I read a lot of books in 2017, and while some of them were amazing, some of them were downright awful. These are the downright awful ones. Tread ahead carefully, because there is a lot of sass and maybe a few spoilers, but since I don’t think you should read these books anyway, I don’t feel so bad for spoiling their crappy plots to you at all. Sadly, some of these authors, especially Gaiman and De la Cruz, are authors I generally like, but these books below just fell flat.
5. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
As someone who has read most the Edda that comprises Norse mythology, I was hoping that this book would be a fun new take on the old tales, but it wasn’t. It was rewritten, but barely, and there was nothing new added to the stories except a little bit of modernization, but not nearly enough to warrant the writing of this book. It’s clear they just wanted Gaiman to push something else out to tie into American Gods when it premiered on Starz. This book does nothing for the tales if you already know them, and it’s honestly even more dry than the originals. Just pick them up instead.
4. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston
I wanted to like this book, because the topic of a girl recovering from sexual assault is an important one, but this book was kind of trash. It’s not even really a book about sexual assault because the protagonist is obsessed with cheerleading all the time. I get it, it’s important to you, but you were just raped and left for dead so maybe don’t try and do a back handspring right now. It just felt unrealistic to me. Also, spoilers ahead, but she chose to have an abortion and didn’t think twice about it but when she finds out her best friend is gay she has a panic attack and throws up. Like, hello? You’re fine with a tiny human being sucked out of her uterus and thrown away but not your best friend kissing girls? Really? Come on. This book just fell so flat when it could have done well. Hart should have just written the cheerleading novel she was clearly so passionate about and left the sexual assault healing for someone that actually cared to treat it well.
3. It Takes Two by Drew and Jonathan Scott
Someone please tell me why a publisher let HGTV’s famous Property Brothers write a book in which they talked about homes and gardens and fixing up properties not a single time? This entire book, and it wasn’t that long really, was about how they kept missing the boat on their passions of magic and basketball. But guess what, we don’t care! We care about you because you’re on a television show where you sell homes, design them, and make them cool again, so why don’t you talk about that for a minute or two? I felt like this book wasn’t even about them as the Property Brothers but rather the life they tried to have. Also, the audiobook narration was super confusing because they sound identical and it didn’t differentiate who was speaking in what chapter.
2. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Machado
Okay, I tried to listen to this book because it was recommended by the people at Book Riot, but I hate to break it to the author: sex is not a plot. I get it. You want to represent women’s bodies and sexuality and all that, but women are more than their vaginas and sex drives. I only made it 50% through the audiobook, but the stories were almost entirely sex-driven. And not seeking out sex. Simply the having of sex. There was not plot to get sex, the plot was simply that sex was had, hence, there was no real plot. The first story, which was a bad “retelling” of the green ribbon around the neck story fell flat and didn’t connect because hey, her head is tied on with a ribbon, but you’re more worried about her sex drive. In another story, the world is falling to pieces due to a plague but the entire story is about the people the protagonist has had sex with. Like, what? Why do I care? Tell me more about this plague! I don’t care about her sexual partners. The highly lauded Law and Order SVU story made me want to blow my brains out just listening to it.I know it was supposed to be repetitive, because TV is repetitive, but what was the point in the whole thing? I still don’t know. Whatever you do, don’t pick up this book.
- Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz
I’m not even going to pretend I had high hopes for this book, but I did not expect it to be such a dumpster fire. I’ve really enjoyed Melissa de la Cruz’s books through the years and I think she is good at writing what she does, YA, so maybe she should stay away from these Hallmark movie novels and retellings. Somewhere, Jane Austen is rolling over in her grave. You CANNOT do a gender swapped Jane Austen story because the core idea of women having to get a husband to survive in that society just doesn’t exist for men. Making it modern is fine, but swapping genders, modernizing, and setting it at Christmas all at once were too much. I firmly believe that since this is being made into a Hallmark movie she actually wrote the book AFTER the script because this book is just bad. Darcy, the female protagonist, is a stuck up, brand dropping hedge fund manager from NYC who comes back home and falls in love with Luke Bennett but you don’t ever see them actually fall in love because every interaction they have is hateful and there are no redemptive moments like in the real story! Also, we barely get to know Luke Bennett at all. Also, why did Melissa de la Cruz feel the need to switch the names and make the best friend go from Charles Bingley to Bingley Charles. Like, REALLY? WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA? It just proved the entire thing was a joke, but I’m sure it’ll be a wildly popular Hallmark movie.
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