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.