My Least Favorites of 2013

I really enjoyed Maggie’s Worst Books of 2013 list and thought it would be fun to put together a least favorite list of my own as I felt like I read a some pretty unimpressive books this year.  (As you undoubtedly know, this is all a matter of taste, so please don’t be mad when I say I disliked a book that made a lot of “best of” lists this year.)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Ack, the writing in this one was just so tedious, occasionally even bad.  There was a part where a character’s face turned from stony to very stony.  And another part where a tarot deck was described in excruciating detail.  And there wasn’t much in the way of plot.  So, really, this was a book you trod through and I am never all that impressed by books that make me trod.

Making Babies by Anne Enright

This book was a gift given to us after the baby was born from a book rep my husband works with.  I was a little turned off by some of the author’s attempts to make universal statements about motherhood that I couldn’t relate to.  Also, it didn’t really jive with my sense of humor.  I wish I could remember more specifically what bothered me so much about this book, but it is probably more telling that I don’t remember a single anecdote from the book.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

Well, my dislike of this book probably derives more from the fact that I read 10 of these Stephanie Plum books in a row and was just plain worn out with them more than anything else.  So, warning, do not overindulge in Stephanie Plum.  Fluffy, silly, formulaic mysteries are wonderful, but only in small doses.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

I’m going to catch some heat for this one, but this book was a total let-down.  I loved Doller’s debut, Something Like Normal.  I had high expectations for this book and it was hyped all over the place.  But I could not connect at all to the main character, Callie.  I did not believe the romance between her and Alex.  And I just had a hard time believing Callie’s motivations for anything or relationships with anyone.  Why did she accept her dad so easily?  I’d think she’d be kicking and screaming and distrustful and incredibly slow to come out of her shell to him.  I believed her loyalty to her mom, but I don’t think Doller went far enough with it.  And Callie’s history of sexual abuse… I’m sorry, I’ve read that story a million times and this didn’t give me anything new or really feel like anything more than excuse for Callie’s promiscuity.  This book just fell flat for me.  I am holding out hope Doller’s future work is more reminiscent of Something Like Normal.

Time Between Us by Tamara Stone

This was a total cheese-fest.  I mean, maybe I should have known a time-traveling romance would be cheesy, but no.  Romance can be done better.  Even time-traveling romance.

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Enh. I really did not care what happened in this book.  It was mediocre and I still don’t believe the bit about star-crossed lovers.  But. hey, it has a pretty cover, so there is that in its favor.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

The main character, Ben, was just a little too weird and depressed for me.  I think I have a real problem with characters (especially those who are in the 35+ age range) who wallow in their sorrows and refuse to move on with their lives.  Especially when the pace of the book is such that you see a lot more wallowing and a lot less moving on.

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Again, a book where the main character is 40ish, depressed, and can’t move on from something that happened 18 years ago.  And there is a decision she makes at the end of the book that I just couldn’t agree with or like and didn’t really find it believable.  The only good thing about this book was it was really educational about Ivy League admissions.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I didn’t finish this one.  It started off really intriguing, but Yancey lost me as soon as he switched POVs away from Cassie’s.  It just lost the tension that was driving the story up until that point and I begun not to care at all what was going on with the aliens.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Another DNF for me.  Again, it started out strong, but somewhere towards the middle I stopped caring what was going to happen.  I think the change in POVs away from Ava had something to do with that and the story really started to drag towards the middle.  I like Russell’s writing, but this short story-turned-novel had some trouble making the transition from short to long form.

What were some of your least favorite reads for this year?  Let me know what I should avoid.

5 thoughts on “My Least Favorites of 2013

  1. I love this idea! As you know, I am pretty critical of books and always have least favorites, so here goes: The Eleventh Plague, Mila 2.0, Olive Kitteridge, Requiem, Starry Nights, Such a Rush, Glow, and The Diviiners.

    I read The Eleventh Plague a few days ago on my kindle and struggled to just skim through it! I should have just DNFed it but I was about 30% through when I decided it was terrible and I just decided to skim so I could add to my 2013 numbers…ridiculous.

    • I felt like this was a really blah reading year for me, but I think I DNFed a lot of books I wasn’t into and I’m not as good as keeping track of those as I am those I actually finish. I felt like this list should be a mile long!

  2. I’m so happy I inspired someone else to make a worst of list! I was pleasantly surprised at how well mine was received so I hope you get the same reaction.

    I wasn’t a fan of Where the Stars Still Shine, either. And I also loved Something Like Normal. I agree that it had been done before and that none of the story lines were pushed far enough to make me really believe them.

    And The Fifth Wave lost me a little when it changed POVs, but I kept with it and even though it will never be a book I loved, I did end up appreciating it for what it was.

    Happy New Year!

    • Oh, I am so relieved that I was not the only one disappointed with Where the Stars Still Shine… I felt like I read a totally different book from everyone else! And thanks again for the inspiration, this was a fun post to write.

  3. I love that you made a least favorites list. Sometimes I just don’t get all the hype for some books because I read them and they are very “meh.” I think talking about what we don’t like is a very valid conversation to have, and helps us appreciate the all-around awesomeness of our favorite reads even more.

    And, of course, I totally agree with you on The 5th Wave and with Kyle’s comment above that The Eleventh Plague is just not good. it sounded so promising, but I had to DNF the book. Somehow I ended up with an ARC of the second book, The Darkest Path, and I think I’m just going to have to give both away to someone who appreciates them.

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