I’ve been debating with myself a lot lately about whether or not I should actually write this post. A lot of reviewers seem to have gotten shit this year on various social networks for negative reviews, and I certainly don’t want to cause any of that drama, and I also don’t want any fellow bloggers to think less of me for wailing on these books a little bit. I just felt so frustrated with YA last year and remember more of the really bad books than really good ones, and I feel like I need to vent a little. While there were a handful of really amazing books last year, some of the ones I disliked I hated with a passion. But I suppose this is my space to write whatever I want, and want I want to do is let out some of the negative feelings I have about certain books I read last year. Call it mean or rude; I just need to let it out.
Books pub’ed in 2013:
I already tore this one apart in my review, so I probably don’t have to say much here. This is a book I wish I could wipe from my memory. I thought it had the potential to say important things about slut shaming and bullying, but in the end I felt it became all about the drama, and boy was the drama RIDICULOUS. You know the drama needs to stop when you start laughing about all the bad things happening to the characters because there are just so many of them. In addition, the writing was too sloppy and awkward for me, making this book a hot mess…just without the “hot” part.
This was another major dud. I reviewed this title for a tour, but if I wasn’t already obligated to read it, I probably would have dropped it after the first sentence. Some of the writing made me cringe, the characters were undeveloped, the romance was contrived, and it was WAY too long. I think the fact that I had signed myself up for this tour made me dislike it even more, because I felt like it was my own fault I had to be subjected to such an awful, boring book.
Oh. My. God. Zenn Scarlet. What can I say about you? Oh yeah: you had almost no plot other than saving space animals, your protagonist’s voice read like an 80 year old man trying to sound like a teenager, your romance had no spark, and you ended on a super cheap cliffhanger. Blacking out? I mean, really.
My main issue with this novel was that the author’s voice read to me like an imitation of Francesca Lia Block’s style, but less good, because no one can do Francesca Lia Block except Francesca Lia Block. I just felt like this author was trying to write in the same way as another, but to such an extent her own voice didn’t show through. I also didn’t like any of the characters, and found myself irritated by the narrator’s relationship by her best friend, Aurora. The narrator basically worships Aurora, but I simply didn’t understand it, especially as I read more and more about her. If the narrator is so obsessed with another character that the author neglects developing her, maybe she should’ve written from the perspective of the obsession instead.
I hate space books. Okay, maybe I just haven’t read that many that I like yet. Elissa wasn’t as interesting a protagonist as I hoped she would be, and though I was initially drawn in by the concept of two strangers being connected telepathically, the outcome wasn’t particularly compelling. I guess being a boring book isn’t such a crime, but it was enough to make me put it on this list.
I hated pretty much everything about this book, but particularly the characters. I didn’t find Maddie or Bennett likeable, and hated how the author tried to portray a sixteen-year-old girl as some kind of temptress. I realize the point was probably to show that in a teacher/student relationship there is more than one side to the story, but there is never a time when such a relationship isn’t the adult’s fault. Bennett was naive and gross, and should’ve known better. On a lesser note, I had a really hard time believing Maddie was as smart as she claimed to be because the book read like a poorly-written novel for a much younger audience.
The second book in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London trilogy was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The Name of the Star was the first book of hers I actually liked, and I was expecting to be equally enthralled by The Madness Underneath. Unfortunately, I am once again on shaky ground with Johnson’s books after reading this. I didn’t get the same thrill from the second book that I got from its predecessor, and another unnecessary romance caused much eye rolling. I just expected a lot more from this book, and still feel so disappointed in it that I doubt I’ll be reading the final book, much less buy it like I did the first two.
I read Wither when it came out and felt compelled to read the second book, but ended up really regretting it. Fever is even more depressing than Wither, and I actually ended up throwing it at the wall a few times (or maybe that was Sever? Or both? Anyway). Sever, however, definitely takes the soul-crushing cake. NOTHING good happens in this series. I also felt guilty for kind of preferring Linden over Gabriel even though he was Rhine’s captor, and guilt is not something I want to feel while reading a book for pleasure. Something I hated even more though was how Rhine became more understanding of Vaughn, even though he was a horrible, terrible villain. I found it hard to believe she would let things go that easily. I certainly didn’t, and I still hate him even though I don’t have to read about him anymore.
Books pub’ed other years:
My main issues with this book? Plot, characters…oh wait, that’s basically all the important stuff. The loose and slow plot did nothing to keep me interested, and I didn’t like any of the characters, even the protagonist. A character, especially the main one, needs to have personality, and Hester didn’t have an ounce. I thought this book had the potential to be interesting and different, but it disappointed.
I really like books about unusual relationships (like between a 15-year-old and a 21-year-old, in this case), so I thought I’d go wild for this one, but it just didn’t do it for me. For one things, I was expecting there to be an actual relationship between Amelia and Chris, but it was pretty one-sided with Amelia the whole story. This is yet another title on this list where I didn’t like any of the characters. Amelia seemed even younger than 15, and her ridiculous view that feminism ruined her mom’s life definitely didn’t endear her to me either. Chris didn’t seem like such a catch either, as he tended to treat women poorly and then randomly set off for Japan. The lack of relationship made me feel like nothing really happened, so overall I wasn’t very enthused by this book.
These narrators cannot possibly be in high school, especially Emily. Jesse I might believe, but Emily? Hell no. The way she was written made her sound like a middle schooler, and not a very smart one at that. I also didn’t understand why some characters were written in first person and some in third, as it really chopped up the flow of the story. In addition, I felt that both Emily and Jesse were overly stereotypical, and I didn’t find them at all genuine. I thought I was going to really like this book when I bought it (at least it was cheap), but between the choppy writing and the almost caricatured characters I felt no connection with, it was a huge dud.