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18 Books So Shocking They’ll Literally Have You Gasping Out Loud

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18 Books So Shocking They’ll Literally Have You Gasping Out Loud

18 Shocking Books Guaranteed to Have You Gasping Out Loud
When a book hits you with a plot twist you didn’t see coming?
🎵🎶 That’s what we like, that’s what we like 🎵🎶
There’s truly no feeling like gasping out loud because a book has left you utterly shook. And it’s been happening to us quite a bit with some of our recent reads. Because ooomg, these books were total insanity! There were SO many twists and turns it left our heads spinning and our jaws permanantly on the floor. Want to get in on this gasp-worthiness? You know you do. Check out our list of these books below!
 

Books That Will Make You Gasp

 

1. Everless by Sara Holland

You just KNEW something wasn’t right here, but what was it? We spent the entire book trying to guess all the plot twists and turns, but nothing prepared us for those last few chapters. We may have lost our breath when all was done and revealed. And now… the wait until book two.
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.
No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.
But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

2. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Come on guys—that ENDING! We were absolutely enthralled by the court politics and intrigue of this one. It was so much fun to try to predict the moves of all the key players, but we never suspected just how devious most of them would be. Everything is MUCH different in hindsight.
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

 

3. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Okay, maybe we need to chill with the gasp-inducing endings, but COME ON MAUREEN JOHNSON. We frantically swiped back and forth through the last few pages trying to piece together the mystery because there is so much more to the story and WE NEED IT!
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place,” he said, “where learning is a game.”
Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.
True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

 

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Can we just say that every time the Dregs got themselves backed into a corner, we held our breath until they managed a way out of it? Because we totally did. The odds were stacked against them every step of the way, AND THEN—”I’m going to get my money and I’m going to get my girl.” Damn right you are, Dirtyhands.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

5. Unrivaled by Alyson Noël

The limit to the number of times a book can make us gasp truly does not exist, and this trilogy is all the proof we need. Like, INFAMOUS only just came out and we already read it. These starlets and wannabes are everything we love, hate, and love to hate, and they are just… wow.
Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter. Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress. Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago.
She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.
That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing… And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

 

6. Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

WE STILL CAN’T BELIEVE WHO ENDED UP ON THE THRONE!! We’re pretty sure our neighbors down the hall could hear us gasping from that one. And, okay, it may have been more of a scream than a gasp, but you know what? We stand by it.
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

 

7. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

To ask us to choose a single gaspworthy moment in this book would be just cruel. Between Rowan, Citra, Tiger… you know what? Just… do yourself a favor and read it. AHHHH!
Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.
Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

 

8. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

ALL. OF. THE. GASPS. FOR. THIS BOOK. Literally from the very first chapter we were freaking out, and this sequel did NOT let up even for a second. EVERYTHING ABOUT JULES. And—mild spoiler alert—but a queen was chosen?! You can literally watch us freak out about this book in real time with our thoughts. TBH we gasped now just thinking about it.
With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off.
Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

 

9. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

We don’t want to give much away, but honestly we did NOT SEE THAT COMING. When you spend the whole book trying to figure out a mystery, only for the resolution to be NOTHING you expected and yet… so mcuh better?! The gasp really has its own unique pitch.
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed… until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

 

10. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

It’s not a huge surprise when a mystery novel makes you gasp, but like TRULY DEVIOUS above, the gasps earned by this book were louder and took even more breath away from us than the rest. Therefore, it deserves a spot on this list. Also we love Charlotte and Jamie.
The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament.
From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder.

 

11. This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis

The gasps just? Never stopped? This book was so shocking and just honestly WTF that we don’t even know how to describe the things that made us lose our breath. You can see our thoughts here but you really need to read this one to understand it.
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her Oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.
But suddenly there’s a fork in the road in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, and her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it. Why does he act like he knows her so well—too well—when she doesn’t know him at all?
Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending the chapter of another: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

 

12. Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

You know it’s a good sign when you’re STILL thinking about how bad a twist messed you up years after you finished the book. Like, how did we not see that coming?! This one really took the breath out of us and… dang, we need a minute.
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to the middle of nowhere for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying–and she’s helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

 

13. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

This book was just a repeated series of holding our breath, waiting for chillingly terrible things to happen, and softly exhaling—or, you know, shrieking—every time the twists caught us off guard. Everything about this world was just so glamorous and creepy!!
Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

 

14. The Diabolic by SJ Kincaid

Much like its protagonist, this book had NO MERCY. No one was off limits, and we definitely screamed when certain characters meant tragic ends. And the sequel? Just freaking turned the story up to 11. Drama that is truly out of this world!!
Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.
She must become her.
Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

 

15. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

This entire trilogy just… RUTHLESS. Both Adelina and Enzo’s character arcs over the course of the books in particular really just kept us on our toes, and for better or worse, Marie Lu has succeeded once again in burning characters into our heads forever.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

 

16. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Um, DUH! We can’t really say anything else. You need to read this. And DON’T spoil yourself!
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

 

17. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

THAT ENDING THOOOO! Honestly everything Juliette and Warner do shakes us to our very core but this book was just insanity from start to finish and how are we supposed to wait for the sequel?! How are we supposed to wait for the rest of the new trilogy?!?!
It’s been sixteen days since Juliette Ferrars killed the supreme commander of North America and took over as ruler of The Reestablishment on the continent.
Sixteen days since she assassinated Warner’s father.
Juliette thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45 and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and with so much power in her young hands, the world is watching her every move, waiting to see what happens next.
Juliette and Warner have risked every-thing. But when tragedy strikes, they must confront the darkness that exists both around and inside them. Will they be able to control the power Juliette wields, or will it control them?

 

18. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Space battles that kept us on the edge of our seats? Check. Hacking espionage with freaking unimaginable stakes? CHECK. Plus the virus?! Every single breath we took during this series basically is a gasp, because it just keeps shocking us at every turn!!
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

 


What books have literally had you gasping out loud? Let us know in the comments!
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