Top 19 Popular Fiction Books for Adults (Ranked!)
Caroline Kepnes could not have said it better. “The problem with books is that they end,” and you’re probably looking for more recommendations because you don’t want to pick just any book.
It’s time-consuming to scroll through New York Best Sellers’ top five list, month after month. Voracious speed readers have probably already read the most recent top five.
Perhaps you’re yearning for a complete good reads list because “books offer what reality doesn’t” (Adelise M. Cullens). You want a “hot” book so that you can share your reading experience.
We looked at the most popular contemporary adult fiction books on the New York Times bestseller list and Amazon’s highly-rated fiction. Different genres so everyone has something to read.
Here are the 19 most popular books.
1. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Featuring a murder mystery with vivid descriptions of the landscape, marshes, animals, and the coast, this story follows a poor, naive, yet oddly attractive girl as she spends her childhood alone in a swamp, penning poetry and studying quantum physics.
It’s easy to see why this book became a New York Times bestseller; it’s a heartwarming tale.
2. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
If you love romance novels, pick this one, and you’ll enjoy the love story cum complicated relationship.
The main character is a lady who has it all figured out, and she is in love with an adorable guy, but she has a past.
Will it be a happily ever after?
3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor Jenkins Reid creates a convincing fictional character. Even though it is fiction, this book exposes old Hollywood values. It’s a love-sadness-mystery ride.
Monique Grant’s manager informs her that actress Evelyn Hugo has requested that she write her biography and publish it after her death.
Monique, perplexed but eager, listens as Evelyn relates her story of how her seven spouses were crucial for the tabloids and getting what she desired. Those juicy details that no tabloid ever got right.
Hugo’s experience will make for an interesting tale, and Monique may even discover a piece of herself that has been missing all along.
4. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Luckiest Girl Alive explores the themes of physical and sexual assault, peer pressure, bullying, rape, and more in fictional and actual accounts.
The protagonist, Ani, appears to be living the ideal life, but she has a troubled history.
5. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Lowen Ashleigh’s mum has passed on, leaving her nothing. She is broke and badly needs a job.
A car accident shakes her to her core and sets the stage for her new employment. Verity Crawford’s husband, Jeremy Crawford, hires her to finish his wife’s successful book series because Verity is hurt and can’t work. She takes the offer.
Lowen goes to the Crawfords’ house to review Verity’s notes and outlines. Lowen is surprised to discover an unfinished autobiography in Verity’s office, complete with dark revelations about her life with Jeremy.
She conceals the manuscript from Jeremy for fear of upsetting the bereaved father, but as her affection for Jeremy grows, she wonders if she should divulge what she’s read.
6. The Maid by Nita Prose
The Maid is an easy mystery to read for a book club because there are no graphic murders or sex scenes, yet the protagonist gets her revenge.
Molly Gray enjoys all aspects of housekeeping, including dusting, cleaning, and organizing. She appears to have Asperger syndrome and is intelligent. Everything is fine until she discovers a dead guest in bed!
7. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Lessons in Chemistry paints a picture of how society treated women, specifically ambitious single parents with ‘illegitimate’ children, in the 1960s.
The protagonist’s unwavering resilience to change the status quo through her unanticipated role in a cooking show is admirable. She is a brilliant chemist, and you’ll find yourself vouching for her in unfortunate incidents.
8. The Strangers in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom
A page-turner, this book is for anyone dealing with loss.
The plot is ten survivors of a ship explosion desperate to survive.
They call on the Lord for help and, three days later, spot a man floating on water.
He claims he is the Lord!
9. The Judge List by John Grisham
The two main protagonists; are Lacy and Jeri- a state’s senior attorney on the Board of Judicial Conduct and a college professor who alleges that a prominent judge is responsible for the deaths of several people, including her father, over 22 years.
Grisham develops these conversations into extremely excellent dialogue, and it is this dialogue that puts the legal thriller in motion.
10. Fairy Tale by Stephen King
Charlie Reade is a fantastic baseball and football player and a good student, but his childhood was difficult.
He lost his mother in a hit-and-run accident and had to take care of his father, who became an alcoholic in his grief.
At 17, he meets Radar, an intelligent dog whom he grows fond of, and old Howard Bowditch, whom he works for.
Mr. Bowditch dies and leaves Charlie a recording with a secret. The shed is a gateway to another realm.
Enjoy this terrific story of good versus evil, a brave child, and his dog.
11. The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
You’ll probably love this one if you like The Guest List. Jess is broke, and Paris looks promising for a fresh start. Jess asks her half-brother if she can move in temporarily before she finds a job.
Jess arrives at a luxurious apartment, but her brother is a no-show. The peculiar neighbors seem to be hiding something, and she is determined to uncover the skeletons and find her brother.
12. Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Prepare to laugh out loud with this one and read steamy intimate moments. This book is a delight, especially if you love literature and imagine you are Nora!
Nora, an accomplished literary agent and book enthusiast, agrees to her sister’s plea for a summer vacation in North Carolina.
She aspires to spend meaningful sister time with her baby sister while also recharging her creative batteries.
But it’s too coincidental when she meets a former rival, sulky critical editor Charlie, who surprisingly shares similar interests with her.
Perhaps it’s time for her to take the lead in her narrative.
13. The Night Shift by Alex Finlay
This one’s a thriller. Two murders, 15 years apart, and two survivors, girls. Each time, the murderer whispered a sweet goodnight to the girl who survived, and that’s all they remember.
Finlay takes you through some twists and turns, connecting two murder investigations.
14. Dreamland by Nicholas Sparks
Colby Mills wanted to be a musician before tragedy derailed him. He takes a spontaneous gig at a pub in St. Pete Beach, Florida, a rare escape from his duties in North Carolina.
When he meets Morgan Lee, he wonders if his duties must dominate his life forever. Morgan, the daughter of rich Chicago doctors, graduated from a prestigious music program with aspirations of becoming a star in Nashville. She and Colby are a perfect duo in love.
In a different town, Beverly and her 6-year-old son are fleeing an abusive husband to start afresh in a small village. With little money and danger everywhere, she makes a desperate decision that will change all she believes.
Fate will entwine all three in a web of life-altering relationships, prompting everyone to wonder if the past must derail a better life.
15. The 6:20 Man by David Baldacci
The protagonist, Devine, is an Army Ranger officer who left the brotherhood to work in finance.
He finds himself at the center of a colleague’s murder and deep in financial crime incidents-a fantastic financial thriller.
16. 22 Seconds by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
22 Seconds, part of the Women’s Murder Club series, is riveting from the first page. The plot appears to be progressing smoothly until a surprising twist at the end links together two completely unrelated stories.
17. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
If you could go back in time and alter your decisions, would you?
At the farthest end of the universe, there is a library that contains every possible life event.
Nora’s efforts to make the right decisions in the library, however, endanger her life.
18. All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers
Twenty years later, Margot, who is now a journalist, returns home to care for her mentally ill uncle. Before she settles down and overcomes the ghosts of the past, a similar murder is on the news.
She resolves to find Natalie Clark’s killer and figure out who killed January, but there are obstacles everywhere. The townspeople, the police, and the family are hiding something.
19. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave
Hannah is a newlywed, and her stepdaughter expresses her dislike for her.
Owen, her husband, suddenly disappears and is no longer reachable. His company allegedly was involved in fraud. Hannah gets his note with the words, “Protect her,” which she believes refers to his daughter Bailey.
Soon, Bailey and Hannah realize Owen is not who he claims to be, and they must band together to find the truth.
The family story drama has unanticipated twists and turns. A worthwhile read.
The 19-book reading list includes a variety of genres, such as mystery, fantasy, romance, thrillers, and more.
Aside from being bestsellers, these books are page-turners with characters that seem nearly real.
Sharpen your memory and retention skills with the Iris Reading Maximizing Memory Course to remember all characters and book plots for the socials or your book club.