This may seem a little mean, however, it’s becoming a form of tradition in the New Year to talk about both the good and bad reads of the previous. Thankfully, there wasn’t many books to choose from, the vast majority having around four or five star reviews. So, if they were bad, they had to be pretty bad for me to rate it under three.
Second Star | Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retellings, Romance, Fantasy
Contains: Death, Grief, Mental Illness, Mental Health
I originally picked up this book as part of my university dissertation, exploring retellings, and as a huge Peter Pan fan, this seemed like the obvious choice. However, it was disappointing read. The protagonist was pretty characterless throughout the story and made repeatedly stupid decisions purely to create drama to move the story forwards; she was a pawn in a ridiculous plot game. Plus, while creating a male character that you want readers to fall in love with, naming them Pete was not a great decision.
Draw the Line | Laurent Linn
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Contains: Violence, Anger, Homophobia, Strong Language, Alcohol, Abuse
This seems to be a bit of a controversial one, but this book just kept giving me more reasons to be disappointed. The premise itself was interesting, having a lot of potential to tell a really important story of sexuality and the impact of hate crime. However, Adrian was an incredibly irritating protagonist. He was selfish and overly opinionated, having a lot of controversial ideas on things. Plus, the misuse of medical terminology in YA literature is my biggest pet peeve; any sight of it is an immediate one star rating.
Leah on the Offbeat | Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Romance
Contains: Strong Language, Alcohol, Anger, Body Image, Crude Humour
Another controversial opinion, but no matter how hard I try I just can’t get into Becky Albertalli’s writing. I’m not sure whether it’s her writing style or the story-lines themselves, but I just don’t enjoy her works that much. Her characters, however, are brilliant; it’s impossible not to love Simon from Simon Vs. However, following on from that novel, Leah becomes the star of her own, and her character takes a dramatic change from the fun-loving girl we knew before. She’s insufferable. She makes multiple bad decisions, becoming the antagonist of her own novel, and leads us to route against her for the majority of it. Plus, there wasn’t much plot to keep me entertained, the book becoming more of a chore to read.
A Chosen Life | K.A. Parkinson
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Contains: Violence, Death, Anger
When reading, I promise myself to always finish a book I start, being overcome with a sense of dissatisfaction if I don’t complete it. This one was an exception. The writing was beautiful, Parkinson having a talent to make even the smallest of details sound attractive. However, that was the problem; there was just too much description that after a while I got too bored and overwhelmed with the amount of information I was being given. I just couldn’t get through it.
Blasted | Sarah Kane
Genre: Plays, Drama, Theatre, War, Fiction, Literature, 20th Century, European Literature, British Literature, Contemporary, Academic, School, Classics
Contains: Racism, Homophobia, Death, Blood/Gore, Cannibalism, Violence, Suicide, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Rape, Sexual Content, Sexual Assault
This book was another university read, being assigned it for my script-writing class and from the warnings alone it’s pretty clear to see why I didn’t enjoy it. It’s by far one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever read. I’m not squeamish, I can handle extremities, but there is a point where too much can overkill the story. The level of horror within the script, which is only around sixty pages long, was intense and pointless, seeming to be written purely for shock value than anything else; it made this very difficult to read and take seriously.