Okay, loves, it’s time to start working on my best/worst/most disappointing lists of 2018! I originally was going to do these at the end of the year, but ultimately decided, for the sake of fairness, to wait until all of my 2018 reading was done!
Insert disclaimer here about how all of these are just my opinions, please don’t be offended, etc. etc.
All of these are books I gave 1 star in 2018. It was mostly a good reading year (my avg rating was 4.1!), so these are almost all of the 1-star reads I had (the ones I didn’t exclude were just ones I didn’t have anything to really say about).
1. Devil in Ohio — Dario Polatin (review)
This book was a MESS. It’s a YA horror about a girl escaping a cult, which sounded right up my alley, but, well… there’s a reason this book’s current GR average is 3.23.
There are endless plot holes, the characters are painfully unbelievable, and the protagonist is just gross in the way she treats people (and she never learns or progresses at all). On top of everything, this author actually commented on my Goodreads review at one point to argue with my rating and to say that I wasn’t being fair because she claimed her book was based on “true events”. She’s since deleted her comments, but yeah, gross.
2. Ghost Slayer — Majanka Verstraete (review)
I was super excited about this book because 1) it’s about a ghost hunter, which sounded so fun, and 2) it was my first ever New Adult ARC, which felt kind of cool at the time because I was pretty new to reading that age range.
Unfortunately, this fell flat in every possible way. The dialogue was so poorly written, the main character is annoying and awkward (like constantly acting as though she’s an “old maid”, and then we learn she’s only 21), the romance is… weird (and painfully unlikely), and there’s a ton of slut-shaming.
3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson — John Green & David Levithan (review)
Time for our first super unpopular opinion! Oops.
I think everyone knows that, besides TFIOS, I’m no John Green fan, but what most people don’t know is that I also really can’t stand David Levithan’s writing, so this was bound to suck, but it was required reading for my summer class.
Between the nonstop fat-shaming of a character named “Tiny” (ha, ha, ha, really clever, guys…) and the way one of the protagonists talks about girls (“I don’t hang out with girls who hang out with other boys“), and the really unenjoyable writing styles, I hated this.
4. Rule — Ellen Goodlett (review)
If this tells you anything about what a disappointment this was, Kaleena and I both agreed that the most enjoyable part of buddy reading it… was talking smack with each other about it. ?
Honestly, I think if I hadn’t seen SO MUCH HYPE go around for this book and seen it get so much marketing attention, I wouldn’t have been quite so annoyed, but the writing was mediocre or worse, the world-building is nonexistent, there are plot holes everywhere, and the big sapphic relationship it was hyped for? It’s an awkward insta-love between a girl and her stepmother. I dunno, man, that’s not what I expect in YA? ?
5. Me and Rupert Goody — Barbara O’Connor (review)
I almost didn’t include this because I don’t really think anyone cares about it, but I had to include it because I just hated it. SO. MUCH. It was another assigned read for my class, and it left me scratching my head over why it was chosen at all.
It’s written in a really gross, over-the-top “country bumpkin” narrative, the protagonist is awful to everyone and never learns any sort of lesson (which, in my opinion, is a little negligent in a children’s book?), and it’s super ableist and racist at points. YIKES.
6. Hush, Hush — Becca Fitzpatrick
Y’all… I read this book SIX MONTHS AGO and still haven’t reviewed it. I didn’t realize that until typing up this point. ? I need to get to work on my RTC shelf…
Anyways, this was just awful. The writing was laughably bad, the main character was weird and vaguely “not like other girls” if I remember right, but the biggest thing I remember standing out to me is that the romance is so weird and the love interest is one of the grossest “alpha male” types I’ve ever seen in YA. He’s ridiculously controlling and not particularly concerned with consent and I just hated him a lot.
7. White Rabbit — Caleb Roehrig (review)
I feel like this is another sorta controversial one, because a heckin’ lot of my friends love Roehrig’s writing, and that’s fine! But… this was rough for me in a lot of ways.
1) the way the MC talks about romance is really cringe-y—it plays into the whole “my boyfriend completed/’fixed’ me” mentality, ew.
2) the love interest/ex-boyfriend is a black bi teen who is painted in literally the worst ways and showcases the biphobia we bi people constantly see from the LG side of the queer community
3) everything is just unrealistic in the weirdest ways—like there are even some legal discussions regarding divorce and child support/custody that are so… factually inaccurate in the worst ways ?
8. The Porcupine of Truth — Bill Konigsberg (review)
This was another assigned reading for my summer course, and, uh… why and how did this win awards? Like, literal award. WHY. This book almost made me swear off Konigsberg’s writing forever, no lie.
The protagonist is a straight kid obsessed with fetishizing and over-sexualizing his new lesbian bestie, despite knowing she’s a lesbian, despite knowing his behavior is gross; he can’t go a single chapter without making a joke about or reference to his own dick, either. The writing was the final straw, though, because it’s so bad and the sense of humor feels super forced and cringe-y.
9. Unfollowing You — Komal Kapoor (review)
Books like this, which I read in the last week-ish of the year, are why I didn’t write this list in 2018—because it wouldn’t have been the same without this… gem.
This is a poetry collection and the writing is weird and unintentionally hilarious at times (“time with you now feels / like a trip to Taco Bell; / great in the moment / regretful the next day”). More than anything, though, the worst part was getting to the end and realizing the entire collection was written to serve as an advertisement for a dating website. WHO DOES THAT?!
10. Snow and Mistletoe — Alexa Riley (review)
Oh, man. This was one of the cringiest things I’ve ever read in my life. It would have been absolutely hilarious if it hadn’t been so awful.
Actually, it was still kind of hilarious.
The sex scenes are awful and weird and kind of funny, but the “romance” is creepy and the dude’s thought processes range from eyeroll-inducing to downright rape-y and stalkerish. YIKES. Do not recommend.
That’s it! Those were my 10 worst reads of 2018. What was YOUR worst read of the year?