblematic of the viral nature of today’s world. That being said the only consideration for an 'It' book, all statistical data aside, is how viral the book has the potential to be. I've read both the fore mentioned 'It' books (Gone Girl, Goldfinch), I agree with both of them being ‘It’ books due to their similarities;
- polarizes it's reader making for great debate
- fascinating while your reading it, you want to know what's going to happen next as much as you want to know how it’s going to end
- neither book truly reveals itself until the end.
- both books are contemporary in settings and themes
I’m currently halfway through The Bone Clocks and currently feel that it's a little YA for an ‘It’ book, we'll see.

message 43: by Jessica (new)

Jessica I think it's strange that so many of the people commenting have evidently failed to read the criteria listed for the "it" book.

Anyway, I've read several of the choices suggested, and my top picks are The Paying Guests and All the Light We Cannot See. I haven't gotten to The Bone Clocks yet, but I suspect it could be "it" as well.

message 44: by Charles (new)

Charles Shepherd Stewartc85 wrote: "so, if a book is published Sept-Dec... it's never be considered for this?

I understand only looking at books that have had so many months on the clock so that you get reliable data, but it's a tad..."

Not considered for 2014 but can be considered for 2015, i think.

message 45: by Brooke (last edited Oct 30, 2014 07:28AM) (new)

Brooke I think Clockwork Angel
Who Could That Be at This Hour?
are both pretty 'IT'

message 46: by Rajeshwari (new)

Rajeshwari Lotte wrote: "The Fault in our Stars"


message 47: by Dee (new)

Dee this isn't a nomination process for the 'it' book, it is a statistics game based on what they are seeing in the data

message 48: by Elaine (new)

Elaine McHale The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

message 49: by Morgan (new)

Morgan I have read a lot of these, and decided to rank them in order from my favorite to least favorite.

1. Big Little Lies (could not stop talking about this and recommending it to friends)
2. We Were Liars
3. Invention of Wings (Loved this book, and it stuck with me, but for some reason I don't talk about it as much as the others listed above)
4. Landline (very disappointed in this book)

I have purchased Goldfinch & All the Light We Cannot See, however, haven't gotten around to reading them yet. Even though Goldfinch has raving reviews, I have not once met someone that actually enjoyed it which is why I keep putting it off.

message 50: by Tiuri (new)

Tiuri Sparrowlicious wrote: "Never heard of any of these books."

Nor me

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