For whatever reason, the books below just didn’t jive with me. Some I disliked intensely, some I was very meh about, and some I just expected way more from. And the countdown begins:
10. JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte: It took me months to read this book. I appreciate its literary significance and I liked Jane’s character, but I found it way too long and incredibly boring. I didn’t get any sense of Gothic atmosphere and there were literally only like (2) scenes where I felt genuine enjoyment. I also found the writing needlessly overwrought.
9. THE WICKED COMETH by Laura Carlin: Ugh, I wanted so much more from this. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. It’s a neo-Victorian lesbian thriller and yet it manages to be one of the driest, most soulless books I’ve ever encountered. Neither of the heroines had any hint of personality and the plot was ridiculous. It was such a slog to get through.
8. CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi: I found this book to be aggressively mediocre. It’s got intriguing worldbuilding, but its plot and characters fell completely flat for me. I had a lot of issues with the way it incorporated trope after trope without doing anything new or different. It also read more middle grade than young adult, which was jarring when the themes were so adult. And the writing was…not great, to put it mildly.
7. STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco: I so wanted to like this purportedly Gothic YA thriller. It started out okay, but for a short book, it’s really slow-paced and could not hold my interest. And the heroine read like a college girl from 2018 inexplicably transported to the Victorian era.
6. THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Earnshaw: This book was just really, really bland and utterly forgettable. What should have been a tense, creepy tale about witches turned out to be a sappy romance that I didn’t care about. It’s also very slow, with almost nothing happening for the first three-quarters of the book.
5. ONLY HUMAN by Sylvain Neuvel: This is the conclusion to the Sleeping Gods trilogy, and I have to say that my reading trajectory for the series went totally downhill for me. I really enjoyed the first book, was lukewarm about the second, and really did not like the third. I feel like it went completely off the rails here, with the plot veering into really weird territory. And it was boring.
4. THE PISCES by Melissa Broder: I enjoyed the merman storyline in this book but hated everything else. This is very much a “it’s me not you” situation, though. From the first page this book is viscerally crude and gritty. I felt like it was trying too hard to be lurid or ~edgy or whatever and in the end it just made my skin crawl with how deeply unpleasant and depressing it all was. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed the mythological aspects, but in the end all the weird sordid details of the heroine’s life ruined it for me.
3. SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney: So many dream sequences. The heroine is in a coma for most of the book and so much of it is just nonsensical pontificating and dreams. The characters made no sense. The twist was cool, I guess, but it was overshadowed by a bunch of other really weird and ridiculous twists. In the end I was just really, really annoyed by this book.
2. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart: This is a book that relies entirely upon its final twist, so when that twist is ridiculous, the entire thing falls apart. Nothing happens in this book aside from the main character trying to remember what happened to her, with little plot or clear progression of events. The final twist was a complete disappointment. This book was a complete waste of time.
1. AN UNWANTED GUEST by Shari Lapena: I really hated this book, because it had the potential to be great! It’s a locked room mystery, but the writing is awful. This is some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. It’s clumsy and awkward and stiff. The dialogue is corny and melodramatic. And it’s boring as hell.