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15 Best Gripping Books You Need to Binge-Read! (UPDATED 2023)

[Updated Nov 2023] There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading that utterly consumes you, making you lose track of time. Dive into these 15 best gripping books that promise to be modern masterpieces you can’t put down!

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1. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Best Gripping Books

Synopsis: Alicia Berenson, once a renowned painter, is found covered in her husband’s blood with a gun in her hand. A traumatic event has rendered her mute, and her only form of communication is a chilling painting. As her psychotherapist delves deeper into her psyche, he uncovers dark secrets and past traumas.

Why You’ll Be Completely Hooked: Michaelides crafts a multi-layered psychological puzzle. Every page offers clues, but nothing is as it seems, ensuring you’re gripped till the shocking finale.

The Silent Patient
307,211 Reviews
The Silent Patient
  • Michaelides, Alex (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 05/04/2021 (Publication Date) - Celadon Books (Publisher)

2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Synopsis: Kya Clark, the mysterious “Marsh Girl,” grows up in solitude in the North Carolina marshes, abandoned and isolated. Her bond with nature is unparalleled. However, when a beloved local man is found dead, she becomes the prime suspect, leading the town into a whirlwind of rumors and revelations.

Why It’s Impossible to Resist: Owens’ lyrical prose and deep character exploration, combined with a compelling mystery, make it a poignant and captivating read.

Where the Crawdads Sing: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)
625,251 Reviews
Where the Crawdads Sing: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)
  • Owens, Delia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 03/30/2021 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis: A mysterious circus known as “Le Cirque des Rêves” appears at night, captivating visitors with its enchanting tents. Behind the scenes, two young magicians, Celia and Marco, are engaged in a magical duel set by their mentors, with the circus as their battleground.

Why This Story Will Envelop You: Morgenstern’s intricate world-building and poetic narrative style immerse readers in a dreamlike, enchanting experience.

The Night Circus: A Novel
46,603 Reviews
The Night Circus: A Novel
  • Trade paperback
  • Morgenstern, Erin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

4. Educated by Tara Westover

Synopsis: Westover recounts her harrowing upbringing in a strict and abusive household in rural Idaho, where formal education was frowned upon. Despite facing immense challenges, her determination leads her to discover the transformative power of education, taking her to the halls of Harvard and Cambridge.

Why You’ll Be Completely Absorbed: Westover’s journey from isolation to enlightenment is a testament to human resilience and the power of perseverance.

Educated: A Memoir
213,702 Reviews
Educated: A Memoir
  • Westover, Tara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 02/08/2022 (Publication Date) - Random House Trade Paperbacks (Publisher)

5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Synopsis: Rachel Watson, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily train journey fantasizing about a seemingly perfect couple she observes from her window. Everything changes when she witnesses something unsettling, and she becomes deeply entwined in a mystery that unfolds with chilling consequences.

Why It’s Irresistibly Engaging: Hawkins masterfully intertwines multiple narratives, leading readers through a maze of deceit, memory, and obsession, making it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion.

The Girl on the Train
492,865 Reviews
The Girl on the Train
  • Read thru once
  • Hawkins, Paula (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

6. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Synopsis: Following a tragic accident at the Metropolitan Museum that claims his mother’s life, young Theo Decker clings to a priceless painting called “The Goldfinch.” The artwork pulls him into a world of crime, love, and self-discovery as he navigates life’s tumultuous currents.

Why You Won’t Put It Down: Tartt’s intricate plotting, rich characterization, and exploration of art’s impact on the human soul make this a mesmerizing read.

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
125,748 Reviews
The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
  • Novel Book
  • Tartt, Donna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Check out our list of 40+ amazing non-fiction books!

7. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Synopsis: Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream until Roy is wrongfully imprisoned. As years pass, Celestial seeks solace in her childhood friend, leading to a complex love triangle upon Roy’s unexpected release.

Why It’s So Compelling: Jones delves deep into the themes of love, loyalty, and systemic racism, offering readers a raw and emotionally charged experience.

An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
61,385 Reviews
An American Marriage (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
  • Book - american marriage
  • Language: english
  • Binding: paperback

8. Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews

Red Sparrow addictive novels

Synopsis: Dominika Egorova, a former prima ballerina, is recruited by Russian intelligence after a career-ending injury. Trained as a “sparrow” skilled in seduction and espionage, her first mission targets young CIA officer Nate Nash. As their paths cross, a dangerous game ensues.

Why This Book will Engage You: Written by a former CIA officer, “Red Sparrow” – the first of a gripping trilogy – offers an authentic glimpse into espionage. The intricate dance between Dominika and Nate, set against a backdrop of international intrigue, makes this a compelling read from start to finish.

Red Sparrow: A Novel (1) (The Red Sparrow Trilogy)
26,927 Reviews
Red Sparrow: A Novel (1) (The Red Sparrow Trilogy)
  • Matthews, Jason (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 02/20/2018 (Publication Date) - Scribner (Publisher)

9. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Synopsis: The seemingly perfect Richardson family’s life is disrupted when enigmatic artist Mia and her daughter Pearl move to their affluent Ohio town. Secrets unravel, leading to moral dilemmas, societal judgments, and unexpected consequences.

Why You’ll Be Enthralled: Ng’s incisive commentary on motherhood, identity, and societal norms ensures every chapter is thought-provoking.

Little Fires Everywhere
180,628 Reviews
Little Fires Everywhere
  • Ng Celeste (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 388 Pages - 04/21/2024 (Publication Date) - Little Brown & Co (Publisher)

10. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Synopsis: Lucy and Gabe meet as students on 9/11 and share an unbreakable bond. However, choices and circumstances pull them apart, leading them on different paths. Their love story spans continents and decades, always overshadowed by what could have been.

Why It’s Heartrendingly Gripping: Santopolo’s tender portrayal of love, loss, and destiny will tug at your heartstrings.

LIGHT WE LOST PB
24,696 Reviews
LIGHT WE LOST PB
  • Santopolo Jill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 02/19/2018 (Publication Date) - HARPER COLLINS (Publisher)

12. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Synopsis: April May stumbles upon a giant robotic sculpture in Manhattan, which she dubs “Carl.” When Carls appear in cities around the world, April becomes the center of an intense and unexplained global mystery. As she navigates her newfound fame, the world grapples with the Carls’ purpose and origin.

Why It’s Irresistibly Engaging: Green’s narrative is a refreshing blend of science fiction and social commentary. It challenges readers to ponder the implications of fame in the age of social media and the human desire for connection and understanding.

Sale
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls)
8,928 Reviews
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls)
  • Green, Hank (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 07/30/2019 (Publication Date) - Dutton (Publisher)

13. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Synopsis: Born into bondage, Hiram Walker possesses a mysterious power that saves his life during a near-death experience. This gift spurs his desperate quest for freedom from the plantations of the antebellum South. Along the way, he encounters the Underground Railroad, a secretive resistance movement filled with magic and intrigue.

Why It’s Irresistibly Engaging: Coates seamlessly blends historical fiction with magical realism, offering a unique lens into the horrors of slavery. His evocative prose immerses readers in a world where the fight for freedom becomes a transformative journey.

Sale
The Water Dancer: A Novel
22,727 Reviews
The Water Dancer: A Novel
  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 11/17/2020 (Publication Date) - One World (Publisher)

14. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

Synopsis: Rosemary Harper wants to escape her troubled past, and she finds her chance aboard the Wayfarer, a patched-up ship with a diverse crew. The Wayfarer specializes in building wormholes in the vast expanse of space. When they’re offered the opportunity of a lifetime – a risky job tunneling wormholes to a distant planet – they embark on an epic journey that takes them to the far reaches of the galaxy.

Why It’s Irresistibly Engaging: Chambers crafts a tale where the journey is just as important as the destination. The Wayfarer’s crew, each with their own secrets and stories, brings to life a vision of space that’s rich in diversity and culture. The novel delves deep into themes of family, friendship, and belonging against the backdrop of a vibrant and ever-expanding universe.

Sale
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, 1)
25,693 Reviews
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, 1)
  • Chambers, Becky (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 07/05/2016 (Publication Date) - Harper Voyager (Publisher)

15. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Synopsis: Spanning eight decades and four generations, Pachinko is a sweeping saga of a Korean family who migrates to Japan amidst political turmoil. Through challenges of identity, love, and survival, the family battles against the backdrop of forbidden love, organized crime, and the societal prejudices they face as Korean immigrants in Japan.

Why It’s Irresistibly Engaging: Lee masterfully paints a vivid tapestry of the complexities of family, love, sacrifice, and the enduring spirit of survival. It’s a deep dive into the intricate dynamics of cultural identity and the struggles of immigrants in a foreign land.

Sale
Pachinko
72,421 Reviews
Pachinko
  • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW TOP TEN OF THE YEAR * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 *A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017
  • Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post
  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER

In summary, whether you’re seeking a thrilling plot or a deep emotional journey, these best gripping novels are sure to captivate from start to end. We’ll keep updating this list in the coming months for the freshest book recommendations. In the meantime, dive in and discover your next favorite book!