For some reason, I was scrolling through my old posts the other day.
I don’t know what overcame me, since my old posts are horrendous and I hate looking at them. But when I stumbled upon last year’s post where I did this same post, I immediately thought, “I hate myself. I am so insufferable. I am absolutely doing this again.”
So here I am, carrying on the tradition of naming most disappointing books of the year for National Book Lover day, apparently! I’m chaotic and also a mess so why not. I know some people don’t like to be negative towards books, but I personally need some way to get out my frustration about not liking these books, and that’s by complaining <33
Also, I know things are completely different in the blogging world where people are very respectful of others’ opinions, but god, please do not take these as an attack on your person if you love these books!! [insert that “that’s my OPINION” vine]
During the period of time between this post and my last post, there was a fatal explosion in Beirut. If you have the means to, please consider donating to the Lebanese Red Cross and/or share the link with others!
This book was… a mess. If you want to know my full thoughts, read my (very rambly) Goodreads review by clicking on the book title. I’m truly one of the only people I know who’ve read this and didn’t adore this. There were just… so many strange things that happened?
A few things were/came off as transphobic, and the book hardly talked about trans people even though it discussed a movement trans people were vital to. Marsha P Johnson was mentioned once while Madonna got like 20 mentions, there was a character who told another to “get over” a slur, and the straight female main character made creepy comments about gay men.
This is an ownvoices gay Iranian book, and it does talk about great things about queer activism during the American AIDS crisis. I know a lot of people loved it, and I know this story is important to a lot of people. But it just made me feel really uncomfortable.
This is my second lowest rated book of the year! [heart eyes emoji]
It’s been no secret that I’ve struggled to really love the Wayward Children series, despite it being everything that I should love (whimsical magic! theme explorations! representation!). I was enjoying each installment a little more than the previous one, when BAM this one came along and I gave it 1.5 stars.
This book just felt absolutely useless: The plot was barely existent. I read it as an audiobook so when I checked to see how much I had left and saw that I was 70% through, I was genuinely shocked. I was like, how the hell have I gotten 70% through this and absolutely not one notable event has happened?? And then the one exciting event (the climax) lasted 1 second, which just felt even more unfair!
After I finished, I texted my friend who loves this series “what was the point of this book” and I think that about sums up how I feel.
I was really excited about the gay friends to enemies to lovers aspect of this, because that is everything I want in books!! But the development of their romance was done poorly, in my opinion; the basis of it wasn’t strong and you really need a strong foundation with this trope. I wouldn’t call this friends to enemies to lovers at all, actually.
Also. The writing. Oh my god, the writing made me want to slowly scratch a fingernail down my eyeballs, and the humor was just as bad. I also hated that the other characters of the sports team were not developed past maybe one trait. And not to mention how a male character was an asshole towards a girl who likes him but—no! He was just mean because he actually likes the girl back! Yes, I love when that happens to the only female character in the entire book.
There were some positives! I like the idea of a safe space in sports with a supportive team and coach, and bullying and body issues were discussed. But… I just had a very miserable time reading this.
My apathy towards this book is so bad that I don’t even feel super disappointed about not loving it—I’ve loved the author’s other books so much, so you’d think I’d be so sad about it, but I didn’t care about this book enough to even feel anything more than “meh.” This is just very focused on Harley, and when I couldn’t get invested in Harley or her growth, that meant I couldn’t get invested in the book as a whole.
The book as a whole was pretty well-written, especially in terms of Harley’s character and also the tackling of mental health issues! And others have truly loved this. But, as my review notes said (with much eloquence and correct grammar): “I didn’t have problems besides I just literally didn’t care lol.”
I think the hype for this book is really big on twitter, particularly with sapphic book lovers. And while I did like the romance, everything else was just so… meh? I went into it thinking it was going to be a fantastic book, and what I got was a good romance and a fantastically average book.
I didn’t hate this book! I gave it three stars!! But the plot lacked substance for me, and it felt like it was meandering until the very end. Overall, the book felt very forgettable, minus the ending and perhaps a few romantic scenes (which… I wanted so much more of).
I’ll be reading the sequel, since it ended on an interesting note and I’m intrigued to see where it goes. But I’m hoping things will, uh, actually happen in the second book!!
BONUS: BOOKS THAT SURPRISED ME
Because I want to end this more positively, here’s a list of some books that pleasantly surprised me! I of course expected to enjoy these books, but I was surprised by just how much I ended up falling in love with them:
- You Should See Me in a Crown: I talked about this before in my Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag, but I’ll say it again: The whole time I was reading this, I expected a 3-star book, but by the end I’d just loved it so much and gave it 4 stars!!
- The Rise of Kyoshi: I knew I would love this one, because first of all ATLA, second of all (bisexual!) Kyoshi. But oh my god was this GAY!!! The simultaneous tenderness and fierceness of Kyoshi and Rangi’s relationship was my favorite.
- Love from A to Z: This book was just so… heartwarming? I don’t really feel strongly about m/f couples outside of fantasies, but god, I love Adam and Zayneb so MUCH!! Reading this story just made me so happy; there are countless things to love about it.
- In Other Lands: There’s something truly lovable about Elliott, the main character of this book. He’s a disaster bisexual, but he’s also so cleverly hilarious, and I think he really just stole my heart without me expecting it.
- if you all wouldn’t kill me for mentioning The Poppy War everywhere… this is where it would be. she’s here in spirit
(If you’d like to know more of my thoughts on these books, I’ve written Goodreads reviews for all but In Other Lands!)
what are some of your most disappointing books of the year? (don’t be shy, everyone has at least one!) do you have the same or completely opposite opinions? what about books that surprised you?
p.s. reminder that you have a week left to vote in the 2020 Book Blogger Awards!!