I haven’t posted this in a while and I’ve probably read over 100 books since then! I read so many books in 2020 and so many of my anticipated reads disappointed me terribly. Here’s some of them!
The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
For fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, This Is How It Ends, and All the Bright Places, comes a new novel about life after. How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you’ve lost it all?
May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through – no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her.
Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister… and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.
Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all.
Why I Hated It: I thought everyone in this book bought a one way ticket to suckville and I hated all of them. May, for being emotionally unpredictable and manipulative, Zach for falling in lust with May the second her saw her and aggressively pursuing her, and May’s parents especially for never sending May to a therapist after her brother was murdered, which seemed so strange to me.
The Key to Fear by Kristin Cast
To the Future.
We are The Key.
‘No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.’
Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…
Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…
After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.
Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.
Why I Hated It: After years with little to no Dystopia after the Hunger Games era, I was so looking forward to this. And it was so, so, horrifically bad. The world building was piss poor. The Resistance is a big part of a Dystopia, and we get to see Elodie as she… doesn’t join the Resistance because she never fully meets them, gasp as she breaks the mold and climbs a tree one time and be in a state of shock and wonder as she… eats corn.
The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley
Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know.
Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor.
But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing?
The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps?
In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.
Why I Hated It: I am such a huge Lucy Worsley fan, which just added to my disappointment. What I wanted from this book was balls, flirting and epic romance that I root for all the way through, I wanted to feel like I’d stepped into the pages of a Jane Austen novel, I wanted to enjoy every ball and be rubbing my feet in solidarity at the end of the night. What I got from this book was an incomplete, unsatisfying story, an incomplete cast (these novels run on the strength of their overall cast after all), a weird history lesson about thieves and the ending seemed to just cut off with the main character writing the first page of a story, before telling us in the historical notes that she never actually became a writer.
Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined – in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions – and their matriarch – to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.
Why I Hated It: The idea of this is so much better than the execution and the start was so promising I was predicting 5 stars. The story fell apart when Alesse met her Amoure, Bastian, a boy who decided the best way to avenge his father’s death is to kill a completely random Bone Crier. After he kidnaps Alesse he seems to forget the whole murdered Dad thing cos, damn, she cute. This felt lie a generic fantasy world with French words scattered throughout to make it feel like France, but suffered from a lack of world building.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
(The Hunger Games #0)
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.
The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
Why I Hated It: All that happens in this book is Snow spends his days whining because he’s old money and wants head pats and food because of it. He spends a ridiculous amount of time thinking about food. He’s not a ruthless killer, which would have been interesting, he’s pathetic and constantly finds ways to sympathise with himself to make himself feel better about his actions.
That’s it. That’s the WHOLE BLOODY BOOK.
Again Again by E. Lockhart
From the New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud comes a complex novel about acceptance, forgiveness, self-discovery, and possibility, as a teenage girl attempts to regain some sense of normalcy in her life after a family crisis and a broken heart.
If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?
After a near-fatal family catastrophe and an unexpected romantic upheaval, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times–while finally confronting the secrets she keeps, her ideas about love, and the weird grandiosity of the human mind.
A raw, funny story that will surprise you over and over, Again Again gives us an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.
Why I Hated It: I thought this book was really pretentious, and struggled to see the point of the gimmick of having her love multiple lives. It was also incredibly repetitive – Five meetings with different outcomes can take up a single page and it quickly became confusing. It didn’t have much of an outcome either, literally switching to a different suitor later on just to fill space.
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Feeling alive is always worth the risk.
Meeting Jack on the Owl – San Francisco’s night bus – turns Beatrix’s world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive…and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists.
But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.
Why I Hated It: I really liked the concept of Night Owls, enough for it to remain quite high on my wishlist or quite some time. However the execution was pretty poor. The blurb gives the impression of two people that meet on a midnight ride and perhaps fall in love over time, I had an idea in my head that most of the book would be on a bus, or they would meet night after night. However, Beatrix meets Jack on a five minute bus journey and they become pretty infatuated with each other very quickly, to the point where it almost felt like insta-love, a trope more often seen in fantasy YA.
All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban
This thrilling debut, reminiscent of new fan favorites like One of Us Is Lying and the beloved classics by Agatha Christie, will leave readers guessing until the explosive ending.
Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.
What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.
Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?
Why I Hated It: I am a huge fan of Agatha Christie, Saw and The Breakfast Club and this book lived up to none of them. It’s never great when you work out the culprit within the first couple of chapters and the biggest problem this book had was weak, uninteresting characters. If this was what I thought it would be – a murder house, people dying, The Hunt movie, sort of deal, this wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately the present chapters were very short compared to the past chapters, which was your typical, bland, high school drama. I honestly didn’t really care for it.
Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano
For fans of Maggie Stiefvater and Laini Taylor, a perfect storm lies ahead in this riveting fantasy duology opener from award-winning author Elle Cosimano.
One cold, crisp night, Jack Sommers was faced with a choice – live forever according to the ancient, magical rules of Gaia, or die.
Jack chose to live, and in exchange, he became a Winter – an immortal physical embodiment of the season on Earth. Every year, he must hunt the Season who comes before him. Summer kills Spring. Autumn kills Summer. Winter kills Autumn. And Spring kills Winter.
Jack and Fleur, a Winter and a Spring, fall for each other against all odds. To be together, they’ll have to escape the cycle that’s been forcing them apart. But their creator won’t let them go without a fight.
Why I Hated It: I made the mistake of thinking this was a Fantasy story, not an Urban Fantasy story, so the setting was completely different to what I was expecting. It was quite difficult to wrap my head around the idea that Chronos and Gaia just randomly coexist (but none of the other… deities?) and have all these people who died and were brought back to life, working for them. It’s a very slow story, over 400 pages long and a lot of it is Jack and co travelling around America, being followed by Chronos’s guards and other Seasons. This gets a bit repetitive, but also later shows just how selfish Jack is, when he straight up has a temper tantrum because he has no interest in saving the other seasons, he just wants to hole up with Fleur. The ending was rushed too after all that.
Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Everyone at Fairvale Academy knows Bryson Keller, the super-hot soccer captain who doesn’t believe in high-school relationships. They also know about the dare Bryson accepted – each week he has to date the first person who asks him out.
A single school week is all anyone gets. There have been no exceptions to this. None.
Until me, that is.
Because brilliant Bryson Keller forgot one thing. He never said it could only be girls…
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before meets Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this irresistible LGBTQ+ rom com.
Why I Hated It: This ended up in a plagiarism scandal after people realised it’s concept was stolen from Seven Days, but I’d read and reviewed it before hearing about that. But my issue was actually another book that this was too similar to. It’s very nearly impossible to read this book and not compare it to it’s predecessor, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Both books are set in a high school, feature a gay romance, closeted teenagers, an interracial relationship and a school production. Also two best friends who are male and female, a quirky younger sister and even a reference to a ferris wheel. While Kai knows who Bryson is, it doesn’t stop this book being a little too similar to Simon.