I read some truly great books this year. I also read some books that were… not so great. I’m not saying these books are bad, per se, they’re just books I wanted to like and didn’t. Most of the books on this list are ones I didn’t like, but a few of those are ones I know a lot of people absolutely loved. These are just my opinions, and I do hope you enjoyed some of these books more than I did. Without further ado, here are my most disappointing reads of the year (in the order in which I read them):
Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I… don’t like this book. To be fair, I did enjoy reading it; I was interested enough in the story to keep reading, and wouldn’t say I hated the process of reading this book. However, after I finished reading it, I realized how bad the story actually is. I think it has some really terrible messages for young readers, and they’re presented in a way that isn’t entirely obvious (which isn’t great). I didn’t think the writing, or any other element, was good enough to save it in my opinion.
Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves. This book was just boring. Which is particularly disappointing since there is a lot of ‘action’. It felt very stereotypical YA fantasy, and I lost interest pretty quickly.
A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown. This one wasn’t bad at all, it just didn’t live up to my expectations. I wasn’t totally interested in all of the stories, and I really just wanted more from it.
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit. I went into this book thinking I would get a funny memoir about mansplaining, but it didn’t feel new at all. I’ve heard all of these anecdotes – or nearly identical ones – already, and I wasn’t impressed with this book at all.
Golden House by Salman Rushdie. To be fair, I went into this book knowing I wasn’t a huge fan of Rushdie’s writing, but I was hoping to enjoy it, because when does a major author write a satire about the sitting US president? Unfortunately, I didn’t love the writing, and thus, the book.
Rose & Poe by Jack Todd. I really enjoyed The Tempest and was looking forward to this retelling. What I got was a weird novel that came off as uncomfortably sexist. To the point where I didn’t care what the author’s intention was, because I was almost too uncomfortable to make it through this book.
The Magician King by Lev Grossman. I did enjoy The Magicians, but I’ve noticed that my opinion of Lev Grossman’s writing has definitely changed (I think it has something to do with grad school). I didn’t like the writing all that much, but I also thought the story was just really tedious and annoying.
The Bear and the Nightingle by Katherine Arden. This is my biggest disappointment of the year, because I thought I was going to love this book. It hurts me to say that I didn’t like it, because I actually thought it was a good book, I just personally had a lot of trouble connecting to it. I might give it another try eventually, but for now, it’s not a favorite.
What book disappointed you the most this year?