Friends For Life
two friends who met on BookTok reading together

I Planned A Reading Retreat With My BookTok Besties

@madispageturners details her weekend at an ACOTAR-inspired Airbnb with her online BFFs.

If you’re a BookTok enthusiast, you know this special corner of TikTok often brings avid readers together. BookTok creator Madi, 25, from Galveston, Texas, accidentally met two of her best friends through the platform. After Madi, and fellow BookTokers Emily, 25, from Dallas, and Mikah, 26, from Oklahoma, had a virtual book club for six months, the trio finally moved their friendship out of the group chat with a weekend reading retreat centered around one of their favorite authors.

In this as-told-to, Madi explains how she met her BookTok besties and how their IRL retreat further solidified their friendship.

Like many Gen Zers, I was initially sucked into BookTok through the Sarah J. Maas universe — most notably her five-book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. Once I started watching TikToks about the fantastical world of Prythian, I couldn’t stop.

After flying through ACOTAR in January 2023, I devoured Maas’ other books, which reignited my love for reading. I immediately followed a variety of BookTok creators on TikTok and Instagram, most of whom created content about romance, fantasy, romantasy, and thriller books. Fast forward a few months, and I became a fully-fledged BookTok creator myself. The best part? It felt like one big book club. Over time (and without really trying), I created my own little book community of fellow ACOTAR enthusiasts.


I met my first BookTok bestie purely by accident — I unintentionally DMed Emily a “wave” emoji on Instagram in February 2023 while checking out her Instagram, to which she shockingly responded right away. We started chatting and quickly realized how much we have in common; she is also obsessed with all things ACOTAR, we have similar hobbies, and we’re both teachers.

After a few days of DMing, Emily virtually introduced me to her friend Mikah (whom she also met via BookTok bonding over ACOTAR), and we all did a “buddy read” of Divine Rivals, the first book in Rebecca Ross’ Letters Of Enchantment duology. We read the novel on our own time and FaceTimed once we finished, and the conversation led to just laughing and chatting about life. Through debriefing the novel, we bonded, and I realized they’re the kindest girls with lovely personalities. It took no effort at all to connect with them.

Following six months of more virtual book clubs and catch-ups on FaceTime, we were finally able to schedule an in-person meet-up. I had casually linked up with Emily once before in Houston, but I had never met Mikah. Instead of just grabbing coffee, Mikah proposed going all-out for our first meeting with a private book retreat. She suggested renting an Airbnb and getting away for a few days around the release date of Maas’ highly-anticipated final Crescent City book, House of Flame and Shadow. So, this year, the weekend after the book came out on Jan. 30, that’s exactly what we did.

We went with [the Airbnb] because it reminded us of The House of Wind from ACOTAR.

We FaceTimed a lot to organize the trip. We also had a collaborative Pinterest board where we pinned meal ideas, games we wanted to play, drink recipes, crafting ideas, and more. We even started a shared playlist on Spotify. After endless scrolling through Airbnb options, we settled on a house in Dallas — the most convenient location for the three of us — with funky paint colors and motifs throughout the halls. We went with it because it reminded us of The House of Wind from ACOTAR, where Feyre paints all over the walls (IYKYK). This inspired us to title the retreat, “A Weekend At The House Of Wind.”

Once it came time to unite at our Airbnb, meeting in person felt surreal. As soon as we stepped out of our cars, Micah gave me the biggest hug. After we shed a few happy tears and shared our excitement, we headed to our nearest Trader Joe’s to stock up on snacks and charcuterie board ingredients to fuel us throughout our reading marathon. Then, we checked into our Airbnb and kickstarted our weekend getaway with homemade lemon chicken orzo soup and a night of crafting — we made necklaces using charms that reminded us of our favorite books.

The next morning, we got an early start on our full reading day. Given we planned our entire weekend around Maas’ latest release, we chose House of Flame and Shadow as our first and only book. The book is a brick (848 pages, to be exact), so we read Part 1 before our vacation on our own and then spent all day Saturday reading the rest together on the couch.


To stay awake and alert, we chowed down on our huge charcuterie board, and Emily made us hot tea to keep us cozy and caffeinated. We needed the full weekend to finish House of Flame and Shadow, but perhaps at our next meetup, we’ll add another story or two to the lineup.

Reading took up most of our time, especially because we often paused to discuss and react to certain plot points in real time. We talked about the character development, the point-of-view changes, some of the crossover elements that we liked and didn’t like, and compared it to Mass’ previous works.

Once we finished, we all rated the novel on our Goodreads — I gave it four stars, while Emily and Mikah gave it three. We all agreed that Maas created one of our favorite literary universes with some of the best characters, but there were some things in the book we would’ve liked to have seen done differently, like the romantic relationships.

When we weren’t reading, we also added some bonding time to the itinerary. Between Emily’s crepes, our discussions, and the TikTok and Instagram content we filmed (like “What We Ate In A Weekend,” reading essential breakdowns, and charm necklace tutorials), it was the weekend of my dreams.

Looking back, one of my favorite memories was sitting at the dining room table and making necklaces together. As we clasped on various personalized charms, we talked about everything — and I mean everything. With each conversation, I felt lucky to have such wholesome friendships with people I admire so much.

We are definitely going to plan another retreat, hopefully for this summer. I’m moving to Austin soon, which is another fantastic city to host a girls’ weekend, so I’m hoping that’s our next destination. All this to say? I can’t wait to be back with my girls.

This as-told-to was edited and condensed for clarity.