As we enter into Spring and leave the cold behind, we’re taking a look at the top 10 trending fiction books of March. It’s been a wild month full of uncertainty, hope, nostalgia, and discovery. Read on to find out which titles have been trending at World of Books, and some reasons why! From books awaiting their highly anticipated adaptations in 2021 to old classics, we just can’t get enough of…
1. Dead If You Don’t – Peter James
A kidnapping triggers a parent’s worst nightmare and a race against time for Detective Superintendent Roy Grace.
This March we got to see Peter James’ notorious detective Roy Grace portrayed on the small screen by John Simm in ITV’s miniseries, Grace. This brought extra attention to Peter James’ gripping stories. From people coming to his crime thrillers for the first time, to those continuing their collection – there are 18 books in the Roy Grace series so far! We’re big fans of Peter James here at World of Books. Check out our review of Dead at First Sight, and read our blog post on five things to love about Roy Grace.
2. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
When Lydia’s body is tragically found in a lake, the devastating effect of her death on both parents threatens to ruin their lives. Her father becomes reckless, her mother vengeful, her older brother suspicious of the town’s local bad boy. Her younger sister, the quiet, thoughtful, and insightful Hannah, however, seems to best understand what has happened.
Last summer, it was announced that Celeste Ng‘s debut novel is being made into a TV miniseries. Following on from the successful launch of the adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere, Ng’s books are getting a lot of attention extra, well-deserved attention. If you haven’t had the chance to explore her hard-to-put-down writing yet, now’s your chance!
3. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This book is a story of: a girl; an accordionist; some fanatical Germans; a Jewish fist-fighter; and quite a lot of thievery.
Before fans of this fantastic historical fiction story get too excited, there is not another adaptation coming. However, something is bringing people back to this award-winning and bestselling book. After an extremely difficult year, the great themes of friendship through hardships and the power of words hold important lessons for us in today’s world. The Book Thief deals with difficult historical references but is brilliantly accessible for teens and young adults as well as adults. You can also check out the 2013 film adaptation of The Book Thief.
4. Normal People – Sally Rooney
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel.
We are not at all surprised to see this as one of our 10 trending fiction books. This hugely influential modern fiction book from Sally Rooney has been shortlisted and won several awards including the Costa Novel Award in 2018. The BBC adaptation of Normal People was one of the most-watched TV series of 2020. Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends is also one of the bestselling fiction books from World of Books. We can’t wait for her next publication!
5. Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Another hugely popular and regularly trending author is Jojo Moyes. With a handful of fantastically renowned titles to her name, her books are always picking up new readers from all corners of the literary world. Me Before You was adapted into a film in 2016 starring Emilia Clarke, but is only the first book in the trilogy series. A dramatic narrative with romantic and empowering themes, this is a great place to start reading Moyes.
6. Animal Farm – George Orwell
When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless elite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control.
In the run-up to World Book Day at the beginning of March, Oxford Home Schooling conducted a survey among adults to discover the nation’s favourite school books. Animal Farm came out tops! Orwell’s 1984 also finished in the top 5. People have clearly been reconnecting with their schooldays favourite read, or perhaps buying it for their kids to read and love too. Thanks to this, Animal Farm has been trending at World of Books and we can certainly recommend it.
7. Fifty-Fifty – Steve Cavanagh
Two sisters on trial for murder.
Both accuse each other.
Who do YOU believe?
This crime thriller is the newest release from Steve Cavanagh’s Eddie Flynn book series. Published towards the end of 2020, this edge of your seat storytelling we’ve come to expect from writers like Cavanagh has kept people talking ever since it came out. If you’re not familiar with the book series then you’re in luck, because all the books can be read as standalone. You can also check out our review of Steve Cavanagh’s Twisted – spoiler-free – to give you a taste of the action first. If you are already a huge fan but haven’t got around to the newest one, what are you waiting for?
8. The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
Now, this book is trending and you need to know about it. Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017, has been a book club favourite and recommended by fellow writers, celebs, and even Barack Obama. Though the novel is set in an alternative reality, it is based on the setting of real 19th century plights of enslaved people across America. The book has been adapted into a series directed by Barry Jenkins, the director of ‘Moonlight’, and is set to debut in May this year on Amazon Prime. If you haven’t read it yet, get to it before the series drops!
9. The Sentinel – Lee Child
Jack Reacher gets off the bus in a sleepy no-name town outside Nashville, Tennessee. He plans to grab a cup of coffee and move right along.
Not going to happen. The town has been shut down by a cyber attack. At the centre of it all, whether he likes it or not, is Rusty Rutherford. He’s an average IT guy, but he knows more than he thinks. As the bad guys move in on Rusty, Reacher moves in on them . . .
This latest Jack Reacher book is not like the others. The Sentinel was co-written by Child’s brother, Andrew Child (both using their pen names). This has shifted the style and made a significant mark on what is Jack Reacher’s 25th adventure. It’s split the opinions of Reacher fans and piqued the interest of those who haven’t read any yet. If you want to jump into a world where action is around every corner before you get a chance to take a breath, then get involved with Jack Reacher.
10. The Testaments – Margaret Atwood
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
This 2019 Booker Prize Winner came flying into the literary world just when we needed it. Its hugely thought-provoking prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale, was published back in 1985. It was brought to the absolute forefront of society’s consciousness with the TV adaptation, which took us by storm. The season 4 teaser was released a few weeks back and we await its arrival. Fortunately, patience wears very thin in the age of lockdowns, so we seek out the future in a post-dystopian, post-Gilead world. It has been announced that the ending of The Handmaid’s Tale series will not feature the stories from The Testaments, so, you know what you need to do.
Have you read any of these 10 trending fiction books of March? What did you read this month? Let us know in the comments below.