Literary Disappointments

Is there anything worse for a bookworm than a disappointing book?

Whether it’s a book that doesn’t go anywhere; a book that starts off well only to fall apart later; or a book that was simply over-hyped, however they disappoint, it can be really frustrating realising you’ve wasted precious hours of your life on a story that failed to inspire you.

So, with that in mind, here are a selection of books that disappointed me, that you might want to think twice about reading in the future.

Beware, I’m about to get controversial in 3…2…1…

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Why not throw myself right into the lion’s den with this, my first choice:
The Selection by Kiera Cass.

I read this book solely because of the hype surrounding it, only picking it up last summer because by that point the series had reached it’s fifth book, and so there had to be something worth reading there, right?

Well, it’s fair to say, I really didn’t get the hype.

It’s essentially a royal version of The Bachelor*, set in a dystopian America.

I can understand why some readers might love it, and perhaps if I had been 10/ 15 years younger I might’ve loved it too, but as it is, I just don’t think it was meant for me.

I found it too fluffy, even though it was clearly trying to be something more than that, instead of just accepting it’s fluffiness, which might have made it less annoying.

It was over-long; the fact that there are four more books to this story completely confounds me, because this story could, and probably should, have been wrapped up in one.

And finally, it has one of the most frustrating lead protagonists I’ve ever encountered, who really needs to talk to a therapist about her self-esteem issues (and that’s coming from someone who talks to a therapist about her self-esteem issues).

*

red-queen-victoria-aveyard

Next up, possibly the most over-hyped book in recent years:
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

For about a year prior to release, this book was being proclaimed by publishers and ARC reviewers alike, that it was going to be the next big thing, and perhaps that was why I was disappointed, because it needed to be pretty amazing to live up to expectations, and, put simply, it wasn’t.

The general basis for the story is a world where people are divided into Silvers: rich; magical; upper-class, and Reds: poor; powerless; lower-class, until Mare, a Red discovers she has the powers of a Silver, thus throwing the entire system into disarray.

Nothing about this book is original. In fact, it feels like a cheap knock-off of every dystopian fantasy from the past ten years.

As a result, the story is entirely predictable. There is just nothing new to get excited about, because, well, you’ve read it all before!

*

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Next up we have a book that was not only disappointing, but also problematic:
Holding Up The Universe
by Jennifer Niven

I’ve written about this one before, so I’ll try and keep it brief**, but this book frustrated me, and, quite frankly, angered me, on so many levels.

This is a story about a girl once named “America’s Fattest Teen”, and a boy with Prosopagnosia, which means he can’t remember people’s faces, so he literally couldn’t pick his own family out of a line-up.

The trouble is, it’s essentially a love story, and that’s where the problems start, because here you have a boy who basically becomes obsessed with a girl solely because she’s the only person he can recognise due to the fact that she’s fat.

If that wasn’t problematic enough, at one point he literally physically assaults her in the middle of the school cafeteria.

I couldn’t get past that, because there’s no real apology; he has some pathetic excuse for doing it, but it’s just that, pathetic.

After that, their whole relationship is pretty much entirely based on the fact that she’s the only one he can recognise, and I just kept wanting her to wake up and realise that she deserved so much better.

I was disappointed, but I was also angry, because I know there will be teens out there, who struggle with their weight like I did, who will read this book and think that’s all their worth.

It’s not.

They’re worth so much more.

*

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Last, but by no means any less disappointing:
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I kept hearing about this, and kept hearing about this, and then in the lead up to the publication of the second book in the series, I kept hearing about this so much that I finally read it, and, well, I really do not get why I kept hearing about this!

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Cassie is trying to save her little brother from the very aliens who have destroyed their world.

This book actually starts off quite well, which I think is why it was ultimately such a disappointment.

I was hooked; for the first third of the book it was enjoyable, not exactly great literature, but it was a good, fun, post-apocalyptic thriller.

Then, however, our lead character, who up until this point has been really focused and determined on saving her younger brother, suddenly meets a guy she likes, and she goes from being a pretty ruthless badass warrior woman, doing everything she can to survive the end of the world, to a character from a high school movie that most definitely didn’t pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test.

Of course, when you realise it was written by a middle-aged man, it suddenly makes a lot more sense, because it soon becomes very clear Rick Yancey has no idea how a teenage girl thinks. I’m pretty sure, if the world was ending, even the most lovesick, naive, teenager would be more concerned with saving her younger brother from an alien race, than some pretty guy she just happened to bump into in a shack in the woods!

From this moment on, the book fell apart: reading these characters was like watching humans devolve into cavemen, as they pranced around lamely in a plot filled with more holes than Swiss cheese.

* * * * *

*If you want a less fluffy, albeit still problematic, but more adult version of this storyline, I recommend checking out UnReal Season 1, which is almost exactly this, but with murder, alcohol, and extreme bitching.

**I failed.

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