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Least Favorite Books 2020 🍵 discussing the disappointments of the year

2020 Least Favorite Books

Hello fellow bookworms  ⚡️ It’s that time of the year to reflect on the books that I sadly didn’t end up liking and spilling a bit of tea 🍵 It’s the case that you cannot like all the books you read and this year there were a few books that ended up disappointing me or rubbing me the wrong way. Like the last years, I’m including 1 and 2 star-rated books, as anything above that means that I genuinely enjoyed reading the book. I’ve provided a quick explanation for each book and you can also click the cover to get to my full review in case you want to read more about my thoughts about these books. Finishing off with my obligatory disclaimer, that all these are my personal opinions about the books listed below and that this doesn’t mean that you cannot like the books!


Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver)

⚡️ Sadly didn’t manage to pull off its themes ⚡️

“Maybe you can afford to wait. Maybe for you there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you there’s one thousand tomorrows, or three thousand, or ten, so much time you can bathe in it, roll around it, let it slide like coins through your fingers. So much time you can waste it. But for some of us there’s only today. And the truth is, you never really know.”

➽ I didn’t expect that much from Before I Fall as it’s a book I probably would have liked better back when it was released, but I also didn’t think it would be this bad. The book didn’t work for me at all and I personally didn’t see how it’s supposed to be a story of growth. The main character didn’t truly learn and grow in my opinion. I thought that her changing her actions wasn’t because she saw the hurt she had caused her classmates, but because she wanted the cycle of living the same day to be over. I was a bit sad that we never saw Sam go all the way and acknowledge how her actions made other people feel and how she was also joining in with the vicious bullying that her friends did.  There was also much hate and a lot of unchallenged ableism, fatphobia, and derogatory remarks 😥 The narrative has Sam mention some things she begins to find uncomfortable, but a lot of harmful comments are never called out. There is a lot of casual fatphobia with derogatory descriptions of teachers and fellow classmates.


The Last Magician (Lisa Maxwell)

⚡️ Biggest Disappointment ⚡️

“But then, liars do make the best magicians, and he happened to be exceptional.”

➽ I had high hopes for this book because there are time travel and an interesting magic system, but the longer I read the more I hated this book. The pacing was SO slow and made the story drag. This book is 500 pages long and that was 500 too much. I wasn’t invested in any of the characters so the slow pace of the story made things feel like they dragged even more. The plot also wasn’t the strongest and a lot of scenes felt repetitive.  The romance and love interest were so uncomfortable for me to read about. Right from the beginning, Harte proves that he wouldn’t be a character I liked when he forcefully kisses the main character. I know the story tried to frame it that he did things just to protect Esta, but that doesn’t excuse bad behavior for me. Even after that, there were multiple instances where Harte doesn’t respect Esta’s boundaries and it really rubbed me the wrong way. So in the end, I ended up being really disappointed by this book! 💔


Bygone Badass Broads (Mackenzie Lee)

⚡️ Used the wrong tone for such a serious nonfiction book ⚡️

“The colours of the universe are there because of the existence of womankind.”

➽ I loved the concept of showcasing forgotten women who had contributed something great, as it’s a good way to get introduced to historical women you don’t learn about in school or elsewhere, not unless you looked for them. However, the modern slang made this so cringe-worthy at times 😅 I get that the author was trying to portray these women in a more laid-back way but in my opinion, it didn’t fit in with the topic at all and was jarring. For me, it felt very forced, and I didn’t vibe with the writing style at all. It also wasn’t really appropriate for the topic and it felt like the author was trying to appear cool and know how teenagers talk. Some sentences gave me a bit of second-hand embarrassment, I mean no one says ‘Yas kween’ in real life, And weaving in this slang with sentences of the women’s accomplishment felt inorganic and a bit demeaning given the book’s content.


The Extraordinaries (TJ Klune)

⚡️ A lot of potential but sadly a lot of things bothered me ⚡️

“But that doesn’t mean that you still can’t be a good person, right? Just because you did something wrong doesn’t mean that’s who you are.”

➽ I was feeling majorly conflicted about The Extraordinaries. I really wanted to like it, as it has queer superheroes, great disability, and grief representation as well as a focus on friendship and family (definitely check out Cait’s Review who really liked it). However, the more I read, the less I found myself enjoying the book as irritating things started to pile up. I really hope that other readers might enjoy this book a lot more than I did though, as there was plenty of potential and can appeal to a lot of readers looking for a diverse superhero story! My main problems with this book were just the predictable plot and naive protagonist which hindered my enjoyment of the book. Some plotlines didn’t feel well-thought-out like the main character trying to become a superhero, but – as is evident with the lack of worldbuilding – he has no idea how to achieve it. His attempts felt cartoonish and though there were funny scenes as well, sometimes the book felt like it didn’t take itself very seriously. So all in all this sadly wasn’t for me 😥


All Our Broken Pieces (L.D. Crichton)

⚡️ Mental Health representation but also a lot of stressful conflicts ⚡️

“”You all right?”
“Is anyone all right, really?””

➽ So, this was a tough book for me to rate because initially, I liked where the story was going but then things got a bit too much for me, and I also found myself bothered by some things that were going on. Some of it is personal as reading the book did stress me out a lot (which is why I didn’t end up giving it 3 stars), so I think you might still end up liking it if you’re looking for a YA contemporary romance with OCD representation. That’s why I recommend checking out the lovely Marie’s review who ended up really liking All Our Broken Pieces much more than me! The mental health aspect was really great and I enjoyed reading about it, but especially the end had a lot of fighting which quickly became repetitive. I also felt like the characters started acting a bit out of character and began taking huge risks for the romance and it bothered me a bit how intense the romantic relationship got. So sadly, the last 30% really dragged down my enjoyment of the book 😭


The Sound of Stars (Alechia Dow)

⚡️ Lots of book love but the plot was so slow & this should have been a Duology ⚡️

“Life’s short, but it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do, so give more than you take and be kind.”

➽ This is really sad, but The Sound of Stars really didn’t live up to my expectations. I was genuinely excited as this new release sounded so promising, however, the farther I got into the book, the less I actually liked it. My rating dipped to 2-stars, especially because the ending had me question why I spend so much time reading the book. I’d still recommend this book if you’re looking for a book on alien invasion, survival, and what art means for us, but I just didn’t personally enjoy it (check out CW’s review as she really liked it). But for me, the pace was so incredibly slow. This also contributed to me feeling increasingly frustrated with the book because it felt like the story was constantly stuck with not much happening that interested me. Furthermore, the ending was so vague and frustrating. The end feels more fitting for a series, yet this is a standalone and makes me wonder if the author planned to continue the story. It’s simply frustrating and not satisfying for me personally  😥

Kingdom of Souls (Rena Barron)

⚡️ A good beginning but then things went wrong for me ⚡️

“ I bite the inside of my cheek, letting my doubts curl up next to my hope. One gives me the strength to keep pushing, and the other reminds me never give up.”

➽ This was a hard book to rate and review because I liked the West-African inspired Mythology so much and the dark, forbidden magic Arc for the main character was super intriguing to me. However, after the first 30% the book a) went in a direction I personally didn’t like, and b) had some scenes that made me uncomfortable. The new plotline that we follow has two of my least favorite fantasy tropes that dominate the rest of the book. The more I read, the less appealing the plot was for me especially as the main character wasn’t as active as before and the pace was so incredibly slow, that I was getting mostly bored. I was debating on what to rate this, but in the end, this was such an upsetting reading experience for me personally, so I settled on the lowest rating. In general, I want to highlight that this is a dark fantasy book that was much darker than I expected so be prepared for that going into Kingdom of Souls. Divider2 (2)

Have you read any books on my list? What is your least favorite book of the year? ⚡️


31 thoughts on “Least Favorite Books 2020 🍵 discussing the disappointments of the year

  1. I really appreciated how you wrote out all of your reasons. It definitely added in-depth insight to why you didn’t like these reads. Your summaries were thoughtful and you explained why so well. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember reading Before I Fall in high school and liking it then, but I get the feeling I wouldn’t enjoy it as much now, especially with what you said about the fatphobia and all that. And I felt pretty much the same way about The Last Magician and The Sound of Stars, sadly 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t have any expectations for Before I Fall yet I was still disappointed by how cruel and mean all the characters were 🥺 I feel you, I was SO excited for the premise of both books and then I struggled to read through them 😔


  3. I’ve only read two from your list, but I do fully agree with those. I read Before I Fall when I was a teenager, and I *loved* it, but I doubt I’d enjoy it today. I definitely think that the heroine doesn’t change, just grows tired of repeating the same day over and over again. And also, I do think she was horrified by the girl they bullied committing suicide, but that doesn’t mean that she was horrified by her own actions, which is what would have been necessary for her to actually change. Not sure if that makes sense. Also, the romance felt so out of place for me. :/ The other one is Bygone Badass Broads – I liked that book, but I agree with everything you said, haha. I’m pretty sure this was a sort of series the author did on her twitter – and I think back when she was doing it tweets were only 140 characters long – so with the platform, it made sense that she used slang. But I’m not sure why she thought she should adapt that writing into the book? Anyhow, great post, Caro!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Before I Fall definitely had some issues for me, especially as I read it so long after it was published. I like a good character arc, but I felt like the protagonist didn’t truly change or learn from her actions … she never really took responsibility for her actions. Plus, the romance also didn’t appeal to me at all. I didn’t know that Bygone Badass Broads began on Twitter, but it definitely made more sense on that platform compared to a book! 😅 Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. i’m so sad to see that the sound of stars is on here! i’ve heard such amazing things about it, but recently i’ve been seeing some people saying they were disappointed by it so maybe i should lower my expectations for it 😔 one book that really disappointed me this year was where dreams descend, which seems to be a pretty unpopular opinion haha! loved reading this post <33

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so excited for The Sound of Stars, which makes this extra sad! I feel like it had some great ideas, but the pacing was just so slow for me and I expected to like the characters better 😔 I hope you still enjoy it! I’m still planning on reading Where Dreams Descend but I’ve definitely heard some mixed things 😱 Thank you! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read or in parts even heard of most of the books on your list – I’ve really been that far removed from all things bookish. Oops! But I can definitely feel you on probably having had enjoyed a book more if you had read it when it was first published! There are definitely books on my shelf right now, where I think if I read them when they first came out I would enjoy them more than if I read them for the first time now (so I just ignore their existence….) xD

    May 2021 hold a lot more great books for you rather than not so good ones! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get this a lot with older backlist books … some I would have probably loved more if I had read them back when they came out and were super hyped 😅 I recently unhauled some old backlist books that I just didn’t think I would enjoy now, even though I was hoping to read them someday.
      Thank you! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sorry to see you had some disappointing reads this year but I do really like the way you explain your thoughts here as it feels very clear why you didn’t like it but also very respectful so it was very satisfying to read.
    I’d heard about Bygone Badass Broads but from the sounds of it, the tone does sound like it will be a little cringey which isn’t really want I would want from a book like that so it is a shame !!
    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the extraordinaries, I’m still curious to try it out myself as I have hope a few of the tropes are for me and I enjoy it. But it is a shame the world-building felt underdeveloped.
    I do own Kingdom of Souls but I heard something about it the other day that I thought was troubling so I am a bit sceptical going in now but I will try it as I have it. I will prepare myself for the darker tones but it was nice to hear your thoughts about it, although I’m sorry it didn’t work for you.
    I think my biggest disappointment this year was Bridge of Clay, I didn’t have the highest expectations but it was still a disappointment !! Thank you for sharing this list and I hope 2021 is a better reading year !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sophie! I always try to elaborate on why a book didn’t work for me!
      The tone of Bygone Badass Broads didn’t work for me at all, which was sad as I liked the concept of the book! I hope you enjoy The Extraordinaries, it had some funny moments! Kingdom of Souls was definitely so much darker than I expected, which also put down my mood! I’ve only read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and loved it! Sorry to hear that Bridge of Clay didn’t work for you 😔

      Thank you for reading & let’s hope we both read some great books in 2021! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. i had heard so many great things about the last magician, i am surprised to hear that no one picked up on this no-respecting-boundaries thing. it’s a massive red flag in my opinion.

    i did find the sound of stars to be quite slow as well, but i think my biggest turn-off in this read was that we were mostly being *told* the way the characters felt rather than being *shown*. because of that, i didn’t find the relationship or the development of that characters that believable, because we were only being told that they’d changed rather than being shown that. i still enjoyed the ending, though! i liked the band/music element there, it was definitely not what i expected but it made me really happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was really disappointed by The Last Magician, the romance was so uncomfortable to read about 😔 The Sound of Stars definitely had lots of points that hindered my enjoyment of it. Now that you mention it, there was lots of telling, so that might also be why I didn’t find myself caring as much about what happened. Happy to hear that you enjoyed the ending and music element though!


  8. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Last Magician either and I’m glad I found someone who agrees, the pacing was way off! 😂✨ I’m personally still planning to read KoS because the plot sounds so interesting, but I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work for you. One of my least favorite books was Hunted By The Sky, the concept of a medieval Indian fantasy is cool, but the pacing and plot progression sadly didnt work for me. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Last Magician is so long and the slow pace truly didn’t help 😅 I hope you like Kingdom of Souls more than me, it has some interesting worldbuilding, but I was surprised by how dark it got. Sorry to hear that you didn’t like Hunted By The Sky!
      Thank you 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah no, so sad you didn’t love all of these. I haven’t read any of them yet but still. Lmao I’m terrible. Anyways, I had been super interested in The Extraordinaries but I’ve heard some pretty meh things now that not so much. Though I have been super keen on Kingdom of Souls so hope that one doesn’t disappoint because I’ve heard polarising things…

    Loved reading this post though Caro xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry to hear you were disappointed by these, especially All Our Broken Pieces, I really enjoyed this one ❤ Thank you for linking to my review! I'm a little sad that The Sound of Stars wasn't for you, I've been hearing mixed reviews about it so… I'm a little nervous about picking it up. it's good to know about the pacing and ending before getting into it, so thank you for that! ❤
    I hope that this year will be filled with better reads ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked the majority of All Our Broken Pieces, but the end sadly didn’t work for me 😔 This was actually also the case for The Sound of Stars, but I still think it had some great book love and an interesting concept, so I hope you like it more than me!
      Same, let’s hope we read many great books in 2021 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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