The 5 Most Disappointing Books I’ve Read So Far in 2020: Happy National Book Lover Day!

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!

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LIKE A LOVE STORY

Like a Love StoryThis 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.

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COME TUMBLING DOWN

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)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.

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RUNNING WITH LIONS

Running With LionsI 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.

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HARLEY IN THE SKY

Harley in the SkyThe first note I wrote down after finishing the book was “I didn’t care about the characters or anything that happened. that’s it that’s the review” and like… genuinely, this is how I feel about it.

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.”

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THE MIDNIGHT LIE

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1)I know, blasphemy.

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!!

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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  The Rise of Kyoshi (The Kyoshi Novels, #1)  Love From A to Z  In Other Lands

  • 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!)


shall we chat

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!!

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64 thoughts on “The 5 Most Disappointing Books I’ve Read So Far in 2020: Happy National Book Lover Day!

  1. May I’m lowkey living for this salty energy and I haven’t read like any of these but this post is amazing lmao. But I’m also sad for you that you didn’t like any of these ones. My most disappointing has to be Only Mostly Devastated because I… wasted like 6 months of anticipation and then 3 days of my life. Trudged through that disaster and literally did not get the point? Anyways, I would like to give Midnight Lie a shot at some point. Give me a few years to ACTUALLY pick up another high fantasy lmao. But also SUPER hyped about You Should See Me In A Crown and Love From A to Z. And Poppy War obvs. But again, gimme a few years. I’m so terrible wow

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    1. ah ruby!! i’m so glad you enjoyed this post ❤ and oh no, i'm sorry to hear that you were disappointed by only mostly devastated! i've heard great things about it overall, it sucks that it didn't live up to your expectations 😦 i hope you love you should see me in a crown and love from a to z — they both were truly fantastic books!! but YES READ THE POPPY WAR

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  2. I really loved the romance in The Midnight Lie not gonna lie (yes I know it’s lame & I’m sorry). The banter was the best part of it in my opinion. That said, I was lowkey disappointed in the end because I wanted something else haha. It’s still super interesting though and I want to see how it plays out (especially with the romance!).

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    1. the romance in the midnight lie was so good!! i wish i’d been as interested in… the other aspects of the book lmao. and oh, i think you’re the only person i know who didn’t like the ending! i really like dark things so you know… that kind of ending was something i loved haha. but i hope we both love the sequel! ❤

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  3. Hmm my most disappointing read this year most likely is The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I had high hopes for this one because of the glowing review I read from bloggers I follow plus it has the ingredients of books I would love so it’s a bummer really when I just ended up not enjoying the story and the characters that much. It was pretty forgettable too.

    As for my most surprising read that’d be The Boy Who Saw In Colours!! I didn’t expect too much when I went into the story but it ended up breaking me to pieces and I was so devastated!!

    Also I’ve had In Other Lands on my tbr for so long now I almost forgot it if not for you mentioning the book in this post 🙈

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  4. My biggest disappointment is for sure 10 Thing I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon. I was honestly crushed when I finished this book because I wanted to love it but at this point I’m literally like meh. I adore Sandhya but this book was a huge mess and literally, nothing struck a chord with me??? It honestly felt like the author was in a completely different state of mind when she wrote this book and I’m lowkey gonna pretend it doesn’t exist lol. fortunately, I’m not the only one but this is still a minority opinion.

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  5. Aah, May, I’m so happy that you’re upkeeping such a beautiful tradition and I already can’t wait to see next year’s most disappointing books post! 😂 fdalh Like a Love Story was soooo disappointing! Especially because before reading it I didn’t see any reviews pointing out issues or giving it a less than stellar review 😥 Ooh, so I love the *concept* of the Wayward Children series, but I read the first book and it just wasn’t so great? I’ve loved all of Seanan McGuire’s other books that I’ve read, but this series just doesn’t seem to be it.

    🥺🥰 You Should See Me in a Crown and Rise of Kyoshi!! I still have to read In Other Lands! I did take it out from the library based on your recommendation ages ago, but I’m trash so it expired without me reading it 😪 so this is a great reminder for me to take it out again! I hope that the rest of your year is filled with more positive surprises and less disappointments!! (bookwise and otherwise) ❤❤

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  6. I think my most disappointing book of the year is We Hunt The Flame… I know, I know, everyone loves it but I didn’t understand it, there was no action (for me) and the romance and villains are just meh… and a book that totally surprised me was Lobizona, I don’t enjoy books about werewolves and stuff like that but I LOVED IT!

    Love your post, take care! 🙂

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  7. Ahh, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy these (but yay for the ones that surprised you)!! The only one I’ve read is Harley in the Sky, and I can definitely see why you didn’t like it. I was kind of meh about it until the last quarter, which is when I started to get into it, but for a while I was not into it at all. As for what disappointed me this year- Shadow and Bone (I probably should have seen that one coming though) and…sadly Cinderella is Dead. I still liked it, but I was expecting to love it.😭

    I hope you read some very not disappointing books in the second half of 2020! xx

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  8. okay may this whole post is a mood and i love your snarky side!! 😌 i’ve heard so many good things about like a love story, but the questionable content sounds really bad 😳 i loved summer bird blue and really want to check out akemi dawn bowman’s other novels, but i’m sad to hear that you didn’t enjoy harley in the sky 😭😭 i’ve read many amazing reviews for starfish, though, and i can’t wait to read it!

    ahh you should see me in a crown was amazing, i agree that it had a bit of a slow start but i found myself loving it towards the end too!! i’m currently reading love from a to z and it’s so adorable 🥺 i can’t wait to finish it, especially after reading your thoughts!

    i’m so sorry that you had some big disappointments, but i’m glad that you were able to find a few pleasant surprises too! i loved reading this 🥰🥰

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  9. I’m so sad that you didn’t like Harley in the Sky. Truly a devastating event for my persona 😔
    I think my biggest disappointments so far have been Cemetery Boys and We Unleash the Merciless Storm and every time I think about them, I’m just in Pain™️ 😩

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  10. I’ve honestly been so scared to check out The Midnight Lie because I’ve been seeing such mediocre reviews. I’m still debating if I will read it since I did really love the Winners trilogy…

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  11. Noo I’m so sad about Harley in the Sky! I love the author & it’s a book I was so excited about. I haven’t seen many reviews of this book at all, though, so that worries me, too 😭😭

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  12. I love this idea for a post so much on book lover day 😂 I’m so sorry these books disappointed you so much though. I’m sad about Harley in the Sky, I’ve loved Starfish by the author and have been looking forward to reading more! But I get it: sometimes there are books you read and you just…. can’t seem to care? It’s frustrating, but well 😂

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  13. like a love story was definitely the weirdest read. i truly expected to love it, considering how high the goodreads average rating is, and i still think it is an important book, especially for my generation, since we’re frankly not educated enough on how hard the aids crisis was on the queer community during the 80s. but at the same time, there were so many weird and problematic statements that were never properly challenged. and the pacing was the worst – i don’t know who agreed it would be a great idea to have the two mains have sex in the episode NEXT to a main character’s death but it was terrible.

    i think my most disappointing book of the year would have to be i was born for this by alice oseman. i was really expecting to love that one, because i love myself boybands as well, but it made me feel pretty terrible about myself i ended up having to DNF it.

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  14. Ahh, I love this post so much and the fact that you posted it on National Book Lover Day? *chef’s kiss* I went into Wayward Children expecting greatness, but I haven’t yet continued the series past the first book, and I doubt I ever will. I felt like the plot was so weirdly developed and paced, and I couldn’t for the life of me care about any of the characters.

    I really liked You Should See Me in a Crown and I absolutely adore Love From A To Z, so I’m glad to see those mentioned as good surprises. 😀 My most disappointing reads are Red Rising (DNFed really-really early on), or If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane. I expected so much better from those. :/

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  15. You’re right, you’re probably the only person I’ve seen so far who didn’t enjoy Like a Love Story (which I haven’t read yet), but judging from your comments, I’d be uncomfortable too! I can overlook one or two weird comments in a book I otherwise like, but if there were that many, I think it’d be hard for me to get past.

    I haven’t read You Should See Me In a Crown yet because the waiting list at my library is so long, but I can’t wait to pick it up! It looks absolutely adorable!

    Like

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