Hockey romance books have turn into in style on BookTok, and for some followers, this prolonged right into a love of the actual sport.
Romance books are extra in style than ever, with NPD Bookscan discovering that print gross sales for the style elevated 51% in 2022, in response to Bloomberg.
A lot of that progress may be traced again to TikTok, the place readers have fun romance books on a nook of the app referred to as BookTok. Over eight billion movies have been posted with the #romancebooks tag on the app, and you could find TikTok creators recommending romance books underneath quite a lot of subgenres, comparable to fantasy love tales, small-town romances, and even cowboy rom-coms.
In 2023, romance books about hockey gamers took the app by storm. So far, the hashtag #hockeybook has been used 64.4 million instances on TikTok, #hockeybooks has been used 52.5 million instances, and #hockeybooktook was used 23.3 million instances.
Some readers’ love of books about hockey gamers seems to have morphed right into a love of the sport itself, with individuals changing into followers of groups or gamers after they dove into the style.
BookToker Kierra Lewis says she grew to become keen on hockey after studying “Pucking Round” by Emily Rath in April 2023.
Lewis, 27, has 1.1 million followers on TikTok and gained her following by reacting to and recommending romance books. Lewis didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for touch upon this story.
In April, she posted a sequence of movies about her expertise studying Rath’s novel, an grownup romance ebook a couple of bodily therapist who dates a number of gamers from the identical hockey crew. Lewis particularly celebrated how sexually express the ebook was in her video, advising individuals to not learn it in public.
The ebook appeared to spur Lewis’ curiosity in actual hockey gamers. On April 26, she posted a video with images of the “hottest males in hockey.”
The identical day, she posted two movies with clips of hockey gamers warming up, joking in regards to the stretches gamers did earlier than their video games.
Lewis began posting in regards to the Seattle Kraken hockey crew, focusing her movies on the particular gamers she discovered engaging.
Lewis posted vlogs of herself watching Seattle Kraken video games, and her commentary all through the video games centered on how engaging she discovered the gamers.
She additionally appeared to take a particular curiosity in Kraken participant Alex Wennberg, 28. He was featured in her first video in regards to the hottest males of hockey, and he or she particularly talked about how engaging she finds him in a number of movies, including the tag #alexwennberg to movies posted on April 27 and 29.
Lewis additionally used the phrase “krak my again” in her movies, referencing the crew and the phrase “break my again,” a sexual innuendo.
Representatives for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL, Alex Wennberg, and his spouse Felicia Wennberg, 28, didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.
The Seattle Kraken leaned into BookTok’s love of hockey movies and Lewis’ consideration particularly.
The Kraken caught wind of Lewis’ movies, which had been racking up a whole bunch of 1000’s of views.
The crew’s official TikTok account commented on a number of of her movies, showing to encourage her curiosity within the crew and its gamers.
The crew commented “vitality unmatched” and “let’s gooooo” on two of Lewis’ movies on April 28. The feedback, considered by Insider, had been nonetheless on the web page on the time of writing.
As well as, the Kraken leaned into BookTok’s curiosity in hockey romance books by itself web page, altering its bio to “principally Booktok” and posting movies of gamers strolling in gradual movement.
The Kraken crew invited Lewis to attend one among its playoff video games on Might 9, gifting her a customized crew jersey that stated “BookTok.”
On July 28, Alex’s spouse Felicia posted an Instagram story saying she was uncomfortable with the movies BookTokers had been making about her husband, together with a screenshot from one among Lewis’ movies.
When Alex first grew to become in style on BookTok, Felicia admitted she was supportive of the eye.
However on July 28, she posted two Instagram tales sharing that she had turn into uncomfortable with the way in which some individuals talked about her husband on the app.
“So I’ve joked earlier than and referred to as my husband BookTok’s w*nkb*nk and truthfully didn’t thoughts,” she stated in her first story, which confirmed a principally coated screenshot of a video of Alex warming up. “I at all times thought Alex was probably the most lovely individual on this planet and that it simply appears the world lastly caught as much as it.”
She went on to say that she thinks some TikTok customers’ content material about Alex had “crossed the road” and turn into “predatory and exploiting.”
Within the second video, she posted a screenshot of the remark part of one among Lewis’ movies, which confirmed Alex stretching his groin and has since been deleted. Lewis’ title was seen within the screenshot.
“What would not sit with me is when your wishes include sexual harassment, inappropriate feedback and the truth that with the web we are able to normalize conduct that may by no means be okay if we flipped the genders round to a man doing this to a feminine athlete,” Felicia wrote on Instagram. “I imply no hate on the BookTok group just a bit request for individuals to suppose twice about their feedback/movies or chanting ‘krak my again’ at people with emotions.”
On July 29, Lewis posted what many assume was a response video.
Lewis captioned her first response video “I am so pissed,” saying her feedback had been “jokes.”
“It is pissing me off these Fb individuals need to come to TikTok and make us take this app significantly,” she stated.
Lewis appeared to confer with Felicia, telling followers she was “being dragged” by somebody who as soon as stated “my husband is the BookTok’s panty dropper.”
Lewis additionally stated her movies had been “only for enjoyable.”
After the Kraken unfollowed her, Lewis posted extra movies in regards to the scenario and stated she had reached out to Felicia.
In the identical video the place she shared that the Kraken unfollowed her, Lewis once more appeared to voice anger in direction of Felicia with out naming her, saying that somebody who “was feeding into the entire BookTok factor” was “switching sides.”
She reiterated that she thinks of her content material as a “fucking joke” and stated she did not like that sports activities groups use BookTok “for clout.”
“I am pissed the fuck off,” she stated, including that she was “blindsided” by the scenario, notably as a result of she had not made movies about Alex since Might. She additionally stated she reached out to Felicia straight to debate the scenario however did not get a response.
Lewis posted screenshots of what seemed to be Instagram messages to Felicia in a follow-up video. In her messages, she stated she “by no means meant any hurt” and defined the place the phrase “krack my again” stemmed from.
Lewis additionally messaged Felicia that she was “confused” by the scenario and stated she had by no means messaged Alex.
“I by no means dm and even adopted your husband. However now evidently I am the brand new goal since my title is in your story,” she wrote to Felicia.
Lewis launched her personal assertion calling out Felicia and the Seattle Kraken on her TikTok on July 29.
Lewis posted three extra TikTok movies in regards to the scenario after Felicia launched her second assertion.
In each movies, she voiced frustration that the Kraken unfollowed her with no warning after beforehand encouraging her content material and that Felicia had solely singled out her account in her story. In her third video, Lewis posted her personal written assertion.
“On Thursday, Alex Wennberg’s spouse (Felicia Wennberg) made a publish not solely attacking Booktok however me as an individual,” the assertion stated. “She slanders my title by calling me a sexual harasser in reference to a saying that was clearly performed off of the Seattle Kraken title ‘Krack My Again.’ Not solely did she miss the joke of it being a spin off of ‘Break My Again’ however she purposelessly included my title on her Instagram story which result in me receiving hate from her following.”
Lewis stated she had reached out to Felicia to apologize and supply an answer comparable to deleting all of the movies, however she by no means obtained a response.
The assertion went on to say that the Seattle Kraken’s TikTok gained 60,000 followers after she attended their playoff sport and had at all times appeared to encourage her movies.
“As an alternative of messaging me and explaining what was occurring, the Kraken social media crew simply coated their tracks by deleting all movies associated to Booktok and Wennberg,” Lewis stated. “So I then went to TikTok to defend myself and clarify my aspect of the story.”
In the end, BookTok was cut up, and Lewis and Felicia had been each harassed on-line.
Because the scenario unfolded, BookTokers took it upon themselves to harass each Lewis and Felicia on their social media platforms relying on who they thought was within the unsuitable.
They each acquired damaging feedback in regards to the scenario on their current posts, with some individuals telling Lewis her content material was inappropriate and others saying Felicia was unsuitable for singling out Lewis.
As well as, individuals voiced skepticism for the Seattle Kraken, pointing to the crew’s interactions with Lewis and its deleted movies that appeared to sexualize the gamers.
On Wednesday, Lewis returned to posting her regular TikTok content material after a three-day hiatus.
On Sunday, Lewis posted a video saying she was going to be shifting on from the scenario to deal with her regular content material.
“They could have had your woman down for a second, however one factor about me child, i’mma stand up and are available 10 instances fucking tougher,” she stated.
She posted a video of a $500 ebook haul on Sunday, after which on Wednesday, shared a video of herself reacting to a scene in “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros.
She additionally commented “and we again” on the video, her solely acknowledgment of the controversy.