#AMonthofFaves: 5 Popular Books Worth the Hype (and a few that weren’t)


December 5, 2018

Today’s prompt is books that lived up to the hype! Or, you know, not.


Books that Lived Up to the Hype

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is compulsively readable with great characters, but there is a LOT of suicidal ideation in this book.

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The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good characters, good conflict. My only complaints are that the ending is a little too tidy and that there’s one scene between the mom, Xiomara, and the priest that I would have liked a little more of. Other than that, I dug it.

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The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles)The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is super cute and fun. I loved the meta commentary on rom-coms, and I absolutely adored Abby’s friendship with Jax. (This may be in large part because he’s the burger guy and I want a relationship with someone who feeds me burgers.) The romance was really sweet, and I am 100% in love with Jordi’s look for the art show the girls go to later in the book. The self-esteem discussions in the book were also A+++.

The ending felt a little rushed to me, but I was also rushing to read the end, so YMMV. At any rate, this is delightful and would make an excellent beach/pool read.

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Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up for THAT ENDING

Yeah, so I really loved the end of the book. (Can you tell?) It really made the whole thing work for me.

This is a good look at toxic masculinity (soooo toxic) and violence begetting violence and thinking about when and how to break the cycle of violence and also seeing how toxic masculinity can make breaking that cycle seem impossible. Because there are rules, see?

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The Prince and the DressmakerThe Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, let me just say that the dresses in this book are stunning. Just…so gorgeous. I love them so much.

I liked the story, though I was a little surprised at how the romance went because, though I expected it, I still didn’t expect it. Some of this is me putting my hopes for a spin on a narrative on an author who didn’t sign up for them, but that’s where I am. I did love that Sebastian was so loved by the people around him, though, and I think that’s important.

Overall, a fast and engaging read with really lovely artwork.

Read Harder 2018, Task 8: A comic written or illustrated by a person of color

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…and Books that Didn’t

Boy, Snow, BirdBoy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book is wack. I don’t think I’ve ever called anything wack before so that tells you just how wack it is. IT IS WACK.

I did like two things about it, though: (1) The reasons for Snow being sent away. That was a nice twist on the Snow White story. (2) The section about Bird and Snow’s developing relationship.

But guess what? Both of those things were dropped for the absolute wackness of the resolution of Boy’s story. I mean, sure it started going in an interesting direction because of the Bird/Snow relationship, but nope. Let’s not spend time on that. Let’s INSTEAD spend it on the completely left field Boy thing. Just…what?

Also, I never connected to any of the characters. I was starting to in the middle with Bird and Snow, but then see above re: dropped for the wackness.

The entire ending of Boy’s story (including the actual ending of the book)? Wack.

And since this was a book club book, I’m going to go ahead and count this for the Book Riot challenge, task 24: An assigned book you hated.


(Two stars instead of one because I finished the whole thing and genuinely wanted to see what happened until the wackness.)

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The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1)The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafรณn

This book is beautifully written and narrated (audiobook), but I’m over an hour in and bored out of my mind.

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Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Tapping out at chapter 12 of the audiobook.

I heard a lot of good things so was excited to read this, but it’s just one huge info dump and none of them are handled with any finesse. (Do I really need a biography of every single person involved with the creation of OASIS? No.) Also, I’m not really into reading about people playing video games since I’m not all that keen on watching them play video games.

I also heard great things about Wil Wheaton’s narration, but really, he (the character and Wheaton both, honestly) just comes off like a smug asshole.

So this one is just not for me.

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  1. Silver's Reviews

    I haven’t read any of your worth-the-hype books.

    I an sorry SHADOW OF THE WIND is disappointing for you….that is an all-time favorite book for me. I HAD to go to Barcelona after reading it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. natashajk

    I’m so sad you didn’t like Ready Player One ๐Ÿ™ I too loved A Man Called Ove. In fact I bought it and I rarely buy books. I’m checking out The Summer of Jordi Perez. It sounds fun. Thanks for sharing your list!

  3. Bryan G. Robinson

    I enjoyed The Poet X too and I’ve heard good things about Long Way Down other places.

    I like your takes on Shadow of the Wind, which I think I tried to read once and thought like you “boring,” and Ready Player One. I couldn’t get into that one either, maybe that’s the reason for that: “smug” a-hole. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Akilah

      He was so smug!

  4. travelingwitht

    Oh it’s been awhile since I read it- but I liked Ready Player One! It was totally out of my normal wheelhouse, tho!

  5. Susie | Novel Visits

    Ove was one of those wonderful surprise books for me. I didn’t expect to love it, but I did. I liked Boy, Snow, Bird, but it was very different. She has a new book coming out in 2019. I think it’s called Gingerbread…I sense a theme!

    • Akilah

      I loved it so much. Jason Reynolds told me his mom hated it (the ending, not the whole book)!

        • Akilah

          I think because it’s an open ending, and she wanted to know what happened. I’m just guessing because he didn’t say, but most of the people I know who don’t like the ending cite that as the reason.


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