Last week, I tweeted out something pretty vague and cryptic, asking twenty people to pick random emojis for reasons (yes, you guessed it, this post is the reason) but then I got 52 people suggesting emojis hahaha so I had more than enough to choose from and the way I went about it is that I looked at the emoji, if it reminded me of a book or felt like it could, I kept it! If it felt too niche and didn’t, I didn’t use it! And THAT’s how I’ve narrowed it down to the 20 emojis I’m basing my recommendations on. I’m going to try my hardest to recommend books I don’t talk about a lot already.
ALSO! If you want to participate, leave an emoji in the comments and I shall do my best to recommend you a book! Without further ado, here are 20 books you should read based on emojis:
Book cover = goodreads page
1- Cowboy face emoji 🤠
Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. THIS is one of my favourite books of all time. It follows two wanted girls, Sam and Andy, (one of which is Chinese and the other Black) who disguise themselves as boys and run away through the Oregon trail direction California, where they meet with three cowboys who take them under their wing, reluctantly at first, but then they form a friendship that’s super heartwarming. The sisterhood that forms between the two girls is so heartwarming and this story is so heartbreaking but simultaneously hopeful that it just warmed my heart.
2- Paw Prints emoji 🐾
The King of Bourbon Street by Thea DeSalle. Full disclosure, I had a mini freak-out about this one because I couldn’t recall any books with puppies in them but a friend came to my aid and they reminded me of this book haha, which is one I actually adore??? So I’m ashamed I forgot it has a puppy in it, but anyway. This book is FIRE, it has a bisexual hero whom I am in love with and a fat heroine who gets introduced and immersed in BDSM and it was very…um…hot. And that’s putting it lightly.
3- Full Moon emoji 🌑
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee. Yes, two Stacey Lee books and I’m not sorry, she’s that brilliant. I finished this one over the weekend and I can’t get over it. It’s set in the few days leading to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and then the few days after it, as a Chinese Girl’s life is shaken up by the tragedy and she navigates her pain while trying to turn it into something productive and that can help her and others. I loved the friendships in this one, the sense of community, the brave intelligent and cunning main character, Mercy, and most of all, her little brother, Jack.
4- Butterfly emoji 🦋
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, because this romance gave me butterflies!!!! It has a fairytale quality to it that I adored…I mean…it centers royals after all. The heroine is Naledi, a black epidemiology gradstudent who grew up in the foster system in New York and the hero is Thabiso, an African prince who she was betrothed to when she was a tiny human but the only problem is…he remembers all of it and she remembers none of it. So he tries to get close to her to eventually tell her but of course he chickens out, doesn’t tell her and drama ensues.
5- Tropical Drink emoji 🍹
Wrong to Need You by Alisha Rai. The heroine in this one is a bartender, so this was a pretty easy choice! This book is so!!!!! amazing!!!! It’s steamy and soft, has a strong Muslim Pakistani bisexual heroine and a Japanese-Hawaiian grumpy antisocial hero who loves his kitchen more than humans. She’s also a widow and his her brother in law and her best friend’s brother so…it’s safe to say that things are complicated. What I love most about this one is 1/ The way the heroine’s anxiety is portrayed and handled and 2/ How absolutely fierce and independant she is.
6- Rollercoaster emoji 🎢
The Speaker by Traci Chee. Because HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK PUT ME THROUGH TOO MUCH!!! Too many events! Too many emotions! TOO MANY FREAKING FEELS! I’m sorry for yelling but I read it a year ago and I’m still not over what it put me through. Eveytime I’d think things are getting better they get 10 times worse. This is basically set in a world where books, and the written word in general, doesn’t exist but the MC, Sefia, finds a book, she has no clue what it is, but as the story goes on she learns to use it and starts to realize just how much power it holds, she also meets a boy, Archer, who’s went through A LOT of trauma and has PTSD from it and I *clutches chest* LOVE HIM!
7- Unicorn emoji 🦄
Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember. I read this soooo long ago that I barely remember anything about it but one thing I remember is that I enjoyed it A LOT! It’s set in a fictional African country where unicorns exist and they’re endangered because they’re relentlessly hunted. And these two girls, one of whom is a native and the other a foreigner set on a mission to save the unicorns and fall in love in the process. It was so cute and soft, but also fast paced and entertaining.
8- Cookie emoji 🍪
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. I haven’t talked about this book in so long? Eventhough I adored it when I first read it? This reminds me of it because the MC, Molly, LOVES her cookie dough and she even makes a bunch off it for her moms’ wedding. My favourite thing about this one is the genuine portrayal of anxiety and how it’s never made a big deal out of but is still shown as a huge part of her life that influences it in a non negligible way. Also, the cutest romance!
9- Smiling Devil emoji 😈
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. I mean…Jinns? Devils? Close enough, right? And I know, I KNOW I said I’ll try to choose books I haven’t been talking about a lot and this is one I never shut up about, but I couldn’t think of any other books for this so YES. This is the story of a con artist, Nahri, also known as the love of my life, as she accidentally summons a Jinn who sweeps her on a magical carpet and takes her to a Jinn city full of politics and scheming, and she finds herself waaaaay over her head in a world where she knows nothing, where she also discovers that there’s a lot she doesn’t know about herself.
10- Gem Stone emoji 💎
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust. I don’t really know why a gem stone reminds me of Mina’s heart, which is made of glass, but it does and I KNOW it’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe because she’s a gem and has a heart that’s full of love but she can’t see that. I just…LOVE HER SO MUCH…And now I want to reread this book. It’s a Snow White retelling where Snow-white and her stepmother do not hate each other but still have a complicated relationship. My favourite thing about this book is that it deals with topics of parental emotional abuse and manipulation so well.
11- Fireworks emoji 🎆
Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman. Fireworks remind me of summer and this is my go-to summer read (which I’m hoping I can reread next summer), it’s such a perfect balance of an emotional and a fluffy read with the MC having a lot of bagage and abandonment issues from her mom leaving her but also meeting this absolute sweetheart of a boy, struggles being away from her parents for what was supposed to be their last summer together and the greatest, because she needs to leave town to take care of her aunt and just…READ IT.
12- Paint Palette emoji 🎨
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCollough. This book follows Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian painter as she’s hiden behind her father’s shadow, who makes her paint and takes credit for it. But then one day, she’s raped by someone she trusted and her life goes downhill as she tries to fight for what’s right and refuses to stay quiet. We also get the perspectives of two of her painting subjects, Susanna and Judith, who were also subjected to men’s whims, men who thought they could take whatever they wanted from women without consequences. This is written in verse and is extremely empowering and powerful.
13- Waxing Crescent Moon emoji 🌒
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. Am I me if I don’t mention this book every chance I get? No. No I’m not. This is magical realism, and it centers a girl who grows roses on her wrist and her trans best friend who hangs moons for her. And yes, it’s as soft as it sounds, but it’s also dark when you least expect it. But then it catches you by surprise and it turns hopeful and amazing and it wraps you in warmth and safety. But before that it drags your heart through the mud and you thank it.
14- Money Face emoji 🤑
Immoral Code by Lillian Clark. I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. The cast of characters is the best I’ve read in a while. It follows five teens who, after one them gets denied a scholarship to MIT and thus see her dream die, decide to rob her uber rich dad and use that money to get her to go, à la robin hood. I mean how cool does that sound? This isn’t as much centered around the heist itself as it is centered around the characters themselves, their friendship and just how much they are willing to do for each other. And I loved just how different they were but just how much they got along. OH and one of them is Aroace and I LOVED her.
15- Crossed Swords emoji ⚔️
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. This is pretty straight forward because the cover has two crossed swords on it. And this is such a fun book! It centers an invitation only auditions where a few people compete to join the queen’s Left Hand, which is a group of people who serve as both her council and protectors. The -genderfluid- MC steals and invitation and sneaks themself into the competition, which ends up being a lot more dangerous and potentially deadly than the expected it to be.
16- Kissy Face emoji 😘
Second Kiss by Chelsea M. Cameron. This is another straight forward one, I’m very original, I know. But this is one of the softest books I have ever read,. It’s a novella, so I read it in one sitting, and it’s about a girl who works at this super queer café, when one day her ex-best friend who basically ghosted her when they were teens, walks back into her life. AND IT’S A ESTRANGED BEST FRIENDS REUNITING AND REALIZING THEY’VE ALWAYS LOVED EACH OTHER and, I’m soft, it’s soft, and it made me cry tears of happiness, I’m not even kidding.
17- Dragon emoji 🐉
The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang. THIS BOOK DOESN’T HAVE DRAGONS (if you don’t count the god), now that that’s out of the way, the reason I chose it for this emoji is simply because the upcoming sequel is called The Dragon Republic so my brain will forever link these books to dragons. This one follows Rin, a girl who fights her way into the highest ranking military academy in her country, fights her way through it and THEN fights in a war. It’s safe to say that it’s absolutely brutal and bloody gruesome. But I loved every aspect of it more than words can explain because it digs deep inside the ugliest parts of human nature.
18- Ghost emoji 👻
The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan. This doesn’t have ghosts, but when I think about ghosts I think about horror and this is my favourite horror book. This is about a Romani girl who gets raped by a boy while his friends watch, and what is basically her revenge story in an attempt to save a boy she cares about and it’s so fucking satisfying. She also has a very peculiar relationship with her even more peculiar grandma who hides a secret or two and trauma of her own.
19- Eggplant emoji 🍆
Of course this emoji is here, OF COURSE! I wouldn’t expect any less from my dirty minded friends. Sweet on the Greek by Talia Hibbert. This is one of my favourite romance books and my favourite Talia Hibbert book. And IT’S SMOKING HOT! The heroine is a strong af, super tattooed, fat Black woman and the hero is a bisexual soft Greek jock and I’M IN LOVE WITH BOTH OF THEM!!! The minute I saw this emoji I thought of this book because of that *one scene* that had me self-combusting and clutching my pearls. Seriously, read it.
20- Superhero emoji
Not Your Villain by C. B. Lee. I can recommend both books in this series because they’re so fun and thrilling and fast paced but out of the two, this one is my favourite. This is set in a post-apocalyptic America, where people have super powers so naturally, Superheroes as well as Supervillains show up and this is basically a fight between the two, and how heroes aren’t always as they seem to be and neither are villains. I absolutely adored how it subverted the trope and explored morality while keeping everything lighthearted. The first one has a bisexual MC in an f/f relationship and this one has a trans MC.
That’s it until next time.
Do you have recommendations for any of these emojis?
Leave me emojis in the comment and I’ll try to recommend you books!
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.
- A princess in theory
- Blood Water Paint
- Book Blogging
- Book list
- Girl out of water
- Girls made of snow and glass
- Immoral Code
- Mask of Shadows
- Not Your Villain
- Outrun the Moon
- Second Kiss
- Sweet on the Greek
- The City of Brass
- The hollow Girl
- The King of Bourbon Street
- The poppy War
- the speaker
- The Upside of Unrequited
- Under a Painted Sky
- Unicorn Tracks
- When the Moon was Ours
- Wrong to need you