Hello bookish friends!
This post will encompass all the books I read in 2017 that I either really didn’t like or I was completely disappointed by. I mainly read books I enjoyed last year but a few did manage to irk me. I’m not including DNF’s on this list otherwise it could get slightly out of hand!
*Content warning for quotes depicting amisia and fatphobia*
The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis
I borrowed this one from the library during Great British Bake Off season and had high hopes for it since it was meant to be a book all about baking. But, I just really disliked… well, everything about it, to be honest. I can’t really remember what happened in the story which I think goes to show how bland and boring it was. I remember thinking at the time how pointless it was. It wasn’t offensive, it was just incredibly boring. And not at all what I was hoping for.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
I was so disappointed by this one. I know a lot of people love it and I’m happy for you if you’re one of those people but I just had a lot of issues with it. First of all the amisia was really bad. Here’s a wonderful quote:
“Here’s what I would never, ever admit out loud: a part of me always thought it was some kind of a secret compliment when someone got called a slut. It meant you were having sex. It meant people wanted to have sex with you. Being a slut just meant you were normal.”
I’ve got a great tip for all you allo writers out there: DON’T USE THE WORD ‘NORMAL’ AND ‘SEX’ IN THE SAME SENTENCE/TRAIN OF THOUGHT. Seriously, don’t.
There were other instances as well but that’s the one that angered me the most. The main character’s sister was another point of contention for me. She called the main character ‘childish’ for not wanting to approach relationships/attractions the way she did which, again, allos: DON’T DO THIS. I just couldn’t get over the amisia and, apart from that, the plot was virtually non-existent, I wasn’t a fan of the characters (except for Reid) and I was just really disappointed throughout. I loved Simon vs. so I had very high hopes, only to be let down. Especially since Albertalli seems to care about diversity in her books, it’s just a real shame.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
I imagine this was on a lot of people’s most disappointing of 2017 reads and that’s because it was just so disappointing. There was a lot of build-up in the previous instalment but there was never a time when I was reading the finale that I thought anyone was in any real danger. There were so many loose ends at the end of the book and I know there’s going to be a companion series but I just found it a bit of a joke that a lot of character arcs were left incomplete.
Also there was a horrific bit of amisia within, like, the first 30 pages or so.
“Perhaps any sort of physical passion had long since been drained away, alongside their souls.”
I just. There are no words for this. What made me most mad about this was seeing a bunch of allos on Twitter having the AUDACITY to say ‘nah this wasn’t acephobic’ !?!? Seriously!? IT COULD NOT BE MORE BLATANT #allosaretrash
AND Maas used a person’s queer identity as a plot twist!? NOPE. Non-queers, please don’t do that. That’s never an okay thing to do. It was just handled really poorly and felt like an afterthought, rather than something that came about at the inception of the character.
And also. The sex. Please stop. It’s just so bloody grim. I had to skim over the sex scenes in the end, they were so offensively gross. Sorry not sorry if you’re into that type of explicit content (I’m really really not which is one of the reasons why I prefer to read YA over adult, just in case they pop up).
I mean, I’m weirdly addicted to Maas’ books and writing style so I’ll probably still continue to read them (even though they’re complete trash) and I’ll love them and hate them at the same time. So expect more Maas books on future disappointing reads!
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
This book is just straight up racist. Don’t really need more of an explanation than that. It was just plain awful.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Another book that contained a lot of amisia. Joy! It was one tale in particular actually that left a rather sour taste – The Warlock’s Hairy Heart. *spoilers* So, basically, the wizard in this tale does not want to experience romantic attraction so he uses dark magic to literally remove his heart, clearly suggesting that aros are heartless !?!? Words such as ‘cold,’ ‘strange’ and ‘remote’ are used to describe the wizard – yet more awful stereotypes !! And here’s some more: “all will change when a maid catches his fancy.” Grrr. No it bloody won’t! People pity him for not having romantic love in this life. Double grrrr. You do not need to experience romantic attraction to have a complete and fulfilling life !! AND when his heart is put back in its place: “now you are healed and will know true love!” CAUSE APPARENTLY THOSE WHO DO NOT EXPERIENCE ROMANTIC ATTRACTION ARE BROKEN AND REQUIRE FIXING !?!?!? Hell no to this amisic piece of trash.
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
This original fairy tale just wasn’t what I had expected at all and I guess that’s my fault for building it up in my head but it had hardly anything to do with the actual Snow Queen. It was more to do with friendship and bravery, which is fine, but not the story I always imagined it to be. Which is entirely my fault for not knowing but.. still, I was disappointed by it.
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I had a number of issues with this one. First of all, it was far too long. It’s a YA contemporary. It really did not have to go on for over 500 pages. And it was a slog. I read the first half over two years ago and made myself read the second half this year.
I also really disliked the main character’s best friend. They were an awful friend. She was also trying to get the main character to do things that made her feel really uncomfortable like going to a bar/club even though the m/c suffered from social anxiety. Now, I suffered from social anxiety when I was the m/c’s age and had friends that tried to make me do things that would make me feel awful for suffering from anxiety so I really don’t get on with this trope when I see it in a book. I know how that feels and, lemme tell you, it’s pretty shitty.
Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor
You can read my full review here. I wrote over 1,200 words for it so you can see I had some THOUGHTS. It didn’t feel like a cohesive story, rather a series of conversations that mostly felt quite irrelevant to plot (both external and internal). There were constant unnecessary details where Tudor would tell and not show and provide us with useless information, such as the height of a mountain range in both metres and feet (why!?) Most characters were one-dimensional with one in particular being one of the creepiest men I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading about.
The fatphobia was rife in the second half of the book. It was like the author suddenly became obsessed with weight loss and diet. For example:
“Reducing calories is a mistake. If you need 2,500 calories, and you reduce your intake to 2,000 calories, your body will first use your fat reserves, and then it will start to use only 2,000 because it learns that you give it only that much. So you will stop losing weight.”
WHY DID WE NEED TO KNOW THIS COMPLETELY USELESS, IRRELEVANT PIECE OF ‘INFORMATION’ !?!?
“My mother says that young healthy women with strong willpower should make sure they’re slim, or else they send the message that they don’t have enough willpower, or that they’re not healthy.”
*face palms* WHYYYYY though??
So I was not planning to get vexed in this post but amisia makes me. so. darn. mad. Hopefully I won’t have to be subjected to those awful types of books this year. I’ve already read Every Heart A Doorway (ace & ownvoices) which was wonderful ace rep and I’m planning to read Let’s Talk About Love (biroace & ownvoices) and Radio Silence (demisexual) soon! Please let me know if you have any aro+/ace book rec’s, I would love to read them!