Most Disappointing Reads of 2021 

I’ve read 150+ books in 2021 (the most I’ve EVER read in a year & I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top this amount, unless this is my new reading normal??). That being said, as much as I’ve really made an effort to read books I have a very good feeling that I’ll enjoy (hence why most of my reading in 2021 were contemporary books), I’m not going to love or even enjoy EVERY single book that I read. Today I’ll be discussing my most disappointing reads of 2021. I think the theme of most of the books below & why they’re on this list mainly has to do with that I wasn’t expecting MORE from them. 

As always, I want to include a disclaimer that my disappointment in the following books has nothing to do with anything other than the fact I simply didn’t enjoy the book or that it didn’t meet my expectations. Additionally, just because I may have not enjoyed a book, doesn’t mean that you won’t or doesn’t discredit your love for it! 

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell (Simon Snow #3) – Controversial opinion, especially for someone like me who considers Rainbow Rowell to be one of her favorite contemporary authors, but I’ve come to the conclusion in 2021 that I likely wouldn’t have read the Simon Snow trilogy if it hadn’t been written by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve realized that I love the ‘contemporary-ness’ of this trilogy & this finale (aka Baz and Simon’s relationship), but I just can’t get into the magic and fantasy world of this series.This book isn’t necessarily a case where I didn’t like the book or couldn’t stand it, it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be??

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave – The Last Thing He Told Me falls into the category of a book that was super hyped that I normally wouldn’t have read on my own (and I think it was also chosen as a Bad on Paper Podcast book club pick) and ultimately walked away feeling okay about it. It was much more of a domestic thriller than expected.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston- Likely the most controversial of my opinions here, but One Last Stop is another case where I didn’t necessarily dislike the book but I didn’t love it either. This isn’t even a case where I am comparing to her debut and one of my 2019 faves, Red White & Royal Blue. I LOVED the side characters in this one, the diversity, & dialogue & banter, but I felt mixed about the whole time travel plot and the mystery. I kept putting the book down over a couple days and started & finished reading about 3 books while doing so, which unfortunately is a sign that I’m disengaged in a book.

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent – Blame it perhaps on its fun and summery cover, but I went into The Summer Job expecting a light & breezy read, following a protagonist who pretends to be her best friend & wine expert at a Scottish hotel. It took me the first 100 pages to really get into the story…. and I never really found myself getting into it. This book was a classic case where I should’ve DNF’ed but based on the hype, kept reading to see if I would change my mind. 

What’s Not to Love by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – I think not enjoying What’s Not to Love kills my reader heart the most, having loved Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s early work. I’ve found myself not super interested in reading their more recently published YA books – I am SO looking forward to their contemporary romance debut in 2022 with The Roughest Draft though!! The pacing in What’s Not to Love was just so slow and then I felt like the transition from enemies-to-lovers was really rushed and not very developed.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle – AND the controversy continues with this memoir pick, Untamed. So many of the non-bookish people in my life connect with Glennon Doyle and Untamed so much and walked away feeling pretty ‘meh’ about it – I was really disappointed since I was expecting so much, given the rave reviews. 

Not that Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher – I liked the first book in the Nolans companion series, Not the Kind of Girl You Marry, in 2020…and I kind’ve think the series should’ve ended there because Not that Kind of Guy felt underdeveloped and rushed.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – Another! controversial! opinion! I talked about this in my review of The Kiss Quotient, and while I loved the autism representation in this book, I think my overall mixed feelings about it resulted from the fact that this was a HUGE book when first published in 2018 and I then read it three years later in 2021. I just didn’t see the chemistry between the two romance leads.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout – Okay, okay, I know I keep saying ‘controversial’ but my ‘meh’ feelings about From Blood and Ash IS my most controversial opinion, given how much love this fantasy romance has gotten across SO many bookish social media channels over the year. I thought the book had a really strong start, but I found myself super lost when it came to the world-building and I HATED the twist involving one of the main characters. 

What were some of your most disappointing reads of 2021? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned? Share in the comments!

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