April 26, 2014

List Maniac: Books that Didn't Live Up to the Hype (YA version)

Hello!! This is my ListManiac for the moth of April and this one comes with a pretty big disclaimer: The following are my personal opinions based entirely on my personal experiences and in anyway there are meant to undermine anyone else's opinions. 

All of the books I'm talking about where both very hype and very well received when they first came out - within the last five years - but, for me, they didn't live up to all the stuff that was written about them. I'm not saying they are all "bad books" but they were disappointing in one way or another and I'm going to try to attempt to tell you why. In My Opinion. 

And yes, I read all these books cover to cover, that was one of my criteria, that I had to had finished the books in question. NO DFNs here - which is why I won't be talking about Twilight or The Book Thief here, :P

What's about: Jordan is a high school senior with a rich pro-football player father and two (or three?) older brothers who all play college football; and she wants to follow in their footsteps and play for a Division I team, and she's the Quarterback of her high school team. She fools around with some dude who turns out to be way too needy and then finally sees what was in front of her all along.

Why it Didn't Live Up to the Hype: Writing issues aside, I had two BIG problems with Jordan, a) she was described as a tall and slim, basically hot girl, no where in the text indicated that she had the body mass necessary to withstand being tackled by a 250 pound linebacker and the thought never crosses her mind ergo she's a TSTL. And b) she's very Misogynistic : for her other girls are a waste of time, they vary between silly and stupid and they just distract her teammates. She doesn't have one single kind word for any of the other girls in the book, and she thinks being girly or soft is bad. 

What's about: Anna's dad decided she's going to spend her senior year of high school in Paris, she's not entirely happy about it because no one asked her if she wanted to do it and she doesn't know anyone in her new school. She soon makes good friends and even falls in love. 

Why it Didn't Live Up to the Hype: See, this is a book that was actually pretty good - and I actually enjoyed it a lot more when I went back and re-read it after reading the mess that was Lola and the boy next door - and I grew to appreciate it. But it was just not the be all-end all that a lot of people were touting it to be. I never quite got the "swoon" of the story until it was put in context by Lola and the Boy Next Door (which I really didn't like). 

What's About: Two friends, behind the enemy lines during World War 2. 

Why it Didn't Live Up to the Hype: Aside from the fact that I have a serious problem with unreliable narrators and that I found the writing to be too wordy and a bit redundant; the book didn't tell me anything particularly shocking, unknown to me or new about World World 2 and how fucked up it was; and I think that a lot of people where just blown over by the history aspect of the story - same as with Rose Under Fire, I imagine that if you go cold into the story, not knowing much of the actual history, it would be very shocking - but I know my World World 2 well, so I wasn't blown over. Plus, I found the book really slow. Now, I see the value of the book, I just didn't find it all that great. 

What's About: Frankie throws a big tantrum because she's not allowed into an all-boys secret society at her fancy boarding school; so she messes up with everyone involved, gets lots of people in trouble, ignores her friends and all just because she can. 

Why it Didn't Live Up to the Hype: Frankie Landau-Banks is a book that I often hear proclaimed as this awesome piece of YA, and Frankie as a role model but I just found Frankie to be someone who messed with people just to prove her own cleverness. Like she gets all self-righteous about the secret society (which she only knows about because her dad as a member, and which she actually thinks is pretty lame at the beginning) and the fact that her boyfriend won't tell her about it, that she just goes on a rampage. The writing was clever, sure but it was ultimately very empty.

What's About: Dystopia, stuff, stuff, love triangle, stuff, stuff, Celebrity Death match!!! Oh, who are you kidding, you know what's about! 

Why it Didn't Live Up to the Hype: Book was easy to read and all but the pace was all over the place for me, I found the beginning kind of boring, the ending kind of rushed. The metaphors and allegories where a bit on the nose too. Other than that, I got nothing. I didn't click with it, it failed to make me care about the fates of these people beyond the initial shock value. 

So... that's me. I hope I didn't offed anyone, I tried to be as neutral as I could, and I'm aware that a lot of the stuff that brought down these books was completely personal and related to my taste. I got three romance novels I want to talk about but this post was getting kind of long, so I'm going to do those in a mini-listmaniac next week. 

Please, let me know what you think in comments, including if there were books that just didn't work for you though everyone love them. Or even a book that you love but no one else does. 

Also, the topics for next moth, we have series that ended bady and Favorite Graphic novel

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