#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!


Fellow readers, I’m glad you found your way here. No kid’, only readers come here, btw.

So how many of you were bookworms during your childhood who then turned out to be busy bees once you became an adult? Books aside, you don’t even have time to socialize. Then comes the trend of #BookTok on TikTok and the shackled self is in dire of escapism.

If you are NOT, then good, this article is actually for you. Especially if you are a guardian. (I don’t expect a lot of your kind would read this post, seeing how you are not included in the trend, but please spread the word about this article.)


As I mentioned in the beginning, due to demanding lifestyles in this globalization, one is desperate for escapism. Then comes the trend of #BookTok where users across the globe share their novels collection. There are 29.1 million posts (as of 200224) under the hashtag #BookTok itself. Not to count the variations of the hashtags like #BookTokFYP, and #BookTokCountry. Long story short, it’s a big thing on TikTok.

#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!
29.1 million posts and counting…

I dare to say millions of people’s passion for reading is rekindled after watching the intriguing book-reviewing shorts. Me included. Undeniably, the content creators are so creative. No wonder they are called influencers because I am among those who easily get influenced by good reads. 

For people like me, this trend is a blessing. The reviews are full of expressions and more convincing whether it’s a good, a mediocre, or a bad book. Among famous reviewing content is the silent review started by @StephReadsALot where she reviewed her books without saying anything except with her funny expressions. She reviewed various genres of novels (but she hates the genre that I will specifically about to talk below)

One of her silent reviews


Among the books that received a lot of views are in the genre of ‘SMUT’ and ‘SPICY’. It’s the genre that is specifically written for its explicit sexual scenes (no censorship in words, this is informative writing). Some might have disturbing scenes with dark romance and weird fetishes. When the novel is described as dark, IT’S DARK. It even features not only borderline immoral relationships but also beyond the line of tolerance in humanity. 

#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!
The number of shocking scenes in a novel

How did I know about the contents? – the reviews on TikTok. That’s how detailed it is. Also, I did read some (by some, I meant more than 10) to justify my judgment. Let me tell you, some plots are not worth your time. You will mostly end up finishing the book with curling toes.

Clarification: Look, my FYP algorithms are Korean, Anime, Fantasy, Rom-Com, and Books. So, of course, I found out about them. They’re HUGE!

As an adult who has known about sexual education, you might automatically be repulsed by some of the novels, especially the dark romance ones. On the other hand, if genres like these are your forte, please feel free to continue. You do you, babes. Your money, your kinks.


The most worrying part was when the videos reached the FYP of minors. By minors, I meant 12 – 17-year-olds. It is astonishing when there were several posts on social media, stating that they witnessed minors reading smut novels in public, thinking people don’t know what it is. They also dare to ask a salesperson if a specific title of a smut novel is available in the bookstore. (I praise my country for not allowing those kinds of books to be sold in our bookstore for censorship control).

Being exposed to such scenes and filthy words at such a young age without prior knowledge of the field could have horrifying influences on minors. Even more horrifying to imagine if you are the guardians. Imagine if your daughter thought that a minor-adult relationship was romantic. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s the shades of peachy yellow. There are tons of shades of greys.

#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!
Examples of novels with disturbing romance… or we call it dark romance.

However, some of them slipped through their guardians’ hands. Being IT savvy themselves, a lot of digital versions of the novels are within click away. If your kid has a Kindle, it’s time for you to check it.

To make it worse, it’s not only novels but also manga/manhwa. These kinds of smut are more dangerous since they come with pictures!


So, you don’t read and as a guardian, you have no idea this issue exists. You thought your child was being a doll, making reading one of her hobbies. Proudly humblebragging to thy neighbours that you were worried about your child forgetting to eat due to her fixation on books. You checked the book titles thinking; “oh it looks cute. It seems like a teenage rom-com story. I read those too in my younger days.”

Little did you know that some smut novel covers are specifically designed to look like innocent books so that they won’t be exposed to reading it in public e.g. while riding on public transport or waiting for turns in public. Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say. It’s true.

#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!
Examples of novels with innocent covers but definitely not innocent inside

This is the time for you to dive into the sea of the trend. If you don’t have a TikTok because you hate wasting your time on short videos, create one with the sole purpose of monitoring. If your FYP is full of cooking, makeup, and cat videos, search the words ‘smut novel’ or ‘spicy novel’ and take into knowing which is one. All I’m saying is, please be alert. The trend is there. If your kids know, you could know too.


Of course, some adults who are already aware of this issue have expressed their concerns and questions about the authors and publishers. But a bucket we could pour on a forest swallowed by fire. It’s out of hand. As much as you hate them, there are only so many people on the other side of the curtain.

You might wonder who wrote this kind of book. Or even smut mangas/manhwas. There are people with high imagination and delulu(delusional) level. Fan fiction, you may also call it. Believe it or not, the majority of the smut novel writers are women. Most of the reviews I saw involved being loved by an Alpha male. I wonder who hurt them… or is it because nobody and that’s why they’re THAT thirsty?

#BookTok Went Wrong – Guardians… Assemble!

… Anyway, I urge responsible adults to be alert to the minors around you. If you are a parent, check your children’s books. If you are a teacher, dig up your students’ favourite. If you are a sister, check your sibling’s fixation.

Until then, see you when I see you.


  • Dianさま

    Dian - a 98% introvert with a mind like a black hole, she is like the lovechild of Senku and Hisoka, armed with ideas and logics sharper than a lightsaber. Social gatherings? Nah, it's either dissecting the latest anime/manga/kdrama breakthrough or debate the merits of time travel. 200% INTP.

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