SLIDER

Eight Highly-Rated Books I Didn't Like


I was recently inspired by Cristina from Girl in the Pages and shared eight low-rated books I enjoyed. She also talked about highly-rated books she was underwhelmed by, and I couldn't wait to share my own answers! I sorted my Goodreads Read shelf by average rating and looked for books with an average rating of 4.0+ that I'd given 3 stars or less. For me, a 3.5 star rating means I So Liked It and 3 stars means I was So Okay With It. So, I didn't necessarily dislike every book in this post... but I didn't like them either! Here's what I found:

1. IT ENDS WITH US BY COLLEN HOOVER [Average Rating: 4.41 • My Rating: 3] – This was my first book from Hoover, and I had a rocky relationship with it. I read 100 pages, planned to DNF it, and then picked it back up because I wanted to know how it ended. I thought it was gripping and emotional but really uneven, too. I had more issues with it the longer I thought about it. I think this type of book just isn't the right fit for me.

2. ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE BY TAMORA PIERCE [Average Rating: 4.27 • My Rating: 3] – This is the only book on this list that I debated including because I didn't dislike it! It was the definition of "meh" for me. In my review, I talked about the four factors that were probably working against it when I read it and mentioned that I was curious how I'd feel about the rest of the series. Except I realize now that I have no intention of continuing...

3. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS BY JOHN GREEN [Average Rating: 4.25 • My Rating: 2] – BLECH. This book was trying too hard on every level, and I felt like I was seeing the man behind the curtain on every page. Green's voice and style overwhelmed every aspect of this book for me, and it is decidedly not to my taste. It felt contrived and manipulative, and I still eyeroll when I think about it. I'm definitely in the minority here, and it happens.

4. THE RUBY CIRCLE BY RICHELLE MEAD [Average Rating: 4.22 • My Rating: 3] – Aw, this book made me really sad! After I got sucked in (lol) to the Vampire Academy series, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved this spin-off series even more. But this was my least favorite in the series, which is a disappointing way to end a six-book series. It felt rushed, cheesy, and boring. I still have (mostly) fond feelings for the series, but I'd never re-read it.

5. THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO BY TAYLOR JENKINS REID [Average Rating: 4.19 • My Rating: 1] – My dislike for this book may have been influenced by my expectations for it. I considered Reid a favorite author, but nothing about this book would have led me to think it came from her if it didn't have her name on the cover. I hated the characters, the heavy-handedness, and how everything unfolded. I'm sad I disliked it so much!

6. THE SERPENT KING BY JEFF ZENTNER [Average Rating: 4.19 • My Rating: 3] – This book wasn't on my radar until I keep seeing it on a ton of "Best of 2016" lists, so I treated myself to it when the Kindle edition went on sale. I immediately liked the Gothic vibe, the setting and Zenter's writing style... but I didn't care at all about the characters and had no emotional investment. And this storyline just doesn't deliver if you're not connected to the people in it.

7. THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN BY KATE MORTON [Average Rating: 4.13 • My Rating: 2] – I know that Kate Morton is a beloved author, so I'm sorry to say that this book put her on my "I don't want to ever read anything else from this author" list. I was enjoying it for a while... until I didn't. I thought it was poorly executed on every level, which I discussed a lot in my original review. And honestly, I think this helped cement my overall dislike of dual timelines.

8. THE SUMMER GARDEN BY PAULLINA SIMONS [Average Rating: 4.12 • My Rating: 1] – This book is complete and utter garbage, and I rebuke all the demonic forces that led to it having an average rating this high! Okay, okay... too strong? But seriously, this was one of the absolute worst series endings I've ever read. I slogged through 752 pages that trashed beloved characters and glorified a completely toxic relationship. I now pretend it doesn't exist.

What highly-rated books did you dislike?
Have you read any of these? What did you think?

10 comments

  1. I completely agree with both The Summer Garden and The Forgotten Garden. The first I didn't think should have been part of the series. It added nothing to story at all. The Forgotten Garden is the only Kate Morten book I've ever read and I was bored. Her books are also really long making me reluctant to pick up another. I've not read any of the other books on your list.

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    1. Ahhh I'm so glad you agree! I didn't think The Summer Garden added anything to the series either. It changed so much about the characters -- and not in a good -- which was a bummer after everything the couple went through to be together. I'd read two other Morton books, prior to reading that one, and liked them but not enough to read anything else from her after hating The Forgotten Garden. Haha! And you're right, it was boring!

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  2. I totally agree with The Fault in Our Stars - so pretentious and just ridiculous. I'm sorry you didn't like The Forgotten Garden! Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors.

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    1. Ah, I love when people agree with me about The Fault in Our Stars. At the time I read it, I felt like such a black sheep (though I've def heard more negative opinions in the years since). And I know -- I'm so bummed that I disliked that Morton book because I love historical fiction in general! I may give one of her newer books a try someday :)

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  3. I'm right there with you with TFIOS (or any John Green book, really...) It was fun to invert this and look at what books are super popular that didn't work for me- not to be negative, but it's helpful to take a closer look at the things I don't love when reading (and I definitely was surprised by some of my choices).

    Thanks so much for the shout out! Hope you're doing well :)

    -Cristina @ Girl in the Pages

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    1. Hahaha! Yes, really any John Green book could apply. I've read one other (Paper Towns, I think?) and thought it was fine at the time, but I read TFIOS afterward and would probably hate PT now. I've never tried anything else by him because I can tell his writing just isn't for me.

      This post was so fun, and I'm so glad I saw you doing it! Thanks for the awesome inspiration. I had a harder time with the low-rated that I enjoyed (because very few on my list were truly low-rated) but I had so many to pick from for this one. Nice to see where my feelings differed from the majority!

      And thank you again for the fun post idea! I LOVE reading your blog, though I'm terrible at commenting nowadays, and hope you're doing well too! <3

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  4. I'm so sad to see Forgotten Garden on this list, but we can't love them all, right? Now THIS version of a list seems easier to put together! There are soooo many books with high average ratings that an individual reader would give a 1 or 2 star rating -- so curious to look at my shelves now!

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    1. Yes, I was so bummed when I didn't like that book because I *want* to love Morton! I think my general iffyness with dual timelines has hesitant to pick up anything else from her, but I am curious because so many readers I know and trust love her stuff. What's your favorite from her?

      And yes, please look at your shelves and share your findings! This one was way easier for me to put together -- and I honestly could have made the list longer. Haha!

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  5. I have only read TFIOS and The Forgotten Garden on this list, but I agree with your opinion on Garden - especially the point about dual timelines :P

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    1. I'm so glad you agree, especially on the dual timeline thing! :)

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