Who Needs Sleep? 11 Books That’ll Keep You Up Reading All Night Long

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading.

Twitter: @MissLiberty


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What was the last book that kept you up reading all night? For me, it was Old Soul by Susan Barker, coming out in January of 2025. This horror novel about a mysterious woman who leaves death in her wake had me flipping the pages until I knew all the answers. (It’s also creepy as hell, another reason to keep the lights on!) A book that you can’t put down is widely considered the mark of a great read, and we are lucky to have so many being published every month! To help you whittle down some fantastic choices, we have this list of 11 books that’ll keep you up reading all night long!

These are the first 11 titles that popped into my head when I thought of books I couldn’t put down, not even to sleep. There’s something on the list for everyone! There’s universe-hopping and sentient robots for sci-fi lovers; gripping thrillers and mysteries about kidnappings and killers; a puzzle involving a creepy house and a creature made with grief and love for horror fans; a fabulous revenge fantasy tale; an intense underwater ordeal for adventure fans; an all-consuming story of a love affair for romance readers; and even a weird tale that can only be classified as a WTF journey. Get ready to burn the midnight oil, readers, with these compelling novels!

Cover of All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby; image of an orange full moon seen through tree branches

All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

Titus Crown made history as the first Black sheriff in his Virginia county, but now he is in danger of having that story upstaged by a heinous crime. A teacher killed in a shooting at the high school and a subsequent police shooting stoke flames of outrage and racism. And Crown’s investigation into the incidents leads him down a path that uncovers what just might be a serial killer working right under their noses. I had to keep reading to find out how they missed a serial killer in their midst!

cover of They’re Going To Love You by Meg Howrey; painting of a ballerina sitting on the floor

They’re Going to Love You by Meg Howrey

Growing up, Carlisle Martin wanted to be a ballerina like her mother and her even more famous father, a dance teacher. Her yearly visit to the home he shared with his partner was never enough time for her. When she has the opportunity to stay there for a longer period as a teen and really learn her craft and get to know the two men, an incident that occurs will drive a decades-long wedge between them. This is a heady, compelling story of passions, mistakes, and the possibility of forgiveness. This book gave me all the feels and I couldn’t stop until I had wrung every last bit of beautiful writing from it.

cover of The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean; black with outline of dead flower inside orange outline of a woman

The Return of Ellie Black by Emiko Jean

The disappearance and presumed murder of Ellie Black has weighed heavily on police detective Chelsey Calhoun. Reminded of the death of her own teen sister twenty years earlier, Calhoun can’t seem to let the case go, despite the enormous lack of evidence. But when Ellie turns back up after being gone for so long, Calhoun discovers that how Ellie managed to get back and why she won’t tell anyone where she has been is an even bigger mystery. How could I go to sleep without knowing where Ellie was??!

cover of The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson; image of Black woman walking sideways down the cover across from alternative version of herself

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

The amazing world-building and intricate (but never confusing) plot of this novel had me up past my bedtime. In the future, scientists discover that there are multiple versions of our world and how to travel between them. But there’s a catch: you can only travel to another Earth if the alternate version on that planet is dead. Cara works as a multiverse traveler for a company in the privileged walled area of her country, one that has lifted her out of dire straits. Cara is a great employee because, for some reason, almost all of her alternates are dead, so she can visit many places. But then Cara stumbles upon a conspiracy, one that endangers not just her world, but all the versions of Earth.

cover of Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher; photo of a woman covered in ivy with her back to the camera

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

When Marra, a princess living at a convent, learns about a prince who has harmed her older sisters, she decides to do something about it. She’s going to kill him. But this prince is guarded by a spell of protection. As she sets out toward his kingdom, she must complete three impossible tasks to make his death possible. For that, she enlists the help of a bone dog, a former soldier, a fairy godmother, and a witch and her pet chicken (who is possessed by a demon.) This is funny and fast-paced, and why go to bed when you can follow adventures with a demon chicken?!?

cover of We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer; photo of large blue house in snowstorm, with sections slightly askew so the outline doesn't line up

We Used to Live Here by Marcus Kliewer

This recent horror novel will send shivers up your spine and have you shaking in your sheets! It certainly frightened and fascinated me enough to keep me flipping pages until I reached the end. Eve and Charlie are a young couple who flip houses for a living. But their newest acquisition is proving to be more formidable than the others. One night, while Charlie is in town getting supplies, a family knocks on the door. The father tells Eve he grew up in the house. He and his wife and children are moving to a new place, but could he please show them around his childhood home first? Eve is apprehensive, but also a lifelong people-pleaser, so she agrees to let the strangers inside. Soon, the family has overstayed their welcome, and the tour drags on into the night. Eve starts to worry about Charlie and why she isn’t home yet, and then a sudden freak blizzard keeps the family from being able to leave. And things just get weirder from there. I couldn’t stop until I got the (scary) answers!

cover of The Hike by Drew Magary; black with yellow and orange font and an illustration of a blue crab in the middle

The Hike by Drew Magary

This is such a fun book to read that I didn’t want to put it down because there was really no way of knowing what was going to happen next. It’s like Alice in Wonderland for grownups! It’s completely bananapants. Ben is a husband and father away on a business trip in rural Pennsylvania when a brief walk on a path behind his hotel to stretch his legs turns into the wildest, most perplexing time of his life. Soon after departing on his hike, Ben realizes he can’t seem to get back to his hotel. And then he starts to meet creatures not of our world, including a foul-mouthed crab. The passage of time and distance stops making sense, and Ben begins to think he is never coming back from the hike.

cover of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna; illustration of white house on hill will yellow car in driveway, and an Indian woman in a yellow dress riding a broom across the night sky

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

It is true that witches exist in the world, but there are not very many. And witch rules dictate that they cannot live near one another for fear of too much magic in one place. But the witch rules don’t dictate that you can’t pretend to be a witch on YouTube. That’s how lonely witch Mika Moon is found by the guardian of three young witches, who have been living off the radar. Mika is offered the job of moving to their hidden home and teaching the girls how to harness their magic, which she accepts. And soon, her life is changed by laughter and love — everything she has always wanted. I had to stay up all night with these witches because I was completely invested in Mika and her found family, and I wanted to make sure everything turned out okay for all of them. (Especially her adorable dog.)

cover of Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman; image of an airplane flying straight down

Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421 by T.J. Newman

If you are afraid of flying, this might not be the book for you. It’s the claustrophobic story — written by a former flight attendant — about a commercial flight that crashed into the Pacific Ocean just after takeoff. The plane quickly sinks into the sea, taking several trapped passengers with it. These people are alive, thanks to the seals on the doors and windows, leaving a small space to breathe in the cabin. But as the seals start to leak, the water inside rises, and the plane threatens to slide off an ocean shelf to a tremendous depth. The terrified passengers will have to figure out a way to get out before it’s too late. I couldn’t stop reading it, because it was so compelling and terrifying, and also, what if it held important information that I could use one day??! (It’s hard to get me on a plane, but it can’t hurt to learn more tricks to get out of one.) Also, I wanted to know if everyone would make it out alive, because I’m a little morbid like that.

cover of Monstrilio by Gerardo Samano Cordova; painting of a gray bat creature with red eyes

Monstrilio by Gerardo Sámano Córdova

When Magos loses her young son to illness, she is, of course, overcome with grief. It’s in that state does something rash: she cuts off a small piece of her son’s body. Remembering an old folktale from her childhood, she puts the piece in a jar in her closet. And sure enough, soon the piece starts to grow. Then it takes on form, and skin and hair, and begins to grow. Though the thing in the jar may have grown from her son, it is still not her son. But Magos can’t bring herself to harm it, and Monstrilio continues to grow — and gain an inhuman appetite. He may be a little monster, but I was still charmed by Monstrilio and the love Magos had for him. I couldn’t set the book down without finding out if everything turned out okay for them.

cover of All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1); illustration of metal security bot, with plate armor and helmet

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) by Martha Wells

This award-winning novella is the start to a hilarious, exciting series about a curmudgeonly self-aware security bot. Murderbot, as it calls itself, was rented out to scientists to protect them during space explorations. Somehow, in its existence, it gained sentience, which it works to hide from humans so it isn’t destroyed. Murderbot wants nothing more than to be left alone to watch its stories, which it streams in its helmet. It thinks the humans are annoying. But still, it can’t help but begrudgingly come to their rescue when they are in trouble. Pesky little flesh bags. This book is so much fun that I didn’t want it to end, but I really couldn’t put it down until the last page because we learn there’s also a mystery in Murderbot’s background. I had to know what it was!

Looking for the next amazing read to keep you up all night? Be sure to check out Book Riot’s stable of podcasts and newsletters featuring great books in a variety of genres, and to tailor your interests even more, sign up for Tailored Book Recommendations, picked just for you!

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