My 10 Worst Reads of 2018

January 4, 2019

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)

33158550 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)

37324786 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)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green 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)

Rule by Ellen Goodlett 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)

Me and Rupert Goody by Barbara O'Connor 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

7136307 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)

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig 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)

The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg 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)

Unfollowing You by Komal Kapoor 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)

28175159Oh, 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?


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  • Reply Kee the Reader January 4, 2019 at 9:16 am

    LMAO at Unfollowing You. I kind of had the same experience with Will Grayson. I just couldn’t get into the writing and it was boring at times. So, I just skipped to the ending was so lost to what had happened. I mean it’s understandable that I would be lost but still..
    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy these

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:40 am

      Unfollowing You was ROUGH. And yeah, Will Grayson… I don’t blame you for just skipping ahead haha. Thank you!

  • Reply Sarah January 4, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I don’t know WHY I love lists like these so much, but I do. I was originally going to make a list like this, but not a lot stuck out! It was mostly minor disappointments rather than terrible reads, which I guess is a good thing. Unpopular opinion but my worst read was probably Stardust by Gaiman. Honorable mention to St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:40 am

      I always feel simultaneously a little bit guilty and a little bit giddy over making them because sometimes it’s just fun to rant. ? But I’m glad you didn’t have too many stand-out bad reads last year! I’ve never read Stardust but I honestly don’t enjoy Neil’s writing in anything I’ve tried by him so far aside from The Graveyard Book. 🙁

      • Reply Sarah January 6, 2019 at 11:10 am

        Exact same, I feel bad but it’s also so… fun?? Gaiman is definitely hit-or-miss for me. Some of his earlier works can be a bit problematic, too. I liked American Gods, but Anansi Boys has a rape that literally isn’t acknowledged as such at all?? Stardust came off to me as pretty sexist. But at the same time I adore Coraline. So I never know whether to read something of his or not, ha.

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 7, 2019 at 9:55 am

          Oh yikes 🙁 Yeah, I can see how that makes it tough. I adored The Graveyard Book and it makes me sad that it was the only thing I’ve liked from him so far. He has a story in the By Blood We Live anthology about a little girl vampire and it has so much explicit pedophilia and just… YIKES, so much cringe.

          • Sarah January 7, 2019 at 3:04 pm

            OH BOY I didn’t hear about that, that is major yikes. I’m sorry you haven’t really liked his stuff, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t love him.

  • Reply Kaleena @ Reader Voracious January 4, 2019 at 10:03 am

    I still think of Rule and feel fiery balls of rage in my soul, I hated that book so freaking much. Love the list and I am glad (?) our buddy read is memorialized for all time hahaha

  • Reply Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts) January 4, 2019 at 10:03 am

    NOOOOOOOO. I still have Ghost Slayer and I’m bummed that it’s going to be awful. ? (I have it from Netgalley though, so might as well drag it.)
    And ew, ads for dating website? ?

  • Reply The Bibliophagist January 4, 2019 at 10:04 am

    I loved this list! Afterall, there are always some disappointing reads, sadly

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Thank you! Yes, for sure, especially when you read a lot! I’m actually just glad this list wasn’t even longer because I feel like I had way more 1-star reads than this in 2017!

  • Reply Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile January 4, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Ahh yikes! I was so excited to read White Rabbit, but now I’ll definitely go into it with some reservations. My worst read of the year was probably Ship It by Britta Lundin. I wanted to like it so much, but it was just so bad in so many ways. I rarely ever give 1 star ratings, but that was one of them. Great post!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Awww, I hope White Rabbit is better for you than it was for me. I heard so many bad things about Ship It that I refuse to go anywhere near that one!! Thank you! ♥

  • Reply Kelly Brigid January 4, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Ewww, Hush Hush does not sound appealing at all now! To be perfectly frank, I didn’t have much incentive to read it anyway, but I especially don’t wish to kick it up now. Haha.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:43 am

      It was so bad lmao. I honestly don’t recommend it AT ALL unless you just really like toxic YA paranormal fantasy with bad writing ?

  • Reply Pen & Parchment January 4, 2019 at 10:30 am

    Ahh that’s such a bummer to hear you didn’t enjoy White Rabbit or Rule, I had both of those on my TBR. But you’re definitely not the only one to have some negative thoughts so I’m probably gonna pass on those now. Loved reading your thoughts on these books! I’d say my worst read of the year was Circle of Stones by Catherine Fisher, I had it on my shelf for years only to finally pick it up and find out how absolutely terrible it was ?‍♀️??

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Awww, if you do read them, I hope they’re better for you than they were for me! And I’m sorry to hear about Circle of Stones, it’s such a pain when we have a book sitting there forever and then we don’t like it ?

  • Reply Ainslee, Jest and Hearts January 4, 2019 at 10:42 am

    I didn’t mind Rule all that much but it was pretty similar to A LOT of other stories

  • Reply ich lese January 4, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I enjoyed this list way too much!

  • Reply Briana | Pages Unbound January 4, 2019 at 10:54 am

    I haven’t read any of these, and I’m feeling pretty good about that right now!

  • Reply Lacy January 4, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Will Grayson Will Grayson was so terrible! I can’t believe I actually finished it. Such a shame because the cover was so cool!

  • Reply Leigha @ Shelfleigh January 4, 2019 at 11:30 am

    Loved your list! Note to myself – stay away from Rule. I only gave a 1 star review last year (Colleen Hoover’s Ugly Love). I’d say it was the year of great books, but it was more the year of DNFs for me. ?

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:02 am

      Bahahaha I feel like I DNFed a lot last year, too! I’ve also already DNFed 2 books this year and we’re only 6 days in — not sure what that says about me… ???

  • Reply Becca Leighanne (Bex) January 4, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Will Grayson has been on my shelf for so long & now I’m absolutely terrified, hahaha.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Oh man, I REALLY hope it meshes with you better than it did with me because I honestly was just furious trying to read it. ?

      • Reply Becca Leighanne (Bex) January 6, 2019 at 10:54 am

        Eeeeep, welp! Thankfully this is the year when I DNF books if I don’t like ’em, so I won’t suffer for too long hahahaah

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 7, 2019 at 8:56 am

          You too, eh? ? I keep joking that 2019 is The Year of DNFs because it’s the 7th and I’ve literally already DNFed 3 things… no regrets.

          • Becca Leighanne (Bex) January 7, 2019 at 2:29 pm

            Haha, I’m proud of you for DNF’ing that many! I’ve DNF one already & not because it was awful, but besides I just knew by the end of it, I wouldn’t care AT ALL.

          • Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 9, 2019 at 2:34 pm

            That’s such a pain to me—when it isn’t even that you hate it, you just cbf with finishing it lmao.

  • Reply Davida Chazan January 4, 2019 at 11:51 am

    Hehehe… great list of books to avoid!

  • Reply Kara Keenan (@keen23) January 4, 2019 at 11:53 am

    My One Stars this year were Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet and The One and Only by Emily Griffin. I had a lot of Two Stars, but these two books stand out as exceptionally bad.

  • Reply anovelglimpse January 4, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    I’m sad to see Will Grayson, Will Grayson on here. That is my favorite Green book. Oh well. We can’t all agree all the time. 😉

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Oh no! I’m sorry, love. It definitely just wasn’t for me but I’m glad you enjoyed it! 😀

  • Reply Ally Writes Things January 4, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Big yikes on the author commenting on your review!!!!
    Also Hush Hush is terrible. I read them all when I was like 14 and recently reread them and WOW the rest of the series is worse

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Right?! Talk about uncomfortable. :/
      Oh man, now I’m so glad I decided not to continue the series!

  • Reply Daniel Peralta January 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    These are hilarious. How do works like this even get an agent, ugh!

  • Reply amyriadofbooks January 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Eeeeek, I’ve been iffy about RULE though the cover is AMAZING. I might just have to check it out from the local library!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:06 am

      I loved the cover for Rule sooooo much! I’m still mad about it. ? I hope it works better for you than it did for me!

  • Reply Fafa's Book Corner January 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Sorry that you didn’t like these books ?
    My worst reads is already up on my blog if you’d like to check it out. I actually had ten. There were so many books that angered me. You really don’t realize until you start making these types of lists.
    I hope 2019 is a better reading year for you ☺️

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:07 am

      Thank you, love! Oh, I’ll definitely check your list out, I love these kinds of lists! 🙂 Thank you, you too!

  • Reply What's She Reading? January 4, 2019 at 8:08 pm

    I love your reviews! I can’t stand when main characters have literally zero growth or development. Like…what was the point of your book if your characters aren’t going to grow???

  • Reply Harker @ The Hermit Librarian January 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Oh dear, I hated White Rabbit too. I’m giving Caleb another chance with his next book, but I’m kind of glad I wasn’t alone in not liking White Rabbit.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:13 am

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I’m also considering checking out his next book but honestly, I don’t know—I’ll probably wait and see how the reviews look after a while.

  • Reply Molly @ Molly's Madness January 4, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I like this way of wrapping up the end of the year! I hope you can read better books in 2019. After reading TFIOS, I wanted to love John Green, but then I read Paper Towns. His books are just so… anticlimactic and I’m not a fan anymore. So I’m glad I don’t have to pick it up now!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:14 am

      Thank you! Yes, huge same on John Green—TFIOS is amazing but everything else I’ve read from him has just been such a disappointment. One of my coworkers loved TFIOS too and swears his latest book is more along those lines so I might check it out since we have a copy at our branch and I can just grab it whenever.

  • Reply theorangutanlibrarian January 5, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Oh gosh- long time since I read hush hush- that book SUCKED! ??? Awesome post!

  • Reply Kristina January 5, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    I haven’t read any of thoses.. though ive seen “will grayson, will grayson” in the open library at work.
    aww such a shame it was bad, Ghost Slayer did sound like it’d be a good one..

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 6, 2019 at 10:16 am

      I really thought Ghost Slayer would be so much fun! I’m still sad about that one. 🙁

  • Reply Fran (Ramblebee) January 6, 2019 at 5:38 am

    Haha, I love that Hush Hush is on this list. I hate this book with a passion, and I actually once wrote an essay about how gross and abusive the romance is! Yuck.

  • Reply anhdara13 January 6, 2019 at 7:05 am

    So all of these are going on my ‘DO NOT READ EVER’ list, thank you!

  • Reply Jenna @ Falling Letters January 6, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    I was lucky enough not to have any one-star reads in 2018, but a couple classic fantasies (The Owl Service and The Children of Green Knowe) did not impress me. I read Will Grayson Will Grayson back when it first came out – I like John Green alright but I generally dislike Levitan’s writing. Overall I didn’t like anything about WGWG.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 7, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Way to go on not having any 1-star reads! Sorry you still had some you weren’t big on, though. 🙁 And yeah, same on Levithan – something about his writing doesn’t click with me AT ALL.

  • Reply Victoria January 6, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    I LOVE reading ~negative~ posts! The only book I’ve read from this list is Will Grayson. I enjoyed it when I read it, but that was a few years ago when I didn’t pay attention and critique books as much as I do now.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 7, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Haha thank you Victoria! Aww, I definitely feel like the unpopular opinion on WGWG so it might just be me looking too much into it! I’m glad you enjoyed it at the time though <3

  • Reply Kathy @ Books & Munches January 8, 2019 at 6:55 am

    Yikes for Hush, Hush! I remember loving those books, haha.
    But, in my defense, that’s a LONG time ago so who knows how I’d feel about them should I read them now.. That’s the thing with YA sometimes, especially older books. :’)

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 14, 2019 at 10:22 pm

      Right! Oh, I’m sure there are SO MANY that I loved as a teen and would cringe over now. ? Or, I mean, who knows! You might still like it, and I wouldn’t judge you for it at all. It just made me mad for some reason! ??

      • Reply Kathy @ Books & Munches January 16, 2019 at 2:09 am

        Hahaha. Honestly, I’ve been curious to see how I’d feel when rereading certain books – like, Twilight and Hush, Hush and TMI. The latter I’ll find out this year hopefully. Not sure about the others yet. 😛

  • Reply Devour Your TBR #JanJamJar – mistysbookspace January 9, 2019 at 7:15 am

    […] TBR is a Goodreads group that was created by Kathy from Books & Munches as well as Destiny from Howling Libraries. Kathy actually started doing these challenges on her blog either last year or the year before and […]

  • Reply Ellyn January 13, 2019 at 4:10 am

    Wow, okay Hush Hush is literal trash and my 12-year-old self coming off their Twilight high thought it was hot sh*t. But, 18 yr old me is a bit more sane and regrets everything. ??

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries January 19, 2019 at 12:28 am

      Bahahaha awwww! <3 Poor 12 year old Ellyn! ♥ I know what you mean, I honestly would've loved it back in the day!

      • Reply Ellyn January 19, 2019 at 12:52 am

        12 year old me had NO tastes in books!

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