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Books Set in the 2010s

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We are nearing the end of the Decades Reading Challenge and we’ve worked our way up to the 2010s.

You can read all about the challenge, download your free printable reading tracker, and find book lists for other decades here.

As always, we welcome you to choose any book you like that is set in the decade, but to help you get started, we’ve compiled a great list of books set in the 2010s. Our fiction recommendations include works of drama, romance, comedy, and young adult literature that provide insights into the culture and social issues of the decade. Several memoirs and non-fiction books also closely examine life in the second decade of the new millennium.

24 Books Set in the 2010s - text over obsured covers

The 2020s has already been such a news-filled decade that it’s almost hard to remember the events dominating the twenty-tens. There was a rising focus on new and lingering inequalities both in America and around the world that led to both strife and progress. Mass shootings and natural disasters permeated throughout the decade and American politics became increasingly divisive.

In the 2010s, social media use evolved from a simple way to stay connected with friends into an easy way to influence strangers. Sometimes it’s good, like our ability to share favorite books with you right now and the money raised for ALS research during the Ice Bucket Challenge. However, the full negative ramifications of social media are also still being learned, from increased teen suicide to misinformation spreading like wildfire during elections.

Along the way, there were fundamental changes in how we travel and vacation through the creation of the sharing economy and companies like Uber and AirBNB. Alternative energies became more advanced and many companies became more aware of their environmental impacts. We learned more about the harm of things like single-use plastics. We have a ways to go, but we’re doing a better job protecting the earth in 2019 than we were when the decade started.


Before recommending books from each decade, we like to provide historical context with an overview of the major events of the time, but if you’d prefer, feel free to scroll straight to our book list.

  • A January 2010 earthquake near Haiti’s capital, followed by more than 50 aftershocks, caused catastrophic damage to the island nation.
  • In April 2010, Apple launched the first generation iPad. While the iPad was not the very first tablet PC, it’s immediate popularity gave rise to numerous competitors.
  • The 2010 underground explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia killed 29 miners.
  • The Tea Party movement, representing conservative populist social and political views, first began in 2009 but gained significant support and popularity during the 2010 mid-term elections.
  • An underwater 9.0 magnitude earthquake of the coast of Japan in March 2011 caused a tsunami with waves over 130 feet high. Damage from the earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
  • England’s Prince William married Catherine Middleton in April of 2011. The royal wedding was seen by an estimated 22.8 million television viewers around the world. Seven years later, in May of 2018, William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, married American Meghan Markle before a television audience of more than 29 million.
  • In September of 2011, Occupy Wall Street began as a march through the streets of the Financial District of NYC and turned into a months-long sit-in at a park near the New York Stock Exchange. This protest movement, centered around issues of social and economic inequality, greed, and corruption, gained attention on social media and gave rise to other Occupy movements in the US and around the world.
  • England’s Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, marking 60 years since her 1952 ascension to the throne.
  • In July of 2012, “Gangnam Style” – the music video for the song by South Korean musician, Psy, became the first YouTube video to ever reach one billion views, and launched a worldwide dance craze.
  • On December 14, 2012, a 20-year old man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and killed 26 people, including 20 kids between the ages of six and seven. This was just one of many horrific episodes of gun violence that marred the decade. Others included the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado that killed 12 and injured more than 70 others; the 2015 shooting of nine parishioners during a church prayer group in Charleston, South Carolina by a young white-supremisist; the 2017 murder of 58 people attending a music festical in Las Vegas at the hands of a gunman in a 32nd-floor hotel room window who also injured hundreds of others. and 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which the teen gunman killed 17 and injured 17 others.
  • During the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon, two brothers detonated bombs that killed three and injured 264. A massive manhunt for the suspects of the Boston Marathon bombing ensued over the following four days.
  • A devastating EF-5 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma in May of 2013 ravaged the town and destroyed the elementary school. It was the deadliest tornado in the US since the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado that killed 158 people.
  • In 2013, several activists started using the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teen Trayvon Martin. The hashtag became a national movement that gained additional traction during the protests that followed the 2014 deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City, who were both killed during encounters with the police.
  • Throughout the 2010s, social media became a popular way to raise money for charities. In the summer of 2014, the viral Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $115 million for ALS research, and those funds aided in the discovery of a new ALS gene.
  • Following the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, same-sex marriage became legal in all fifty states in June of 2015.
  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton, the former First Lady, became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. She ran against businessman Donald Trump who ultimately won the 2016 Presidential Election with a large electoral college victory despite losing the popular vote by 2.8 million voters. 
  • In 2016, Britons voted to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union in what came to be known as Brexit. The deadline to approve a withdrawal plan was extended several times, and Parliamnet’s opposition to the proposed deal led to the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019. 
  • In January of 2017, on the first Day of Donald Trump’s presidency, more than 5 millions people protested in support of gender equality and civil rights. The Women’s March – which was actually more the 600 marches across the world –  was the largest single-day demonstration in US history.
  • For the first time since 1918, a total solar eclipse was visible across the entire United States in August of 2017. 
  • In the fall of 2017, the US territory of Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes in a matter of weeks. Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria both pummelled the island, devastating the island’s infrastructure and resulting in the deaths of more than 4,600 people.
  • The #MeToo hashtag went viral on social media beginning in October of 2017, following sexual abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The hashtag turned into a feminist movement and became a rallying cry for millions of women who shared their own stories and experiences with sexual harrasment and sexual abuse.
  • Following a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the US House of Representatives approved Articles of Impeachment against President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Following a trial in the senate, the President was acquitted in a vote that fell largely on party lines.

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Sarah Vogel

Saturday 7th of November 2020

I recently finished "The Last Flight" and would recommend it if you like lots of twists and turns ! Thanks for all the great recommendations, as usual, Gals !!! (PS. ALL 3 of the the "Crazy Rich Asians" books are great!! Better than the movie, always !!)