Hey everybody, I’m wrapping up my list of Worst Books of 2015 this week. I forgot to mention that you may see books that I’ve already talked about in previous blog posts on both lists. I try to explain why they made each list and just because I put it on my worst list doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad book. If anything strikes your fancy you should check it out.
No use blathering on about it, here is part two:
Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mlynowski – Published June 7, 2011; 368 pages.
This book fell under the same category as the Medusa Girls series. I put it on my TBR a million years ago and finally got around to reading it. When I put it on my list I was super intrigued, but when I finally got around to reading it, not so much.
Once again a book fell into my standard trap of wrong place, wrong time. It’s a middle grade book, and, as I am now on the wrong side of 25, they don’t hold my attention like they used to. I did really like the story and it was a different take on a teen aged fantasy of living on your own.
In the book we follow our main character April who gets the opportunity to finish her senior year while living at her best friend’s house. April’s parents are divorced and have both made the decision to move. April pleads her case to stay and finish school because she doesn’t want to leave her boyfriend behind. She manages to convince her father that she is staying under the watchful eye of her best friend’s mom, who is actually a flighty actress and is performing in an out of town play for the majority of the school year.
Considering all the freedom the girls had I was actually quite surprised by the restraint the writer showed in the craziness that went down. I’ve read enough teen books that basically have the characters devolve into heathens who can’t take care of themselves. April and her friends do some crazy things, like buy a hot tub and host a few ragers, but nothing ever gets too out of hand and I actually found that the characters handled themselves quite well and were real human characters. Snaps for Sarah Mlynowski.
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares – Published April 8, 2014; 256 pages.
I blame this one on nostalgia. I had finished the Traveling Pants series a few months prior and happened to notice it on the shelf at the library. I also blame it on lazy writing. Maybe my tastes have changed, but I was really surprised at the poor quality of writing in this book. I thought the dialogue was weak and the main character Prenna is so one dimensional it’s ridiculous.
The story sounded interesting enough, it’s about a group of travelers who have gone back in time to escape a mosquito-borne blood plague that has destroyed the human race. Super cool idea, but she had to go and ruin it with a forbidden love story.
Prenna is a good girl and follows all the rules that were set forth by the elders of the mission and always follows them to the letter. Until, of course, a boy takes interest and she starts to question everything she was ever taught. There also is some underlying storyline about how the groups goal is to prevent the mosquito war from happening, yet the first rule of time travel club is not to change anything, so I’m just annoyed at that bit.
I really do not recommend this read, it would be good for younger readers who are just starting to get interested in reading, but for the rest of us it leaves a lot to be desired.
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman series #1 and #2) – Published October 1, 2013 & July 21, 2015; 304 pages & 368 pages.
Both of these books were featured early on in my blog, and don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading them, but at the end of the day I was frustrated with Rosie as a character and the relationship ended up pissing me off.
The series focuses on Don Tillman, a man who is most likely on the autism spectrum and may have some form of Asperger’s. He is an eccentric man who is ruled by routine and logic. In the first book he sets out to meet the perfect mate and goes about it in a typical Don fashion, using a very detailed and precise questionnaire. Enter Rosie, who is on a search of her own and is the complete opposite of Don in pretty much every way.
They inevitably fall in love, but there wasn’t anything cliche about it and Rosie never tried to fix Don, who is well aware of his social awkwardness… most of the time, and he actively tries to correct his mistakes, usually in a hilariously inappropriate way. I really enjoyed the first book and thought it was a quirky little love story.
The sequel picks up right where we left off with Don and Rosie married and living in New York. Rosie is pregnant and Don being Don, he wants to have everything meticulously planned out and he wants to be prepared. Rosie, being the complete opposite and also being in the middle of writing her thesis for University, doesn’t take too kindly to Don quirks.
Throughout the whole book Rosie just comes off as a total bitch. I’m not sure if it’s because we see the world through Don’s eyes so we understand his motivations, or if she actually is just a bitch, but her behavior really pissed me off. She knew the man that she was marrying and yet she seems surprised when he acts in an odd way and she takes absolutely no time to think about how Don’s feeling about the whole pregnancy. She just seemed like she was trying to fix him and it really irked me.
In the end, the book has a fairly happy ending. I think the series came to a good close, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we got a third book entitled “The Baby Project” in the near future.
Paper Towns by John Green – Published October 16, 2008; 305 pages.
John Green is like a nerd legend in book circles. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea. I’ve read a few of his books and while I enjoy them they’re not the best thing I’ve ever read. His characters can come off as kind of pretentious and he has also been know to over use the manic-pixie-dream-girl trope in his books.
I got into John Green because his book, The Fault in Our Stars, was being made into a movie and, obviously I had to read the book first. Paper Towns was made into a movie as well, and that’s what peaked my curiosity. I still haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve heard good things about the adaptation, which is awesome. Anytime a movie does a book justice, I am all over it. Regardless of my feelings on the book.
In the book we follow Quentin as he pines for his next door neighbour Margo. they were friends when they were little but have drifted apart since. Margo has developed a reputation for doing wild and crazy things over the years and Quentin idolizes her for it. She appears in his window one night and enlists him to help her in a revenge plot against her friends and now ex-boyfriend (One guess as to what you think happened to spark that).
They spend the night completing wild pranks and breaking into Sea World. Quentin has never felt more alive and he’s convinced that this is the start of something between him and Margo. Except the next day, Margo has disappeared. She’s been known to run away in the past, so her parents are concerned, but not surprised. As the days and weeks slip by, Margo doesn’t come back, but Quentin discovers what he believes are clues left behind by Margo for him to find her.
The entirety of the book follows Quentin trying to figure out these clues to find Margo and culminates in the coolest road trip ever. I can’t wait to see it portrayed on screen. Quentin learns a lot about himself and learns that when you idolize someone, you sort of make them into who you want them to be and forget who they actually are.
The reason this book is on my worst list is because I did not like the ending and felt that the pacing was a little off. Yes, I am allowed to be shallow sometimes.
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith – Published October 6, 2015; 394 pages.
This book was mentioned in my Most Anticipated Releases of 2015 post way back at the beginning of my blog. I finally got my hands on it and found some time to read it over winter break. It really wasn’t what I was expecting. I just felt it could have been better.
The concept and the world building were really well done and well thought out. I did feel that the ending was a little too perfect and we probably could have done with a little more death (I’m clearly in a writing class, because I get annoyed when characters don’t suffer enough).
We follow Livia, the only known dreamstrider who can possess people and not lose herself to the madness of Nightmare. She isn’t the government’s first choice and is still too inexperienced for their liking, but she comes into her own in the book. We get a glimpse into how the government of this world works, and it’s as screwed up as you’d think it would be as they can take over people’s bodies and possess them.
The book delivers on pretty much all the promises it made, I just thought it could have had a little more oomph.There is nothing I really hated about this book, but there’s nothing I really loved about it either.
I am really glad that it is a standalone novel, I hate it when publishers drag out a story over two or three books unnecessarily.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – Published February 10, 2015; 383 pages.
This book was a highly anticipated YA release on Booktube so I had heard a lot about it before I put my name down at the library.
I’m thinking I may have to take a break from YA dystopian novels for a bit. They’re all starting to feel the same. The newest theme they’ve been sticking to is different types of blood that dictate were you fall on the social ladder or pecking order.
In Red Queen the people are divided by Red or Silver blood. The Reds are the common folk and the Silvers are the nobility and ruling class. Their silver blood is a marker for the superpowers that they possess. There are a few different powers, but they are pretty much element based (earth, air, fire, water that kind of thing).
The book follows Mare, a Red blooded commoner who discovers that she has Silver powers despite her red blood. The ruling Silver King freaks out and concocts a ruse to hide Mare in plain sight and try to pass her off as a long-lost Silver princess. The King also engages her to one of his sons as a way to keep an eye on her. Despite all this, Mare still starts working with the Red Guard, a terrorist group that is looking to upset the balance of power.
It’s a great premise and I really enjoyed the world building, but I just feel like I’ve read it before. Another reason why it might be a good time for a break. With all the hype this book got it really built up my expectations and so I was ultimately let down. Still a decent read and I will most likely finish the series one day.
Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins – Published April 7, 2015; 273 pages.
I talked about this series during my Best read series blog post and while the series as a whole is very good I found the followup to be underwhelming when compared to the debut. I was rather disappointed when I finished it.
It’s quite a bit shorter than the first book, so that may have played a role in why I found it lackluster. In sequels characters need a little time to breath and with the book being as short as it was I don’t think they had the time to develop the characters into their new roles. It seemed like a rush to get to the last book.
I felt that it was the same story line as the first book. In the first book the climax occurs at cotillion and in this one the climax occurs at the Miss Pine Grove pageant, the similarities weren’t enough to keep me interested. While things happened that sort of moved the plot arc forward I didn’t really care where they were going.
It took me a lot longer to get through this book than it should have. Some of the great banter than came from David and Harper that made the first book so good was missing and that dynamic was a huge selling point for me.
The final book in the series has nearly 100 more pages than Miss Mayhem, so I have high hopes that Rachel Hawkins can end this story on as good a note as she started it.
Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet #2) by Lois Lowry – Published September 25, 2000; 240 pages.
Who hasn’t read The Giver? Anybody? I’m pretty sure it was required reading in elementary school, but for those of you that haven’t, it is a book set in a “utopian” future where the human race has given up emotion and feeling in place of “sameness”. There are no wars, no poverty, and no public memory of what life was like before that time. The only person who carries the memories of the time before sameness is the Giver and in the novel he is training his new apprentice, Jonah, the receiver of memory.
The book basically asks the question of what we are willing to give up in order to feel safe and prevent war etc. The ending is rather ambiguous with Jonah escaping his town with a newborn baby. I always thought it was a weird way to end a book, but seeing as I was 10 when I first read the book, I let it go and moved on. I found out, years later, that it is actually part of a quartet.
There are four books, all set in the same universe, that explore different civilizations that, I’m assuming, cropped up after some big catastrophe and that all weave together. I obviously had to read them. I was on a book binge at the library and didn’t want to over do it so I only requested the second book.
This book follows Kira, an orphaned, deformed, girl who is shunned by her village due to her disability. She posses one gift that saves her from death, but that leads her to a whole other type of prison, when she is basically taken in as a ward of the state and works for the government.
It’s another dystopian world in the guise of a utopia. It’s so different from the Giver in how the village is set up, it’s very old world and archaic, whereas the world of Jonah and the Giver is more modern and civilized. This threw me off a bit and I didn’t see how it would all fit together.
This was in no way a bad book. It just really caught me off guard and wasn’t the type of sequel I was expecting. I have plans to finish the quartet this summer, so I may have a full review up later this year.
That’s all for me this week folks, I hope you enjoyed reading about my worst books of 2015. Next week we switch gears and talk about my favourites of the past year, so stay tuned for that.
A preview of what I have coming up this year on the blog are subscription boxes and book related merch, book to TV show adaptations, my most anticipated reads of 2016 (It’s short I promise, I only have so much time), and I go off the beaten path (for me anyway) and explore the world of self-help books. Should be an interesting year, thanks for spending it with me. Hope you guys have a great week, and as always, please read responsibly.
Ten Things We Did
The Here and Now
The Rosie Project
The Rosie Effect