Top 10 Tuesdays: Books I’d Gladly Throw Into the Ocean

To be honest, it took me a while to figure out what this topic even means, and I’m still not 100% sure that I have it right. I’m pretty sure it’s asking for books that I really didn’t like and would want to throw away. If that’s the case, it’s still a very difficult topic for me! I’ve become pretty good at picking books that I’m reasonably certain that I’m going to enjoy, and it’s very rare that I’d hate something that much that I’d want to just get rid of it. The other direction I guess this could go is books that had such an unexpected shock or twist or that went in a direction that I really didn’t want it to go that I had to throw it away. For me, that’s even harder — I tend to think authors choose the right direction for their characters, at least in the majority of cases. Even if I don’t personally agree with their decision, I can generally see why they did it. I decided to stick with my first idea of picking a few of the books that I found particularly frustrating. Given how few books I tend to rate 3 stars or lower, I’m sure many of these are books I’ve complained about before!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald – This is my most recent book that I found frustrating! It had such an interesting concept, but I was very disappointed in the way it was executed. I didn’t connect with the author’s writing style at all, which made it much harder for me to get invested in the story. I found it repetitive, and even though it went in such a disturbing direction, it wasn’t enough to save it for me. I’d throw this one in the ocean because it was so frustrating to have such a great concept go to waste!

2) Natalie Tan’s Book of Love and Fortunes by Roselle Lim – To be fair, I wasn’t that excited to read this one in the first place. It was another one where I thought the concept was very interesting, but didn’t care for the execution. Mostly, I found the main character very irritating. I found a lot of the story repetitive, possibly because I was listening to the audiobook and I didn’t really care to listen to step-by-step recipes read out or the character’s repetition of her insecurities about failing. I also did not care for the romance at all. I’d throw this one in the ocean because it was too repetitive and the main character was annoying.

3) The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry – I really expected to love this one because I’d heard it was comparable to the Time Traveler’s Wife, which is one of my all-time favourite books. I liked the main characters but couldn’t get invested in their relationship, and also was disappointed that the time travel element was not as much of a focus as I expected. I found the pacing slow and just couldn’t really get into it in general. I rated it 3.5 stars in the end and ultimately rounded it up to a 4 on Goodreads because I liked the writing, but I’ve often considered changing it to a 3 instead. I’d throw this one in the ocean (maybe with some hesitation) because of the inconsistent pacing which made it so difficult to get into it.

4) Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok – This is one that I’d want to throw into the ocean for one very specific plot point that I found extremely off-putting. I did give it 4 stars in the end so I enjoyed it overall, but there was one key part of the plot that kept pulling me out of the story. I’m not even sure if it’s just a matter of a cultural difference that I’m not understanding, but it made it difficult for me to connect with Sylvie, and also found her sister Amy irritating at times too. It was a huge disappointment because I’d loved the previous book I’d read by this author! I’d throw this one into the ocean because it got my hopes up!

5) Creepy & Maud by Dianne Touchell – This book was probably my biggest disappointment of 2020 because I’d waited so long to be able to read it! It was among the first books I’d discovered in Goodreads in 2015 and had a lot of trouble finding a copy, so I was very excited to see the ebook available through my library. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like it! I thought it got off to an intriguing start, but quickly fell apart because there wasn’t much of a plot. I do like character-driven books, but I didn’t connect strongly enough with either of the characters to really care. I’d throw this one in the ocean because it was such a disappointment after waiting so long to try it.

6) Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney – I went into this one not necessarily expecting much, but still found it a bit disappointing. It’s about a woman named Angela who decides to use her annual Christmas letter to vent about her family, and the angry version accidentally gets sent out to everyone instead. I loved the idea behind it, but I didn’t care for the writing style and thought the book was much too long (at around 600 pages!) for what it was. I’d throw this one in the ocean because although it was decent, neither the writing nor the characters were strong enough to keep my attention.

7) Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes – I think of all the books here, this is the one that is probably the most frustrating. You was such a unique and interesting thriller, and Joe Goldberg is a fascinating character! Unfortunately, this book removes the second-person narration, which was one of the most engaging parts of the original, and I didn’t care as much for the storyline as I had in the first book. Most of the characters aside from Joe were irritating and the writing felt a bit disjointed. I didn’t hate it because Joe was still an interesting enough character on his own, but it was definitely a let down. I’d throw this one into the ocean to let You be a standalone instead (although hopefully I’ll have better luck with the new sequel coming this year).

8) Textrovert by Lindsey Summers – I guess I can’t complain too much about this one because I went into it already knowing that I probably wouldn’t like it much, but it was still a disappointment. I was drawn to this one initially because it focused on a relationship that develops by texting, and I tend to love that trope, but that ended up being such a minor part of the story. I found the characters incredibly bland and predictable. It was a completely mediocre YA romance, and I’d throw it in the ocean to make room for other books that did a similar kind of storyline much, much better.

9) The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard – It’s been years since I’ve read this one, but it still stands out as one of the books I found most frustrating! I absolutely loved the concept of this book, which focused on a mother whose 3-year-old son is kidnapped from the hotel lobby of her class reunion, only to return years later to a family he does not remember at all. This is an incredible premise and I really expected to love it, but I just couldn’t stand the main character. I found her so selfish and irritating, and unfortunately, that impression didn’t change much over the course of the story. I thought the chapters told from her perspective of her other son were much more interesting, and I wish the book had also included the perspective of the son who had been kidnapped. I’d throw this one in the ocean because it’s poor execution was so disappointing, especially when it had such potential to be amazing!

10) Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten – I think the same could be said for this book, which I picked up during my first ever reading challenge because I’d already read and enjoyed Defending Jacob and We Need to Talk About Kevin. I expected this book to be along the same lines, and it just didn’t work for me. Again, my biggest issue was the main character, Danielle, who is trying to prove that her son Max is innocent of a murder committed in the psychiatric facility where he is staying. Aside from Danielle’s generally frustrating decisions, I really did not like the way this book portrayed autism. Max was supposed to be autistic, but that only seemed to manifest as an exceptional skill with computers, and some vague references to his being aggressive at home (hence why he’s in the facility). I’d throw this one in the ocean because it was so frustrating to read!


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