With all the wrap-ups dedicated to the best and favorite books of 2018 in December, there also comes some not so cheery posts: the most disappointing reads of 2018. The five books below for today’s Top Five Wednesday are not necessarily the worst books I read last year, but rather, books that I went in with higher expectations and was left disappointed.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli- The beginning of 2018 started off on a bit of a Becky Albertalli high for me, having absolutely loved The Upside of Unrequited. However, flash-forward to May with Leah on the Offbeat’s publication, the somewhat sequel to Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda. To me, from the friendship to romance, the chemistry between characters just felt so off, something that is typically so celebrated with Becky’s books. While having an unlikeable protagonist or narrator can be refreshing, I just couldn’t connect with Leah and in the end, I still did not see the chemistry between her and her romance interest.
Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich- As a fan of the musical, Dear Evan Hansen was another book I was so excited to go into, but also one that made me nervous. I didn’t know how this much beloved musical would transfer on the page. While I did like some of the world-building and added perspectives, there were too many moments where the book strayed too much from the musical and would have been strengthened from the similarity. For example, I thought Connor’s perspective was really unnecessary, and song lyrics and verbatim dialogue would have actually helped scenes (ex. Evan’s speech) and character development.
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi- Not the Girls You’re Looking For received early hype and praise from reviewers with similar reading tastes as me. While this book delivers in its diversity, Lulu being an American-Muslim teen, Not the Girls You’re Looking For had a darker tone than I expected. Lulu and her friends had a very weird friendship dynamic, smoking and drinking their ways through parties and insulting each other over their flaws and hook-ups. On the one hand, it was a bit refreshing to see more mature and let’s face it, unlikeable characters, but on the other, it made it harder for me to connect with them. I also had trouble connecting with the author’s writing style, and I had to go back and read a few passages to understand what exactly happened.
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand- Between Sawkill Girls and Furyborn, Claire Legrand was a very hyped author in 2018. While I cannot speak to the latter, Sawkill Girls was a bit of a bummer. I loved its synopsis, following three girls who are all somehow connected to the disappearances of girls on their isolated island. However, this book did not have the best character development, and the world-building and plot reveals were hard to follow.
The Girl King by Mimi Yu- I was fortunate enough to read this 2019 release back in 2018, surrounding many Asian-inspired fantasy books last year. The premise had me so excited, following two sisters who become rivals over their father’s decision to name their male cousin emperor. However, The Girl King’s story just felt so disjointed to me and the premise did not deliver. I struggled understanding this world’s magic system and history, and for an almost 500 page read, the synopsis didn’t come together until the very end.
Top 5 Wednesday is a collaborative group of book bloggers from various platforms who love sharing lists on Wednesdays. The T5W group can be found here on Goodreads.
What were some of your disappointing 2018 reads? Share in the comments!