Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Those Books We Love & Hate

I sometimes don't understand the appeal of certain books. Books that everyone else seems to love, that get rave reviews on blogs and elsewhere, that my little corner of Twitter is always abuzz about. Everyone else loves the book and I just... don't. For some books it's just that I didn't care so much about it; there wasn't an impact either way, but for other books I actively dislike them. And I know that as a reader, a blogger, a writer - everything book-related that I identify with - this is probably a horrible thing to say, but it's true. I've read books that I didn't like, that I couldn't force myself to like, that I didn't understand why other people were so in love with, and that I really felt like were getting a lot of attention that, in my opinion, should have gone to what I saw as more deserving books. I've written reviews on these books, trying to be as objective as possible (because objectively, they're usually pretty decent books), but personally some of them made me cringe and wonder what is all the fuss about?

Usually these are "issue books" and my extreme reaction to them this has to do with the book (a) not really being that well-written but getting lots of praise for other things, and (b) striking a particular chord with me in a very, very bad way. Off the top of my head I can think of two different YA books that warranted this reaction with me and though I don't feel entirely comfortable naming names, I do want to talk about it a bit because this issue has come to mind again recently.

The book that has, once again, brought this to the front of my mind is Daisy Whitney's debut novel, THE MOCKINGBIRDS. Which, as you know, I absolutely loved. However, upon finishing the book I knew two things:

  1. Most people who read this will absolutely love it.
  2. Some people who read it will absolutely hate it, possibly even for the same reasons that I love it.
So, readers, I have to ask: has there ever been a book that was highly-praised, that others loved and everyone recommended, but that you just did not like at all? Maybe that you even hated? Aside from the obvious fact of people just being different, why do you think we have such extreme and different reactions to the same exact book?


  1. hush hush.
    Seriously, i think i was one of four people ever to have disliked it. To me she never really showed what changed Patch's mind to me, so I didn't really understand why he suddenly loved her and didn't want to kill her. Also I found it disturbing that Nora had this bad vibe from him and would still throw herself at him in her underwear, like it was sexy that he obviously was considering killing her. ugh.

  2. Haha! I too, could not believe so many people had liked and recommended Hush, Hush. I ended up hating the book more than any other book I have ever read. I honestly don't know why people love it so much. I wonder if it has to do with self esteem or not having a good understanding of how harmful abusive relationship can be, or how screwed up young girls can get by being in relationships like that of Patch and Nora...I don't know.

  3. I didn't like Hush, Hush, either. Or Twenty Boy Summer (well, I thought it was "ok" - more like a low 3 stars out of 5).

    A few others: One Night That Changes Everything, Perfect You, This Lullaby, Beastly, and New Moon.

    I didn't like Forget You, either.

    Though I might get bludgeoned for that last one. Eeep.

  4. I haven't read Hush, Hush, but I've heard a minority of people say that it was HORRIBLE (compared to the hoards of people who loved it.)

    & thatcovergirl,
    I loved (loved. loved. LOVED.) 20 Boy Summer -- it holds a very special place in my heart for a few different reasons, I haven't read One Night That Changes Everything, Elizabeth Scott is very hit & miss with me (mostly miss, but the one book that was a hit was a BIG HIT OMG). I love This Lullaby because I love Sarah Dessen, I never read Beastly, I love New Moon, and I haven't read Forget You, but I read a previous book by the same author (another book EVERYONE LOVED) and I just couldn't get through it at all.

  5. In a word: Yes.

    Additional words: ...and often with mainstream bestsellers.

    But I'm not naming titles. :)

  6. I didn't finish Hush Hush, so I can't really say...but I didn't like Beastly. I wanted to, really, really wanted to, but I just didn't.