Updated: Jan 16, 2021
As 2020 is coming to a close many booktubers are starting to share some of their end of year stats, I guess you could call them. Basically they compile all their favorite and disappointing books of the year. Though it didn't really occur to me to do some of these lists I think it'll be fun, especially when I can look back on them in a couple years. So this post is going to be my version of it. In today's post I will be sharing all my least favorite and most disappointing reads of the year. This is part 1 of 3 of my end of year content. The next installment in the series will be the 2020 reading survey which is basically a bunch of questions regarding my reading as a whole in 2020.
Before I begin I just want to distinguish the two terms. A disappointing read means I had high hopes for it and was let down. A least favorite book is one I may or may not have had high expectations for going into the book and I ended up not liking it. Some books are on both lists but some are just on one. Since there are some books that are in both categories I won't break up the post into two separate lists, but instead distinguish what category each book fits into.
Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay
This was both very disappointing and a least favorite of the year. This book is about this rabies-like disease that has swept through Massachusetts. It rapidly kills its victims and chances of life once infected are slim since the hospitals are completely overrun. The story follows 8- month pregnant Natalie as she and her best friend Ramola try to seek help after Natalie becomes infected with the virus. Although I haven't read any of Tremblay's other books, I was still super excited for this book. I love books that have some kind of disease or epidemic plot point so I was expecting to love it. However this book was basically just the two of them traveling from point A to B to C and not much else. I felt like there was so much potential but it really fell flat.
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
This was very disappointing and I really didn't like it. Alright, I know this is one of the most popular books on the internet and in the book community and I am the only person I know who didn't like it, but it just was kinda bland. This is a graphic novel about two college boys falling in l0ve (to put it shortly). For me, the artwork was super simple, which isn't a bad thing of course, but I didn't feel a strong desire to stop and look at the artwork, which therefore caused me to speed through the book. The story itself was very basic and not memorable. I read it so fast and then basically instantly forgot the story. When I was reading it I wasn't connected or really into it. It was just too basic, cliche, and not very unique for me to really enjoy. I am super sorry for y'all Heartstopper lovers but this was a miss for me.
The Wicker King by K. Ancrum
This was disappointing. I was really excited about this book when I received it. So excited in fact that I read it within a week of getting it. When I read it I felt the story was just kinda flat. For this one though, I do feel like a lot of it was my fault. I read it too fast. If you physically look at the pages of the book they gradually get darker and darker until you are reading pages that have a solid black background and for me I got so excited about getting to the darker pages because they looked really cool that I rushed reading it. I know this is somewhat dumb but the pages are so cool. This story follows best friends August and Jack when Jack shows signs of a degenerative hallucinatory disorder (hence the blackening pages.) As the story goes on, Jack is having more and more vivid fantastical visions, which August is determined to help him cope with. This is a friendship story and a story about figuring out fantasy and reality. When I type this and reread the synopsis I know I want to reread this sometime because I know I did not read it right the first time around. So I am putting it on this list, but hopefully when I reread it (eventually) I will think differently.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Susan Collins
This was really bad but also not? So, before I explain I just want to brief you on my history with the Hunger Games. I read the Hunger Games basically after literally everyone. I read it during the summer of 2019 and I enjoyed it. I remember enjoying reading it but also thinking that it was much different from what I was expecting: more romance than I would've thought. I gave the series like a 3 or 3.5. I felt like (and still do feel) that the Maze Runner was better (I know, unpopular opinion but I think the Maze Runner is more my type of dystopian.) So anyway, come the announcement of the new book and I, wanting to be part of the hype, preorder it a few months in advance. Then on release day it shows up at my door. I, knowing I'm not actually that excited about it but also still wanting to be part of all the hype, read it right away. I also knew if I waited too long to read it I would never read it. This book took me 2 solid weeks to read. But the thing is, it wasn't the entire book that took 2 weeks. It was basically the last 200 pages that took me so long because the pacing of this book was horrible. The first 2 parts were a solid 4 stars. I was actually really pleasantly surprised and I was even enjoying some parts more than the original trilogy. However the third part was where it fell apart. It got really boring really fast and the pacing was weird. 200 of the pages of the third part were super boring but the last 20 pages were so fast. It was just weird.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I didn't like this one and maybe was a little disappointed but less disappointed by the book than the author. This was my first Christina Lauren book and I'll have to say, I am somewhat disappointed. I know many people love this author duo, but this just wasn't what I hoped it would be. I am not sure I will read any more. I think people who like the groundhog day type of story could really enjoy this one. I will say I did like all the different winter and Christmas activities that happened throughout. I especially liked the sledding scene when I read it.
The Guest List by Lucy Foley
I will just start by saying this wasn't a complete miss, I was just expecting something else and I think people's hype somewhat messed with my expectations. I read this one in April 2020, and I was super excited to read it. Fun fact, it was actually one of the reasons I joined Book of the Month because it was an early release for members. When I went in I was expecting an Agatha Christe who dunnit type of story and it somewhat is but also isn't. The thing with this one is you don't know who did it or dies until the last little bit which I wasn't expecting, which I personally have mixed feeling about. I also feel like it is written in a way you could guess who did it. I guessed who did it within the first probably 30-60 pages. I wouldn't be mad about that but to me how certain parts are written really gave it away, for me. However, there is a lot more than just that since everyone at the wedding has motives and you probably won't guess all those. I do really love the concept and I definitely felt like a detective reading this one. I did like it enough to buy Lucy Foley's other book The Hunting Party.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
I wanted to love this so badly but it was very disappointing. I didn't hate it or anything, but I think I just went into it with the wrong expectations. This one is about two authors who are both having writer's block so they decide to switch genres. This is an enemies to lovers romance. I thought this was going to be a fun, cutesy, beach read, (go figure) but its actually a very emotional serious read. I do not think I gave this one a fully fair read and I would like to reread in the future. Especially since now I can go into the book with more accurate expectations.
The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert
This was a major disappointment. I was expecting to love this one, I was planning on buying myself a copy but I ended up really not caring for it. This story is about two teens, one who is mixed race and the other is black, and their struggle to vote in the upcoming (fictional) election. There are also some romance elements throughout. There is a lot of commentary about the importance of voting and the difficulties minority groups face voting. I really did enjoy all the commentary but the actual story I didn't really enjoy in this one. There are a lot of short backstories that I didn't feel like add very much to the story. I also don't think I liked it as much as I could because I felt the entire story they were just going to point A, then point B and then C etc, which I knew going in but I didn't think I wouldn't like it. I still do think this one is worth the read because of all the commentary and also I feel like this book is the the start of a new wave of YA contemporary books about voting.
Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
This was such a disappointment!!! I am so sad I didn't love this one like I thought I would. This one is about Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome which is something I had never read or heard about before this book. It follows a mother daughter relationship after the mother is released from jail. I really didn't like this one because I was just so irritated with the characters. The mom was just so confused as to why her daughter didn't trust her which was really dumb in my opinion because of their history. Much of the story I was annoyed with the characters and this really lowered my enjoyment. In addition the plot just wasn't terribly memorable. Even as I write this less than a month later, I am struggling to remember what this one was about, which is surprising because this is such a unique book.
What were some of your most disappointing or least favorite reads of 2020? Let me know in the comments! Also, don't forget this is part 1 of 3 end of year posts so make sure to check back soon for part 2!