For the month of December, I am joining Girlxoxo and Traveling with T for their #AMonthofFaves blog event. To learn more and to see the list of topics, read their announcement post–#AMonthofFaves 2019 [Blog Event] Announcement.
The first topic for this month is “Popular Books Worth the Hype (and/or Not Worth the Hype).”
I’m sticking with books published in 2019 for this one, and I read more books published in 2019 than I originally thought. Out of the 19 books published in 2019 that I read, I have chosen five that I think were worth the hype, and three that definitely weren’t.
Worth the hype:
- On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas — Look, both of Angie Thomas’ YA novels are fantastic. I loved The Hate U Give (no, I haven’t seen the movie yet), and On the Come Up is fantastic. Great storyline? Yes. Young female rapper? Yaassss, girl. This whole book is an homage to hip-hop and it’s so, so good.
- Queenie, by Candice Carty-Williams — On Goodreads, this is described as “Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah.” I haven’t read either of those books (although Americanah has been on my TBR pile for a long time now), so I can’t attest to that, but I can say that I truly enjoyed this one. Queenie is a Jamaican British woman who lives in London and keeps making choices that make her question who she really is and who she really wants to be. At times it’s light and funny, and at times it’s pretty deep and thought-provoking, but it’s good all the way through.
- The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead — There is nothing light and funny about The Nickel Boys. It’s a tough read, but totally worth it. I haven’t read anything by Colson Whitehead that I haven’t liked, and this book is no exception. Like The Underground Railroad, this novel is based on a real thing, this time a reform school in Florida that operated for over 100 years and destroyed the lives of thousands of children. Again, this is really hard to read, but I highly recommend it.
- The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood — Listen, I have loved Margaret for 30 years. I read The Handmaid’s Tale when I was around 13 years old, and she instantly became one of my favorite authors. I was so excited when I heard that she was going back to the world of Gilead and writing The Testaments. And she did not disappoint. This book is so good. If you’re going to read this, I recommend reading The Handmaid’s Tale first, but you don’t necessarily have to.
- Wayward Son, by Rainbow Rowell — Rainbow Rowell hasn’t written anything that I haven’t loved. This book is the second book in her (YA) Simon Snow series, and if you’ve read Fangirl, you know where Simon Snow comes from. If you read YA and you haven’t read Fangirl, I recommend you do, then read the Simon Snow series.
Not worth the hype:
- Girls with Sharp Sticks, by Suzanne Young — This book left almost no impression on me other than it was very predictable. I just remember that it was about some girls at some kind of ritzy academy, and that bad stuff happened. Bad stuff that I was able to predict very early on. It was a fast read, and I’m not saying I hated it, but I don’t think it deserved as much hype as I saw about it.
- The Farm, by Joanne Ramos — I thought this book was going to be WAY different than it ended up being. I think I was misled going in. I feel like I was led to believe that this would be a dystopian novel, and it really wasn’t. Again, I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t all that into it, either.
- We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia — I was so excited for this book to come out so I could order it for the YA collection at the library. A queer Latinx POV? Yes, please! And while it was better than the the other two I’ve listed here, I was still disappointed with it. I mean, the author could have done SO much more (or something different) with the storyline and she just…didn’t.
What books did you read this year that were worth the hype…or what did you read that wasn’t worth the hype? Let me know in the comments!